Endometriosis and Infertility: What You Need to Know

March is National Endometriosis Awareness Week, and the staff at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group wants to remind women that help is available if endometriosis is hindering their ability to get pregnant.

Defining endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of your uterus grows outside of the organ. In women with this condition, it commonly grows on the:

This abnormal tissue growth can cause painful sex, chronic back or pelvic pain, and severe menstrual cramps. In some women, the endometrial tissue growth can complicate their ability to conceive or carry a child.

The effects of endometriosis on fertility

Endometriosis is not a direct cause of infertility. However, if you have the condition, your chances of becoming pregnant are lower than someone without it. There are several reasons for this:

Inflammation complications

One reason endometriosis can lead to trouble getting pregnant is because the condition can cause inflammation in the reproductive system and essentially paralyze the egg and sperm. This can make it difficult for them to travel to each other for fertilization.

Anatomy changes

The tissue growth that occurs with endometriosis can physically change the structure of your pelvic region. This can make it difficult for you to achieve a pregnancy or carry one to full term.

Blockages

Endometrial tissue that grows on your fallopian tubes can cause blockages that obstruct the egg’s pathway to the sperm. Your ovaries may also develop blockages that stop the sperm from reaching the egg.

Excess endometrial tissue can also cause a failure to ovulate, causing your eggs to become trapped within your ovaries. This scenario can lead to fertility problems and even miscarriages.

Treatment provides hope

While there’s no cure for endometriosis, there are ways you can increase your chances of successfully conceiving a healthy pregnancy.

For some women, surgical removal of the excess tissue can address fertility problems and help them become pregnant without additional treatment.

If surgery isn’t possible or effective at treating your endometriosis, you may need to consider other methods for getting pregnant, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).

In vitro fertilization ensures eggs are fertilized by sperm by taking the process outside of your body. Once fertilization is successful, the embryo is then implanted into your uterus. In IUI, healthy sperm cells are injected directly into your uterus, bypassing the pathways that may be blocked by endometrial tissue.

If you don’t have any symptoms of endometriosis but are having trouble getting pregnant, you may want to see the health specialists at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group anyway. Some women can have endometriosis-related tissue growth without experiencing common symptoms, a condition referred to as silent endometriosis. Because they don’t realize there’s a problem, they may get IVF or other treatments and find no success.

If you’re struggling with infertility or have concerns about endometriosis, there are options that can help you have a child. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group today.

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