Millions of women suffer with the pain and discomfort of endometriosis. Adding to the difficulty of this disease is the effect endometriosis can have on your fertility. Find out your risk for endo-related infertility and what you can do about it.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects more than one out of every 10 women of childbearing age in the United States. While endometriosis is prevalent, there’s still much that remains unknown. What is clear is that this condition can greatly impact your day-to-day life.
With endometriosis, tissue of the type found in the uterine lining attaches outside of the uterus and grows elsewhere, primarily in the pelvic region. Symptoms directly connected to the inflammation caused by endometriosis include:
- Painful intercourse
- Debilitating menstrual cramps
- Stomach pain
- Heavy periods
- Chronic constipation
- Painful urination
- Problems with fertility
The pain and fatigue associated with endometriosis can cause you to miss work, wreak havoc with your social life, and frustrate you to tears, although some women have no symptoms, regardless of how advanced the condition is.
How endometriosis affects fertility
Endometriosis-related infertility is common in about half of the women who have the disease. Although endometriosis itself doesn’t cause infertility, the inflammation from endometriosis can affect your fertility. Adhesions and scarring of the fallopian tubes and ovaries can disrupt the path for sperm and egg to meet or prevent ovulation entirely.
In addition to the scarring and adhesions, your body’s response to endometriosis inflammation may create issues with your fertility. When you are injured, your body’s immune system responds by releasing a substance to regulate the inflammation. When you have endometriosis, your body recognizes it as inflammatory and releases these proteins that paralyze the sperm and egg, preventing fertilization.
Just as endometriosis inflammation can prevent pregnancy, it can also increase your risk for miscarriage and pregnancy complications. By treating endometriosis, though, your chances of becoming pregnant and carrying to term can improve.
Ways to treat endometriosis and improve your fertility
Depending on the degree of your endometriosis, there are a few different ways to treat your disease. The earlier you’re diagnosed, the better your odds of successfully treating endometriosis and restoring your fertility. Besides infertility, the more common symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Severe and debilitating menstrual cramps
- Pain during ovulation
- Painful intercourse
- Pain in the legs and lower back, especially during your period
- Frequent, and sometimes painful, urination
- Pain with bowel movement, frequent constipation, or diarrhea during your period
- Extreme fatigue
Treatments can be non-invasive or surgical depending on the stage and degree of your endometriosis. In addition to treating endometriosis, you may need some fertility intervention, such as in vitro fertilization. The key to preventing endometriosis-related infertility is to seek a diagnosis.
Compassionate, expert care
If you have or think you might have endometriosis, partner with a doctor who listens to your concerns, as well as helps you deal with your condition. Endometriosis carries many varied and complex symptoms. Having a caring and compassionate physician makes all the difference. Board-certified gynecologist Amy Bruner, MD, believes in treating the whole patient. She listens to you, developing a relationship that ensures your well-being and health.
Dr. Bruner serves the Portland, Oregon, area and specializes in many of the problems plaguing women. If you’re concerned about endometriosis and the impact it may have on your fertility, contact Dr. Bruner today and schedule an appointment. Together you can get to the bottom of your endometriosis and get some relief.