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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Does endometriosis cause infertility? Here’s what you need to know

The most common site of this disorder is ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of the uterus and even the lining of the pelvic cavity.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
May 27, 2021 6:20:10 pm
endometreosisPainful menstrual cramps, lower back and pelvic pain, and painful sex are some of the symptoms of endometreosis. (Source: pixabay)

By Dr Kalyani Shrimali

Do you know that endometriosis can lead to infertility? However, it is still possible to get pregnant with endometriosis. Know about the various options to help you conceive and experience parenthood. Read on to know more about this, and make sure you seek timely treatment if you have endometriosis.

Are you nervous due to painful periods? Did you encounter back, abdomen, or pelvic pain? Do you feel fatigued? Are you unable to conceive? Then, you will have to consult a fertility expert as it may be endometriosis. We tell you everything about this condition and why it can lead to infertility.

You will have endometriosis if the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue similar to what lies inside the uterus is located outside it. The most common site of this disorder is ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of the uterus and even the lining of the pelvic cavity. Rarely, it can also grow on your intestine, the cervix, vagina, bladder, and vulva.

What are the stages?

Endometriosis is classified into 4 stages based on the implants, cysts, and adhesions. Stage I is considered minimal with isolated implants and mild adhesions. Stage II is mild with superficial implants without significant adhesions. Stage III is known to be moderate with many deep implants, chocolate cysts, and filmy adhesions. Stage IV is worrisome as it is severe with many deep implants, a large number of cysts on both the ovaries, and thick adhesions.

What are the risk factors of endometriosis?

Family history plays a vital role in the development of this condition. Other factors such as a longer period cycle, early periods, and having less gap between each period can make you fall prey to this condition.

Are you aware of these causes of endometriosis?

Retrograde means backward menstruation leads to this condition. The tissue that one sheds during the periods tends to flow back via the fallopian tube into other areas of one’s body, like the pelvis. Thus, the endometrial-like cells get deposited outside the uterus, can implant and grow.

Do not ignore these symptoms of endometriosis:

Painful menstrual cramps, lower back and pelvic pain, painful sex, intestinal pain, fatigue, spotting between periods, painful bowel movements, constipation, bloating, diarrhoea and infertility are some of the prominent symptoms of this condition. However, the symptoms vary from person to person. The diagnosis of this condition is confirmed with the help of laparoscopy.

Here, we decode the relationship between endometriosis and infertility:

  • Suffering from endometriosis is debilitating and when the heartbreak of infertility is added to that pain, it can lead to a feeling of inadequacy. It is a chronic disorder that blocks the reproductive system from having no cure. Women with endometriosis should plan their pregnancy earlier after consulting the expert as the condition worsens with time.

  • Endometriosis damages the eggs and the sperm by causing inflammation in the body. Endometrial deposits obstruct the fallopian tubes which block the egg from traveling through the tubes during normal ovulation. Furthermore, this blockage will prevent fertilisation, and you will find it difficult to conceive.

  • In severe endometriosis, the ovaries are bound by adhesions making it difficult to conceive. Infertility will be temporary in case of mild endometriosis. But, ones with severe endometriosis may face problems while conceiving.

  • Chocolate cysts present in the ovaries because of endometriosis interferes with the normal ovulation process, block transportation of eggs, and damage the ovaries leading to low ovarian reserve.

Why should one opt for an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test?

The Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test can be opted for to check a woman’s ability to produce eggs. It is a known fact that a woman’s ovaries make thousands of eggs during her childbearing years. But, the number goes down as the woman ages. AMH levels help predict the potential egg cells left in a woman. It can be taken anytime during the menstrual cycle.

The treatment:

  • You will be given fertility medication to increase egg production. Your fertility expert may also recommend surgery to help you get back on track and improve your quality of life. Fortunately, assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can also do the trick. It is the best plan for those with endometriosis and the prognosis is good. It can give hope to women who are battling this condition for a longer time. In this technique, an egg from the female partner and sperm of her male partner is fertilized outside her body and then implanted in her uterus.

  • Women with endometriosis can freeze their eggs while they’re young and the condition is in the early stages. If there is any surgery required to remove the endometrioma, discuss with your gynaecologist and fertility specialist and opt for preserving your fertility.

(The writer is a Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility)

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