There are many reasons why couples experience infertility. Regardless of the cause all are emotionally painful. For six to ten percent, and roughly 5 million American women, the cause is physically painful as well. Endometriosis is a painful condition that can cause infertility as well as extreme pelvic pain in women who suffer from it. Although this condition is prevalent, it is very misunderstood. At Viera Fertility Center we can help manage and treat the symptoms of endometriosis, as well as educate our patients on how their condition can affect their fertility.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder characterized by endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the inside the uterus, growing outside the uterus and around the surrounding organs. This endometrial tissue continues to behave as it does inside the uterus, where it thickens and sheds every month. However unlike normal endometrial tissue, this lining has no way of exiting the body and causes the woman severe pain. The surrounding tissues become irritated and inflamed. This can cause the development of scar tissue and adhesions that can eventually bind pelvic organs together.
While the cause of endometriosis is unknown, what is interesting about endometriosis is that the symptoms manifest differently in every woman. Some women experience little to no pain even though they have a severe case. Another woman with a mild condition may experience excruciating pain. Symptoms of endometriosis can include:
- Extreme pain during menstrual cycles that sometimes begins before and lingers after the cycle.
- Pain with urination and bowel movements.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Menorrhagia, or menometrorrhagia – excessive bleeding during and in between periods.
- Fatigue, bloating, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea during menstrual cycle.
If you ever experience pelvic pain it is important to schedule an appointment because there are many effective treatments for endometriosis. You do not have to live in pain or suffer infertility due to this condition.
Endometriosis and Fertility
While endometriosis is very painful physically, it often causes women fertility issues. This can leave a lasting emotional scar. Nearly one half of women with endometriosis have found it difficult to become pregnant. It is easy to understand why a condition like this could cause infertility. The misplaced endometrial lining can make it difficult for the egg to travel down the fallopian tube where it may be reached by sperm. It can also cause scarring in the uterus making implantation very difficult for an embryo. This condition can also damage the sperm and the egg even before they have a chance to meet.
Treatment and Management of Endometriosis
Thankfully, there are treatments available at Viera Fertility Center that can help our patients manage their endometriosis and eventually allow them to conceive and carry the child they wish so dearly for. Depending on the severity of the condition, Dr. Chamoun may advise a surgical or medical treatment.
Medical treatments: Medical endometriosis treatments are advised when the goal is to simply control pelvic pain. Pain medications are prescribed to alleviate pain quickly. Next, hormonal therapies such as contraceptives, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, or injectable progesterone are used. Hormonal contraceptives are used to control the cycle and reduce pain. whereas Gn-RH agonists stop the cycle and control the pain. The injectable progesterone stops the growth of the endometrial cells and reduces pain.
Surgical Treatments: If a woman with severe endometriosis wishes to become pregnant or has not responded to any medical treatments, a surgical treatment would be advised. A conservative surgical treatment is a laparoscopy where endometriosis implants are removed and the uterus and ovarian tissue are untouched. This allows a woman who was infertile due to endometriosis to become pregnant. A definitive treatment involves a hysterectomy, or the removal of the uterus. This would only be used, obviously, if becoming pregnant was not the goal.
If you believe you are living with endometriosis, you do not need to live in pain. Schedule an appointment at the Viera Fertility Center and we will be able to help diagnose the severity of your endometriosis and suggest a treatment that will begin to alleviate your pain and allow you to begin building the family you’ve always dreamed of. If you have any questions regarding endometriosis or what treatments might be helpful for you, call today.