Endometriosis and fertility, things to know

“If diagnosed with endometriosis, you do not have to lose hope as there are a number of options available for you”, said Dr. Nivedita Mishra, IVF and Fertility Specialist, Nova IVF Fertility East, Ranchi.

Should you panic about your fertility if you are diagnosed with endometriosis?

The answer is that you might suffer from infertility issues with endometriosis. However, it does not mean that you should lose all your hopes. With the right treatment, you can still try to get pregnant. Here’s what you should know all about endometriosis, what it is, its impact on fertility and treatments.

What is Endometriosis?

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, which causes menstruation and bleeding. Sometimes the tissue can grow outside the uterus and in places it should not, like ovaries and intestines. This leads to endometriosis among women.

Symptoms of endometriosis

You can know whether you have endometriosis or not through the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pelvic and abdominal pain during menstruation (dysmenorrhea) and sex
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Pain during bowel movements or urination (especially during periods)
  • Fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation during periods

Excessive pain is not a reliable indicator for endometriosis as some people with advanced endometriosis may not suffer from any pain. In many cases, women do not notice any signs and symptoms. Endometriosis can be easily diagnosed with laparoscopy.

Can endometriosis make you infertile?

Living with endometriosis can make it difficult for you to conceive. There can be several causes of fertility issues due to endometriosis. For instance, it can affect fallopian tubes and ovaries. If there is tissue growth in the fallopian tube lining, the egg will be unable to travel to the uterus, causing infertility.

Endometriosis can also change the hormonal environment of the eggs, damage the sperm and the egg, cause inflammation in the pelvic structures and even change the functioning of the immune system.
During diagnosis of the issue, your doctor may even give you a score based on the intensity of the problem. Endometriosis is evaluated through laparoscopy and put into the following categories- Stage I (Minimal), Stage II (Mild), Stage III (moderate) & Stage IV (Severe).
Women who suffer from stage IV endometriosis experience higher chances of infertility as their ovaries are damaged and fallopian tubes are blocked by tissue overgrowth.

Getting pregnant with endometriosis

Women with stage I and stage II endometriosis might not have to receive any infertility treatment as they can conceive naturally. In many cases, if cysts or scar tissues are surgically removed, the chances of pregnancy become higher as the reproductive organs start functioning normally. Surgeries can help if you suffer from moderate or severe endometriosis.
If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, it does not mean that you should stop trying to conceive. You and your partner should try having unprotected sex for at least 6-7 months before you reach out to a fertility expert.

According to your current health status, the severity of the issue and other contributing factors, your fertility expert will recommend the best treatment to you. Some of the treatments may include:

  • Egg-freezing – Since endometriosis can cause damage to the ovaries, your specialist may advise you to freeze your eggs, which can be used later to conceive.
  • Clomiphene- Clomiphene, a fertility medication, improves the chances of pregnancy by producing two or three mature eggs.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) – IVF is a fertility treatment in which a woman’s eggs are retrieved, then fertilized with the sperm of the male partner. The embryo is transferred into the womb.

Many people suffering from endometriosis can get pregnant with IVF, especially if the issue is severe. If diagnosed with endometriosis, you do not have to lose hope as there are a number of options available for you. With the right treatment, you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child.

By Dr. Nivedita Mishra

indianexpress.com

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