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Endometriosis: Signs & Fertility Implications

People generally recognize endometriosis as a painful and somewhat debilitating condition. Endometriosis often causes heavy bleeding and intense cramping in females of childbearing age. There are also other symptoms but it may surprise you that around 25% of those females who suffer the condition are asymptomatic, meaning they have no identifiable symptoms.

Most couples receive a diagnosis of endometriosis after consulting their physician regarding their inability to conceive. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine 30%-50% of females diagnosed with endometriosis experience infertility. Also, according to a publication from the NIH,  6%-10% of the general female population has endometriosis. Even with such a prevalence most people know little about endometriosis and how it impacts fertility. Here, we endeavor to explain the signs of endometriosis and the fertility implications of the condition.

What Exactly is Endometriosis?

The endometrium is the tissue that makes the lining of the uterus. When you menstruate that tissue sheds and flows out of your body. A new menstrual cycle begins and the lining of your uterus grows again in anticipation of a fertilized egg. When no fertilized egg attaches the lining is shed once again.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue that is very similar to the endometrium develops outside of the uterus and attaches to the organs within the pelvic region such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and intestines. Some females develop a condition called adenomyosis whereby the endometriosis attaches and implants in the muscle of the uterus. As your hormones trigger your uterine lining to shed, so do they trigger the endometriosis which causes inflammation and scar tissue that impacts your fertility.


Signs of Endometriosis

As stated some females have no idea they have endometriosis until they suspect fertility issues. Others experience specific or general symptoms that may indicate endometriosis.

Those who experience signs of endometriosis may have the following:

  • Very painful and debilitating menstrual cramps that interrupt your activities
  • Heavy bleeding and passing clots with your period
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Abdominal pain or back pain during or between periods
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Difficult or painful bowel movements
  • Infertility


Interestingly there is no connection between the severity of your symptoms and the severity of the condition. Some females with minimal endometriosis experience very intense symptoms while some with advanced endometriosis experience little to no symptoms.

Risks for Endometriosis

Some factors that put you at risk for endometriosis. They are:

  • Having a close relative such as mother, grandmother or sister, with endometriosis
  • Beginning menstruation before the age of 11
  • Experiencing months of cycles of less than 27 days
  • Having an abnormally shaped uterus
  • Regularly experiencing periods that last longer than seven days and are heavy in flow


Fertility Implications for Females with Endometriosis

As you know endometriosis interferes with your fertility. In addition to the inflammation and scar tissue that prevents your reproductive system from doing what it’s designed for endometriosis also alters the hormonal environment around your eggs. This affects the quality of your eggs as well as ovulation. Doctors also uncovered certain immune system issues related to endometriosis.


What Treatments Are Available?

Your fertility doctor assesses you based on age, overall health, any underlying conditions and desire for pregnancy before beginning treatment. In most cases, your doctor surgically removes endometriosis and any scar tissue causing issues. The next steps depend on your desire to conceive. Some patients experience such severe endometriosis symptoms they merely want relief. Pain management may involve birth control pills which is contrary to conception but a successful method for managing the symptoms of endometriosis.

Typically, your doctor recommends laparoscopic surgery. In rare instances you may need open surgery however the laparoscopic procedure is the most common. At this point, your doctor considers your options and your timeline before going over the best infertility treatment for your endometriosis.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) offers the highest success for those with all stages of endometriosis who wish to conceive. Because endometriosis interferes with egg quality, IVF often provides the only option for some couples. Regardless of the stage of endometriosis or your age, you should not delay pregnancy. Once you begin treatment for your endometriosis you should discuss your fertility options.


Let’s Get Started

If you suspect you have endometriosis or you experience infertility, please contact LA IVF for a consultation. We offer several options for treating endometriosis as well as treatment for your infertility. But we can’t get started until you reach out. Let’s work together and realize your goal of parenthood.

TEL: 310-286-2800 | FAX: 310-691-1116