03 Jan The Effect of Endometriosis on Fertility
It’s most commonly on the peritoneum, which is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. A hormonal and immune system disease, it is chronic, and involves clumps of tissue (also known as implants) that can also grow on your fallopian tubes, intestines, ovaries, bladder, bowels, the ligaments that support the uterus or the tissue that lines your pelvis. And although it is very rare, it is possible for the implants to spread even beyond the pelvic area.
Each month that you have your monthly cycle, any implants that you have inside of your body will go through the exact same process that your endometrium goes through. This includes, growing and thickening, bleeding, breaking down and shedding, which is why any pain that you have due to the endometriosis, could possibly start as some mild to moderate discomfort a few days before your period begins and then have disappeared by the time that it’s over. Also, because the displaced tissue has no way to leave your body, and has responded to your period in these same ways, it becomes trapped, which can sometimes cause cysts to form when the condition involves the ovaries, which may possibly begin irritating areas of surrounding tissue, and eventually cause scarring and adhesions to form, in addition to causing infertility, inflammation, bowel problems and internal bleeding. This disease can, however, cause more than just discomfort, it can also cause mild to severe pain, not only during your period, but at other times as well. For example, if there is an area where an implant has grown that is particularly delicate or ultrasensitive, it may cause you pain during a specific activity or even on a more constant basis. Some of the activities can include bowel movements, sexual intercourse and exercise.
Some of the symptoms of endometriosis are as follows:
- Recurring or Chronic Pelvic Pain: (can be mild to severe, happen on both sides, be stabbing or cramping and can also cause pain in both the lower back and rectal area, as well as create pain down the legs)
- Dyspareunia: causes painful sexual intercourse
- Dysmenorrhea: this condition causes extreme pain during the menstrual cycle that is so bad, at times it can be described as disabling; may also be accompanied with excessively heavy blood loss called, menorrhagia.
- Dysuria: painful and sometimes difficult urination, mostly described as a burning or stinging type of sensation
- Painful bowel movements during menstruation period
- Additional Gastrointestinal Problems: (diarrhea, nausea, constipation, etc.)
Additionally, some women also suffer from:
- Chemical Sensitivities
- Frequent Yeast Infections
The effect that endometriosis has on fertility is not completely understood by doctors or scientists, but they do know that it takes its toll in different areas. These include:
- The implants may change both the hormonal and chemical make-up in the fluid that encircles the organs in the abdominal cavity. This can then cause the issue of a changed menstrual cycle which can make a pregnancy either difficult or impossible to achieve.
- Cysts can start developing on the ovaries and are called either ovarian endometriomas or endometrial cysts. These are blood-filled growths that can range in size from 1mm to larger than 8cm wide.
- Adhesions may begin to form where the implants have, which can change the function or even the shape of the fallopian tubes, ovaries or uterus. Any of which can cause great difficulty when trying to conceive.
- There is also a slightly higher chance of getting ovarian cancer for women who have this condition.
Though having endometriosis can be a challenge in many areas, if your main concern has to do with being able to conceive a child, your goal is not an impossible one. Despite the many symptoms and issues that can come with this condition, there are also many treatments available. Here is a list of some of the treatments and tips for getting pregnant that can help you deal with the problem of infertility due to endometriosis.
- Surgery: If you decide to go this route, a surgeon will attempt to remove as significant a portion of diseased tissue as is possible. This treatment alone can sometimes be enough to help a woman to be able to conceive. Surgery can also be a good option to correct any damage to the fallopian tubes if they have become either blocked or too scarred, due to problems from the endometriosis as well.
- Fertility Drugs: This choice is often given to women who are having ovulation issues due to endometriosis. Some doctors will also recommend trying artificial insemination if you begin ovulating.
This process involves sperm being directly inserted into your uterus.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or (ICSI) In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): These options are sometimes considered if you are having severe problems with the fallopian tubes but are still ovulating normally. The major point being that you can bypass the fallopian tubes entirely.
- Pregnancy Miracle: Some women have gotten pregnant using the Pregnancy Miracle method.
These are some of the most effective treatments out there for the infertility problems that have been caused by having endometriosis. And though there are many theories as to what may cause this disease, there are no definitive answers. The simple fact is, the sooner this condition is discovered and treated the better chance you will have at being able to conceive the child you have always wanted.