Endometriosis is a condition where tissues are normally located inside the uterus and grow outside the lining of it. This chronic disorder involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining of the pelvis.
Normally the tissues which lie inside the uterus thicken, break down, and bleed during a woman’s menstrual cycle. However, when diagnosed with endometriosis, the pelvic organs of the body may potentially get irritated because the tissues are trapped and are unable to exit the body. This in turn results in complications like inflammation, painful lesions and scar tissue. Endometriosis affecting the ovaries may result in the formation of cysts called endometriomas.
How does endometriosis affect fertility?
When a woman is diagnosed with endometriosis, it might be difficult for her to conceive especially since the uterine cells are formed in the ovaries or fallopian tubes interfering with the fertilization process by making it difficult for the eggs to reach the uterus. “Endometriosis also impacts the fertility of a woman by triggering inflammation which may potentially harm the sperms or eggs preventing them from moving freely. Other complications such as an altered immune system, change in the hormonal environment of the eggs and scarred fallopian tubes may also influence the fertility rate of a woman,” says Dr Mahesh Koregol, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Koramangala, Bengaluru.
Koregol lists below endometriosis symptoms a person should look out for which can be associated with infertility:
- Dysmenorrhea. Painful period cramps for several days during the menstrual period may also be an endometriosis symptom. These cramps are accompanied with lower back and abdominal pain.
- Pain with intercourse. Pain during or after sex is a common phenomenon with endometriosis.
- Urinary and bowel problems: One may experience pain while urinating and may also have additional symptoms such as constipation during the menstrual period.
- Heavy or excessive periods: Experiencing occasional heavy periods or spotting between periods can be a symptom of endometriosis.
- Fatigue and Nausea: One may also experience chronic fatigue or lethargy during menstruation.
Symptoms of endometriosis may resemble symptoms of other pelvic conditions such as ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease. “The severity of the pain may differ from one individual to another. Some may have mild symptoms while some may experience moderate or severe symptoms. Many women experience these symptoms during their menstrual periods however it should be noted that those with endometriosis experience pain that is worse than usual,” adds Koregol.
Endometriosis is a condition that does not have a specified cure, however, there are certain alternative fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or fertility preservation to assist aspiring mothers to conceive in the future. It is advisable for women dealing with this condition, to plan their pregnancy accordingly keeping all the factors in mind, and have an open conversation with the fertility expert.
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