Endometriosis and fertility: What you need to know
The question of whether pregnancy is possible is a common one among women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis. Endometriosis can be found in up to half of infertile women, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
“Although endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility, many women get pregnant after successful treatment and/or with the use of reproductive technology,” said Sumit Saraf, MD. He explained how to know if you have endometriosis and the treatment options available.
What is endometriosis?
“A woman’s uterus is lined with tissue called endometrium. Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus,” Dr. Saraf said.
Endometriosis most often occurs in the following places:
- Behind the uterus
- Fallopian tubes
- Outer surfaces of the uterus, bladder, ureters, intestines and rectum
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
- Recurring pelvic pain, especially before and during your period
- Painful intercourse
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Pain during bowel movements or when urinating
Endometriosis-associated pain may significantly impact the day-to-day activities of women’s lives personally and professionally. However, many women with endometriosis have no symptoms at all. The severity of pain varies from person to person, just as the severity of disease does, however they are not linked. Endometriosis can take anywhere from 6 to 10 years to be properly diagnosed.
How is endometriosis treated?
Treatment depends on the extent of your endometriosis, your symptoms and whether you want to have children. Endometriosis may be treated with medication, surgery or both.
“There are many factors that influence your ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. If you are having difficulty getting pregnant or suffering recurrent miscarriages, endometriosis may be an issue and you should talk to your gynecologist,” said Dr. Saraf.
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