Endometriosis is a disease that affects women of reproductive age and that may be associated with both pelvic pain and infertility. Scientific advances have improved our understanding of this benign (non-cancerous) but sometimes debilitating condition. And modern medicine now offers women with endometriosis many treatment options for relief of both pain and infertility.
According to medical statistics it is estimated that infertility can affect around 40% of women with endometriosis. Infertility can be one of the consequences of endometriosis. Interestingly it has been found that 30-40% of women undergoing laparoscopy as part of infertility evaluation are found to have endometriosis.
What is endometriosis?
When the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) is found outside the uterus, it is termed "endometriosis." Endometriosis may grow on the outside of your uterus, ovaries, and tubes and even on your bladder or intestines. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond your pelvic region. This tissue can irritate structures that it touches, causing pain and adhesions (scar tissue) on these organs.
How women will know that she has endometriosis?
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with your menstrual period. Though many woman experience cramping during their menstrual period, women with endometriosis typically describe their menstrual pain that's far worse than the usual. They also tend to report that the pain has increased over time. Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis may include:
1. Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days into your period and may include lower back and abdominal pain.
2. Pain with intercourse. Pain during sex or after sex is common in endometriosis.
3. Pain with bowel movements or urination. You're most likely to experience these symptoms during your period.
4. Excessive bleeding. You may experience occasional heavy periods (menorrhagia) or bleeding between periods (menometrorrhagia).
5. Infertility. Endometriosis is first diagnosed in some women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
6. Other symptoms. You may also experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.
The cause of endometriosis is not known, although it often runs in families. Numerous biochemical and immunological changes have been identified in association with endometriosis, but it is unclear which may contribute to endometriosis and which simply result from it.
Does endometriosis lead to infertility?
Test and Diagnosis
Options available for Endometriosis Treatment
What can be done to maximise future fertility when diagnosed with Endometriosis?
Many women believe endometriosis will prevent them from having children. This is a myth. Although some does experience infertility, about 70 percent of women with endometriosis do not. There are no preventive measures to avoid the condition. A woman can manage the symptoms only if she is diagnosed.
Finding a doctor with whom you feel comfortable is crucial in managing and treating endometriosis. You may also want to get a second opinion before starting any treatment to be sure you know all of your options and the possible outcomes. About 70 percent of women with endometriosis do not experience infertility.
Gautam N. Allahbadia, MD is the Medical Director of Rotunda The Center for Human Reproduction, the world-renowned infertility clinic at Bandra, Mumbai, India. Services offered by Dr. Gautam and his Infertility Clinic includes basic work-up of the infertile Couple, One Stop Fertility Diagnostic Services including hormonal testing, Diagnostic Laparoscopy & Hysteroscopy, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Clinic, Reproductive Endoscopic Surgery including Fallopian Tube Recanalization, Minimally Invasive Ultrasound Guided Procedures, Uterine Cavity Assessment (Sonocontrast hysterography), Artificial Insemination, Semen Cryopreservation, Semen processing, Ovulation Induction & Monitoring, Evaluation of male patient, Intrauterine insemination, Gonadotropin Cycles, Fallopian Tube Sperm per fusion, GIFT, ZIFT, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Embryo Freezing, BET, Oocyte Donor Program, Surrogacy, Assisted Hatching, Surgical Sperm Retrieval (PESA/MESA/TESA/TESE), & Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). Dr. Allahbadia and his world-class team of Reproductive endocrinologists, embryologists, anthologists and infertility specialists have helped hundreds of couples have babies through Assisted Reproduction.