Endometriosis Vs. Fertility
by: Shelley Ross
For many women, the idea of cradling their own adorable newborn is the greatest dream in life. Starting a family is often the natural progression of a marriage, and for many couples, it is something that happens quickly and naturally. For some women, however, conceiving a child can be a difficult, stressful process. Women suffering from endometriosis know this all too well.
Endometriosis is a fairly common condition in women. However, many women are not aware of what a diagnosis of endometriosis means for a person suffering from the condition. It can have a number of negative affects on a womans health and well being, one of the primary side-effects being issues of infertility. A condition which causes the tissue lining the uterus to grow into other areas of the body, endometriosis can cause discomfort, pain, bleeding between menstrual cycles, and infertility.
Although not all infertility issues are linked to endometriosis, more than one third of women suffering from infertility suffer from endometriosis. Many women who are having trouble conceiving enlist the aid of a gynecologist. If endometriosis is identified as the source of the problem, a doctor can suggest a course of treatment.
Every month, a womans ovaries produce certain hormones that act as stimulants to the lining of your uterus. These cells multiply and prepare themselves for the arrival of a fertilized egg. As this happens, the uterine lining swells and becomes thicker. However, if these endometrial cells are implanted in places outside the uterus, problems begin to occur.
Like your normal cells, cells outside of the uterus still respond to the hormone stimulation that occurs on a monthly basis. For cells in the uterus, this is not a problem since the cells fall off during menstruation. The other cells, outside the uterus are not shed. They stay in place.
One of the reasons infertility occurs as a result of endometriosis is because this process of tissues staying in place can cause both adhesions and scarring in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Aside from interfering with ovulation, these adhesions make it difficult for reproductive cells to pass from the ovaries and into the fallopian tube. The pathway for a fertilized egg to pass into the uterus becomes obstructed, making it hard for a woman to become pregnant.
Unfortunately, endometriosis is a progressive disease, meaning that it often worsens over time. Even after treatment, conditions can persist and intensify. Many infertile women undergo an outpatient procedure called a laparoscopy. This procedure allows your gynecologist to diagnose whether you suffer from endometriosis and assess the seriousness of your disorder. Ranging in severity from stage 1-4, the classification of your endometriosis will be the factor from which your gynecologist decides on a mode of treatment. He will advise medication, surgery, or a combination of the two.
For many women, the issue of infertility due to endometriosis is an every day battle. The good news is that medical advances are constantly being made as researchers and physicians strive to find a cure for this problematic disorder. With so many new treatments and medications available, there is renewed hope for women who suffer from endometriosis.