A lot of people throughout the world suffer from the medical condition endometriosis.
As a senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Fortis Hospital in Richmond Road, Bangalore, Dr. Aruna Muralidhar MD, MRCOG, FRCOG, FICM discusses how endometriosis can affect fertility and what you can do to improve your chances of conceiving successfully
Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects many women worldwide. It occurs when the endometrium, which is the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside of the uterus and on other organs in the pelvic area. This condition can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and infertility. If you have endometriosis and are hoping to become pregnant, it is important to understand how this condition can affect your fertility and what steps you can take to increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy.
Impact of Endometriosis on Fertility
Endometriosis can have a significant impact on fertility. Research suggests that up to 50% of women with endometriosis may have difficulty conceiving, compared to only around 10% of women without the condition. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but it is thought that the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue can interfere with ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.
In addition, endometriosis can also cause inflammation and scarring in the pelvic area, which can further hinder fertility. The severity of endometriosis does not always correspond to the degree of infertility; some women with mild endometriosis may have severe difficulty conceiving, while others with more severe cases may have no issues at all.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis and Pregnancy
If you have endometriosis and are trying to conceive, there are several treatment options available that may increase your chances of getting pregnant:
- Fertility Treatments:
Fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) may be recommended for women with endometriosis who have been trying to conceive for an extended period without success. These treatments can help bypass any obstacles to conception caused by endometriosis and improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
- Laparoscopic Surgery:
In some cases, laparoscopic surgery may be recommended to remove any endometrial tissue that is causing fertility problems. This can improve the chances of conception by restoring the normal function of the reproductive organs.
- Hormone Therapy:
Hormone therapy, such as birth control pills or gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, can help control the growth of endometrial tissue and reduce inflammation in the pelvic area. This can improve fertility and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Endometriosis:
If you have endometriosis and become pregnant, there is some good news: most women with endometriosis are able to have healthy pregnancies and deliveries. However, there are some potential risks associated with endometriosis and pregnancy that you should be aware of:
Women with endometriosis may be at a slightly higher risk of miscarriage, especially if they have severe endometriosis or have undergone fertility treatments.
- Preterm Birth:
Endometriosis may increase the risk of preterm birth, especially in women with severe cases.
- C-Section Delivery:
Women with endometriosis may be more likely to require a C-section delivery, especially if they have had surgery to treat the condition.
- Pelvic Pain:
Endometriosis-related pain may persist during pregnancy, although it typically improves in the second trimester.
Women with a history of endometriosis may be more likely to develop adhesions or scar tissue in the pelvic area, which can increase the risk of complications during delivery.
Endometriosis can be a challenging condition for women who are trying to conceive. However, with the right treatment and care, most women with endometriosis are able to have a normal and safe pregnancy and delivery.