Fertility Solutions supports women with endometriosis during National Endometriosis Awareness Month and all year round. Endometriosis is when tissue that would normally grow inside the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus instead.
This notoriously-underdiagnosed disease can elude a formal diagnosis for years, and women who believe they may suffer from the condition need understanding physicians who listen to their concerns. We educate women about its symptoms, how to obtain a diagnosis and how fertility may be affected.
Obtaining an endometriosis diagnosis
The difficultly of obtaining an endometriosis diagnosis is twofold. On the one hand, endometriosis is a condition physicians miss or overlook because its symptoms often mimic other gynecological issues. On the other hand, physicians may not know to screen for the disorder because the patient does not bring their symptoms to their gynecologist’s attention. The reason for this is that symptoms of endometriosis can fall in line with those of a “tough” or “difficult” period, so women simply assume that they are meant to live with, ignore and carry on with their normal routine despite the severity of their discomfort.
Both situations are very unfortunate. Without a diagnosis, a female patient lives with severe discomfort and even pain from one (possibly irregular) menstrual cycle to another. She may experience infertility without knowing why. In fact, many women who have endometriosis are not diagnosed until they try to conceive and find conception difficult.
One of the best ways to determine if endometriosis testing is needed is to have a frank discussion with your gynecologist. Discuss all of your symptoms at length — emphasize how the pain and cramping disrupt your routine. It’s important to remember that endometriosis symptoms, or even heavy or difficult period symptoms, are not normal. It may mean being your own advocate, but pushing for proper screening and serious consideration of the condition may mean the difference between another unbearable period and effective treatment that improves your quality of life.
Do you experience any of these symptoms with each menstrual cycle? You may have endometriosis. Be sure to tell your gynecologist if you’re experiencing any of the following:
• An irregular period
• A heavy period
• Painful intercourse
• Painful urination and/or bowel movements
• Pain and/or discomfort in your lower back, pelvis, abdomen, vagina or rectum
How does endometriosis affect infertility?
The excess tissue outside the uterus can cause infertility when it causes adhesions, pelvic inflammation and scarring. Additionally, endometriosis is known to cause a distorted pelvic anatomy, impair egg implantation and to lower egg quality. These factors can contribute to difficulty conceiving without treatment, surgery and/or assisted reproductive services.
If you have additional questions about endometriosis and its connection to infertility, please contact Fertility Solutions today.