Because endometriosis is not talked about in the medical community as much as it should be, some women do not know they have suffered with endometriosis until they begin having fertility problems. It is important for women to have open conversations with their doctors if they are experiencing this type of pain and having fertility problems. Learn more about endometriosis, how endometriosis affects fertility and the options women with endometriosis have for getting pregnant.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common and chronic disease that tends to surface around the time that women reach reproductive age. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that is supposed to line the inside of the uterus is also found growing on the outside of the uterus. This tissue develops into growths and lesions, which then are presented as many different symptoms among the affected woman. Women with this disease experience pain both before, after and during periods, pain during sexual intercourse, pain while urinating, fatigue and often infertility. It is unknown what causes endometriosis, but approximately 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S. alone are affected by this disease, along with millions of other women and girls around the world.
How Endometriosis Affects Fertility
Some women are able to take birth control to help with pain and reduce growths and lesions from endometriosis, while other women require removal of these growths laparoscopically. Unfortunately, many women and girls with endometriosis have extensive scar tissue on their uterus, making it difficult for an egg to enter their fallopian tubes. Women whose ovaries are affected by endometriosis have a harder time getting pregnant following a surgery to this region of their body. As a result, women with endometriosis experience higher rates of infertility when compared to women of the same age without the disease.
Options for Getting Pregnant if You Have endometriosis
The “Natural” Approach
Women with endometriosis have a couple of options for achieving a pregnancy. The first approach is natural. Not all women with endometriosis are infertile; women with endometriosis can attempt to conceive on their own. They should get a fertility evaluation to determine if there are any other factors that could hinder her ability to get pregnant.
If surgery is necessary, a laparoscopy is often performed. Laparoscopy is the most common procedure used to diagnose and remove endometriosis. Instead of a large incision, the surgeon inserts a thin camera, called a laparoscope, through a small incision to view the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries to see if endometriosis is present. If endometriosis is visible, the surgeon will remove any implants and scar tissue that may be causing pain or infertility. The procedure leaves little to no scarring, and women will be able to return to normal activities after a week or so.
IUI for Endometriosis
For treatment of infertility associated with mild to moderate endometriosis, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is often attempted and has a greater chance of resulting in pregnancy if other infertility factors are not present. IUI is an in-office procedure in which the sperm is placed through a small plastic catheter into the uterus and goes around the cervix and the vagina. If IUI is not successful after about 3 cycles, In-Vitro Fertilization should be considered.
IVF for Endometriosis
IVF, or In-Vitro Fertilization, has helped many women with endometriosis to achieve the pregnancy they have wanted. Women with endometriosis undergo the same IVF treatment as any other woman with fertility problems would undergo. There are several different kinds of IVF procedures available in New York. The actual procedure will depend on the woman’s preferences and a consultation with the reproductive specialist to determine which method will produce the best outcomes. Women with endometriosis may need closer monitoring to ensure a smooth process.
Do You Have Endometriosis?
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, it is important to seek the assistance of a reproductive specialist. These doctors are skilled in identifying the cause of your infertility, so that the proper treatment can begin and you can begin building the family of your dreams. To learn more about endometriosis and infertility, contact Reproductive Specialists of New York today. We proudly operate out of Brooklyn, Mineola, Stony Brook and West Islip, New York.