Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue similar to the endometrium (tissue that normally lines the uterus or womb) grows outside the uterus and in other areas of the body. It is most commonly found on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and outer surface of the uterus. This condition affects more than 11% of women between the ages of 15 and 44.
It can lead to long, sometimes extremely painful period cycles, nausea, lethargy, and pain during ovulation. Additionally, it also affects a woman’s fertility and ability to conceive. In fact, half of the women suffering from this condition have trouble getting pregnant. While it’s not completely impossible to get pregnant with endometriosis, you may require special care and assistance. With timely detection and thorough evaluation of your condition, the doctor can recommend an assisted reproductive technique (ART) to help you get pregnant.
The exact cause of endometriosis is still unknown. However, some possible factors that may cause endometriosis in women include:
The symptoms of endometriosis may vary from one woman to the next. While some may hardly have any noticeable symptoms, others may experience severe pain that hinders their daily activities. The symptoms of endometriosis include:
Although endometriosis affects a woman’s ability to get pregnant, most women with mild endometriosis are not infertile. In fact, a study conducted by the Pregnancy Hub noted that around 70% of women with mild to moderate endometriosis get pregnant without any medical intervention.
While the exact link between endometriosis and infertility still remains unknown, the severity of the condition and the location of the endometrial tissue also plays a role in determining the outcome. However, what’s important for you to know is that even with severe endometriosis, natural conception is possible.
Women diagnosed with endometriosis often wonder if it’s even worth trying to conceive naturally instead of seeking medical intervention. However, as we have already established previously, having endometriosis doesn’t mean that you cannot conceive naturally. Even your doctor will advise you to first try to conceive naturally (at least for six months) and if you can’t get pregnant within the given timeframe, they will proceed with other treatment methods such as ARTs.
If you are unable to conceive within the first six months of trying naturally, your doctor may recommend trying one of the following ART methods for conception. However, be informed that the kind of technique will be chosen based on your age, overall health, existing medical conditions, and severity of endometriosis.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a procedure where the sperm is injected into the womb during ovulation. This procedure is administered along with the usage of fertility drugs to increase the chances of conception. IUI is a cost-effective fertility treatment method but in some cases, may require multiple rounds to ensure positive pregnancy.
If IUI doesn’t work, then doctors move to the next line of treatment, In-vitro fertilisation (IVF). This procedure involves removing eggs and fertilising them with sperms outside the body and then transferring the fertilised egg back to the womb. IVF is one of the most preferred fertility treatment methods due to its high success rates, but it is also costly and invasive. Studies have shown that the success rate of IVF in women with endometriosis is about 22%. This procedure is mostly administered to women over the age of 35 years or those suffering from other health conditions in addition to endometriosis.
Most women with endometriosis have a normal and smooth pregnancy and don’t require any special care or extra monitoring. However, in some cases, endometriosis may increase the risk of the following complications during pregnancy:
To avoid the occurrence of these complications, make sure to attend your routine pregnancy check-ups and get timely evaluations to determine your overall condition. Apart from impacting a woman’s fertility and ability to conceive, endometriosis can also have a great impact on a woman’s well-being. Those who suffer from endometriosis know that it can be a life-changing and debilitating condition, especially when you are trying to conceive.
The good news is that it’s still possible to conceive naturally with mild to moderate endometriosis. If you are unable to conceive, you can seek assisted reproductive techniques to ensure a positive pregnancy outcome.