It's estimated that one-third of infertility cases are brought on by the female partner. The fertility issues that women face may span from hormone imbalances to ovarian dysfunctions, but one of the most complicated conditions, endometriosis, can cause severe damage for hopeful couples, further delaying them from having the family of their dreams.
Research shows that endometriosis affects roughly 10% of women, and of that amount, the condition can lead to infertility in as many as 50%. With these statistics in mind, it's important to understand the dangers of endometriosis and what hopeful couples can do to alleviate its presence.
If you and your partner suspect that endometriosis may be preventing you from achieving a healthy pregnancy, here are a few things to consider about the illness and where you can find fertility help:
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an often painful condition that involves the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium). When endometriosis occurs, the uterine lining begins to grow on the outside of uterus and can spread to other reproductive organs. The abnormal growth can potentially infiltrate the pelvic region, the ovaries, and in some cases, extend to the fallopian tubes, rectum, vagina, and urinary tract.
What makes endometriosis painful for women who experience it is that the uterine lining still follows the same hormonal behavior as if it were growing within the uterus. For example, each menstrual cycle causes the uterine lining to shed if pregnancy doesn't occur, so wherever the lining has grow within the body, bleeding and scarring will develop.
Inside of the uterus, the process of the endometrium breaking down doesn't pose a threat to the body since the lining can be passed through the vagina. However, proliferation outside of the uterus has no way to be expelled, which results in major complications.
How does Endometriosis Cause Infertility?
Since the uterine lining is formed outside of the uterus, it has no way to be passed after it sheds. This means that the repetition of bleeding and regrowing will eventually cause scar tissue, cysts, or adhesions to form that disrupt the reproductive process. Depending on what parts of the body are affected, endometriosis can prevent an egg from transferring through the fallopian tubes, cease the ovulation process entirely, block the insemination of sperm cells, and weaken the vitality of ovarian follicles that control the release of developed eggs.
Although some women don't realize they have endometriosis until they are analyzed by a fertility specialist, here are a few symptoms of endometriosis to look out for:
- Frequent pelvic or abdominal pain during and outside of menstrual periods
- Heavy mensuration
- Pain during urination and bowel movements
- Pain during sex
If any of these symptoms persist, then consulting with a fertility specialist is highly recommended. Endometriosis is unlikely to resolve on its own, so finding a way to remedy the situation is key to ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
How is Endometriosis Treated?
Hormone imbalances are believed to be the main cause for why endometriosis occurs, so taking hormone medications or utilizing different contraceptive techniques may be a solution to stop abnormal growth. With that in mind, previous scar tissue must be removed in order to reinstate the proper functions of the reproductive organs. To achieve this, a fertility specialist may recommend a laparoscopic surgery or other fertility treatments such as an IUI or IVF to bypass the intrusions and assist with impregnation.
Unfortunately, none of these options will guarantee a successful pregnancy, but they can certainly increase your chances of being able to conceive. In addition, other factors, like age, personal health, and lifestyle choices must be taken into consideration when calculating the odds of pregnancy--so discussing things with a fertility expert, while forming a fertility plan, will help determine what the future can bring.
Laurel Fertility Care Gives You Answers
Dealing with endometriosis can be challenge, but the condition doesn't have to prevent you from starting a family. At Laurel Fertility Care, we offer you a holistic approach that uncovers your exact issues and chooses the best treatment plan to alleviate them. With our guidance and support, you and your partner can overcome the difficulties that endometriosis brings, while putting you in a position to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
To learn more about what Laurel Fertility Care can do for you, please give us a call and schedule an appointment with us at your earliest convenience.