Endometriosis and Infertility
To help bring awareness to endometriosis, a condition that affects 1 out of 10 women during their reproductive years, the month of March is dedicated to raising awareness, educating the public, and increasing access to endometriosis resources to help women make better healthcare decisions.
Acknowledging and assisting with this effort, IVF Florida is proving helpful information about Endometriosis, including causes, diagnosis, and treatment.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium, the tissue that lines the uterus, grows outside of the uterus. When a woman suffers from endometriosis, it is most commonly found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, ligaments that support the uterus, the area between the vagina and the rectum, the outer surface of the uterus, and the lining of the pelvic cavity. Other less common sites for endometrial growth include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, in abdominal scars.
Common Symptoms of Endometriosis Include:
- Painful menstrual periods
- Painful bowel movements and urination during periods
- Pain during or after sex
- Lower back, abdominal, or pelvic pain
- Frequent yeast infections
- Gastrointestinal upsets (diarrhea, constipation, nausea)
Causes, Diagnosis, & Treatment for Endometriosis
While there is no known cause for endometriosis, there are several factors that may be associated with the disorder such as genetics, starting menstruation at a young age, and exposure to environmental toxins like the chemical dioxin (TCCD). Another theory believed to cause endometriosis is retrograde menstruation in which during menstruation, the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian, implants in the uterus, and grows.
Some women with endometriosis experience frequent and severe pain, an obvious indication that there is a problem. On the other hand, some women have little to no symptoms and learn they have the disorder while trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. Endometriosis is one of the top three conditions associated with female infertility and about 30 to 40 percent of women with the condition cannot get pregnant on their own.
Diagnosis is typically considered uncertain until proven by laparoscopy, a minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia that shows the size and location of the endometriosis. It is one of the most common treatments to remove endometrial tissue, especially for women trying to conceive.
During this procedure, a surgeon will insert a camera through a small incision near the navel. Should any endometriosis be present, the surgeon will attempt to remove all endometrial tissue through another small incision. If the laparoscopy proves to be ineffective, further treatment options may need to be considered such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
If you have been diagnosed with or suspect endometriosis and would like to learn more about your family-building options, please schedule a consultation online or call us at 954-247-6200.
This blog post was originally published by Daniel R. Christie, M.D. on March 27, 2017. He is subspecialty certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and is highly skilled in the areas of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). To schedule a consultation with Dr. Christie, please request an appointment at one of our IVF Florida locations.