Endometriosis is a tough-to-diagnose, relatively unknown gynecological disorder that can interrupt a woman’s daily life and may adversely affect her fertility.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. The condition is often missed if further testing outside the typical pelvic exam is not performed. Because the diagnosis can be similar to PMS, women can go years without proper diagnosis and treatment.
This female reproductive disorder has symptoms which mirror severe PMS – painful menstrual cramps known as dysmenorrhea, painful intercourse known as dyspareunia, and heavy menstrual bleeding known as abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). Many women simply “deal with” or ignore their symptoms because they believe it’s just a normal part of having a monthly period. This is an unfortunate misconception, especially because your quality of life can be lowered due to endometriosis and your fertility can be affected.
Endometriosis and infertility
Endometriosis is fairly common, but not widely diagnosed. Specific testing is required, including a pelvic exam, ultrasound or laparoscopy, to examine the lining of your uterus.
The outer tissue present in endometriosis cases can contribute to a few factors that correlate to infertility, including adhesions from tissue, scarring, pelvic inflammation, lowered egg quality, impaired implantation of an egg, and distorted pelvic anatomy.
Treatment for endometriosis symptoms and infertility is available, but the condition cannot be prevented. A common first step is to prescribe birth control pills which impact a patient’s hormone levels in order to prevent endometriosis growth. Some women require surgery to remove any adhesions or tissue that may cause or are currently causing infertility. Sometimes, a combination of birth control and surgery is used.
The first step
If you believe that your period is severe, then your first step is to visit with your gynecologist. He or she can discuss your symptoms and determine if there is a need to test for endometriosis. It’s important for patients to be honest about how difficult their monthly cycle can be, and not to downplay symptoms because you feel that periods are supposed to be unpleasant. There is no need to “deal with” something that is very painful and disruptive. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and are considering building your family, contact Fertility Solutions in order to discuss possible assisted reproductive options.