Endometriosis describes a condition that affects women of reproductive age. It occurs when the same tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside onto other pelvic organs, including your Fallopian tubes, ovaries, outside of the uterus, the anus, and the vagina.
Endometrial tissue acts just like the tissue inside your uterus, so it thickens and sheds monthly with your cycle. As a result, you may experience excessive bleeding and period pain as the tissue has difficulty leaving the body. Other symptoms of endometriosis include pelvic pain, constipation or diarrhea, and pain during intercourse.
Many women with endometriosis get pregnant naturally with no problem. Approximately one in every two women with endometriosis may encounter trouble getting pregnant, however.
Endometriosis and infertility problems
When endometriosis does negatively affect fertility, it’s likely because the endometrial cells are blocking the release of eggs from the ovaries or are blocking the travel of these eggs through the Fallopian tubes. Inflammation caused by endometriosis may also interfere with your hormone balance, making pregnancy more difficult to achieve. The lining of the uterus may also develop abnormally in women with endometriosis, which means the embryo cannot implant properly.
Infertility treatments for women with endometriosis
To address infertility caused by endometriosis and increase your chances of getting pregnant, the team at Abundant Life Healthcare may prescribe a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist. This medication puts you into temporary menopause, halting the growth of your endometrial tissue. When you stop taking the agonist, you resume your period and may have a better chance of pregnancy.
In severe cases of endometriosis, when the gonadotropin-releasing hormone therapy fails, Dr. Jean-Gilles may recommend minimally invasive surgery to extract any endometrial tissue that’s interfering with fertility. Minimally invasive surgery is done laparoscopically with small incisions and tiny instruments. Recovery is reduced as compared to conventional therapy, and it has fewer risks of complications.
In some cases, you might enlist the help of a fertility specialist and pursue in vitro fertilization. You and your partner provide eggs and sperm that are combined in a laboratory to create an embryo. The viable embryos are implanted directly into your uterus. Many women with endometriosis experience a successful pregnancy and birth via in vitro fertilization.
Endometriosis and pregnancy
If you do get pregnant with endometriosis, you may experience a temporary resolution of your symptoms, such as heavy periods and pelvic pain. Increased levels of progesterone produced during pregnancy can suppress endometrial growth in some women, but not all.
Though the vast majority of women who get pregnant with endometriosis go on to have a healthy pregnancy, be aware that you may be at increased risk of certain complications. These include miscarriage, preterm labor, or placenta previa – in which your placenta attaches at the base of the uterus at the cervix rather than at the top or sides. The team at Abundant Life Healthcare monitor you throughout your pregnancy and help you navigate these potential complications.
If you’re diagnosed with endometriosis, you still have an excellent chance of conceiving a child. Abundant Life Healthcare will help you in your pursuit.