What is Endometriosis?
- Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus) grows outside of the uterus, generally near the pelvic lining, ovaries, or fallopian tubes
- Normally, the endometrium thickens and sheds throughout the menstrual cycle and leaves the body during the period. However, any tissue that has grown outside of the uterus becomes trapped
- In the tissue surrounding the ovaries, irritation may occur and cause cysts (called endometriomas) or scar tissue
What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
- Moderate to severe pain and/or heavy flow during menstruation
- Discomfort with urination or bowel movements around the time of the period
- Pain during intercourse
- Bloating, cramping, nausea, constipation, and fatigue (especially during menstruation)
- Difficulty getting pregnant
How does endometriosis affect fertility?
- Endometriosis can impede the fertilization of an egg by blocking off the fallopian tube
- Endometriosis may also damage the egg and/or sperm and impact ovarian reserve
- About one third to one half of women with endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant
What can be done if you have Endometriosis and you are trying to conceive?
- If you have not been able to conceive after 6 to 12 months of actively trying, make an appointment with an infertility specialist to make a baseline assessment
- Discuss with your doctor about your history and learn more about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- During IVF, the egg is removed from the ovary and inseminated outside the body (in vitro), then placed back into the uterus for implantation. This prevents endometriosis from blocking the fertilization process or causing damage to the gametes (sperm or egg)
- Options like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or treatment with oral medication can be considered for more moderate cases
- Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and enough exercise, as this can help reduce inflammation in the body