Endometriosis affects up to 11% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44. Having endometriosis can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Not only do women with endometriosis find it hard to conceive, but they may be more likely to suffer from a miscarriage. Between 30% and 50% of women with endometriosis suffer from infertility.
Endometriosis describes a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. It can adhere to fallopian tubes, ovaries, outside the uterus, and other areas, such as the vagina and rectum. Typical symptoms of endometriosis include painful menstrual cramps, pain during sex, bleeding or spotting between periods, digestive problems, and infertility.
Many women with endometriosis have children without difficulty, and others simply take longer to get pregnant or get pregnant with assistance. Endometriosis doesn’t mean you will never have children; it simply means it may be more difficult to conceive.
National Endometriosis Awareness Month is observed in March, so our team at OB/GYN Specialists wants to answer your questions about this condition and successfully treating it. We will do everything possible to help you achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Why endometriosis causes infertility
It’s not entirely clear why endometriosis affects a woman’s ability to become pregnant. In some cases, endometriosis can cause inflammation that prevents the sperm and egg from happily meeting during fertilization. Endometriosis may cause scarring and adhesions so the fallopian tubes and ovaries become blocked, also preventing the sperm and egg from meeting. Endometriosis may cause the immune system to attack the embryo, making it impossible to carry a fetus to term.
Endometriosis present on the ovaries may prevent eggs from being released or may result in eggs of poor quality, so there’s no hope of fertilization. Endometriosis may also prevent the endometrium — the lining of the uterus where implantation occurs — from developing properly, making it inhospitable to an embryo.
How to overcome infertility
Treatments can help a woman with endometriosis become pregnant and go on to have a healthy baby.
Specific hormonal medications can help temporarily stall ovulation and the growth of endometrial tissue. You’re in temporary menopause, but when you stop treatment with the medication, it can increase your chance of getting pregnant.
Surgery to remove endometrial tissue can restore your pelvic organs to their normal state. Surgery doesn’t guarantee a woman with endometriosis will become pregnant, but it does improve her chances.
The team at OB/GYN Specialists is ready to help women in the Denton, Texas, area overcome infertility due to endometriosis. No cure for endometriosis exists, but we work with you to find the most natural and minimally invasive approach to overcome infertility problems that result from the condition.