Endometriosis is a benign gynecological condition that affects around eight to ten percent of women of reproductive age. In this condition, the extrinsic localization of endometrial tissue results in chronic inflammation. It can cause anatomical pelvic modifications. Patients who have endometriosis suffer from chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Their quality of life is severely impaired.
In some women, endometriosis can cause severe pain as the lesions can result in inflammation. They may form scar tissues and cause different organs to stick together. Other symptoms include:
- Painful sex
- Frequent urination
- Difficult and painful bowel movements
- Low back pain
The symptoms become more pronounced during the menstrual period.
The Endometriosis and Infertility Connection
One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is infertility. Most women discover they have endometriosis only when repeated attempts at getting pregnant fail. Research reveals that more than 50 percent of women with endometriosis are infertile. While they are unable to pinpoint the exact cause for this, some of the theories put forward are:
- Inflammation causes the body to produce chemicals called cytokines. They are known to inhibit sperm and egg cell. This can cause problems in fertilization.
- Endometriosis can cause scarring and adhesions. This may result in the blocking of fallopian tubes or uterus, making it difficult for the sperm and the eggs to unite.
- The presence of endometrial tissue on the ovaries can inhibit ovulation. It may thus prevent the release of an egg.
Research on the subject reveals that women who are infertile are six to eight times more likely to suffer from the condition.
Management of endometriosis can be done in many ways. The doctor will consider whether the patient is trying to get pregnant while deciding on a treatment option. Some treatments for endometriosis are not recommended for patients trying to conceive.
Medication For Pain Management
Over-the-counter pain relievers are prescribed to help reduce pain associated with endometriosis. They are not recommended for patients trying to conceive as some medications can adversely affect the fetus’s development.
Medication for Hormonal Problems
Pills and devices with a high concentration of synthetic hormones such as estrogen and progestin are effective in managing the symptoms of endometriosis. However, they are not suitable for pregnant women or for those trying to conceive.
The physician or a specialist will view the organs inside through laparoscopy. It is an open abdominal surgery in which a fiber optic device is introduced inside the body through a small incision. The objective is to remove the endometrial lesions covering the organs while ensuring that the other healthy tissues are not disturbed or damaged. Laparoscopy may provide relief from the condition and improve the chances of a patient getting pregnant.
Some women with endometriosis may have to undergo infertility treatment to improve the chances of pregnancy. In-vitro fertilization is a popular and proven solution and has helped many women battling endometriosis achieve their pregnancy goals.
Hysterectomy, which involves removal of the uterus, is also a recommended treatment for endometriosis. Women who do not wish to become pregnant can utilize this treatment option. However, doctors say it is not a permanent cure for endometriosis. There is a slight chance that the symptoms may return after some time.
IVF is regarded as the best option for infertility patients with endometriosis. IVF has provided hope for women struggling with this disease for a long time and concerned that they would never have a healthy pregnancy. Patients will need special monitoring and careful management of fertility medications. The chances of success are high.
While seeking treatment for endometriosis, it is essential to be clear in mind about the treatment goals. If you are looking to improve fertility and get pregnant, you must convey your thoughts to your doctor so that they can come up with a suitable and specific solution.
If you suspect you might have endometriosis, it is important to find a qualified specialist who can understand your problem and guide you through your options for treatment and fertility. Consult the best IVF specialist of India to get the proper guidance.
Dr. Nandita Palshetkar is the leading IVF specialist in Mumbai, with over 30 years of experience treating patients facing fertility issues. She combines the highest level of medical expertise with the latest IVF treatment-related medical technology, leading to high infertility treatment success rates.
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