Before we can talk about how endometriosis and infertility are linked, we should define them. Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines your uterus grows outside your uterus. Infertility is generally defined as not becoming pregnant after having unprotected sex for a year.
Dr. Marsha Bornt and her staff at Apple Hill Gynecology offer care for both endometriosis and for fertility issues. All the providers at Apple Hill Gynecology understand the emotional and psychological aspects of infertility as well as the many ways endometriosis can impact your life. In this post, we talk about how the two conditions are associated.
When you have endometriosis, your symptoms may range from severe to nonexistent. Some women don’t know they have endometriosis until they try to become pregnant.
Each month, during your menstrual cycle, your endometrium, or the lining of your uterus, thickens, then bleeds away during your period. If that tissue is outside your uterus, it can’t bleed away.
The endometrial tissue that grows where it isn’t supposed to be can cause scarring. It may also cause adhesions, which are areas of stickiness. Adhesions can make your organs stick together. Another issue is that the endometrial tissue can become inflamed, and that inflammation can damage your eggs.
Infertility and endometriosis
The adhesions, scar tissue, and inflammation caused by endometriosis can all potentially make it difficult for you to get pregnant. You may have scar tissue that blocks your Fallopian tubes or that changes your uterus in such a way that a fertilized egg can’t properly implant.
The inflammation can both damage your eggs, make it difficult for the egg to pass through your Fallopian tube, and make it more difficult for the egg to become fertilized. Endometriosis can also make having sex painful.
One other issue is that some of the treatments for infertility can make your endometriosis symptoms worse, which means you may have more pain when you’re trying to conceive.
Being diagnosed with endometriosis doesn’t automatically mean you’ll struggle to become pregnant, and even if you do, some treatments may help. Intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization are both assistive reproductive technologies that are often used to help women with endometriosis who are dealing with infertility.
In some cases, various surgical procedures to remove the problematic endometrial tissue can help improve fertility. The most important aspect of getting appropriate treatment is to see a qualified doctor who understands your goals and your condition.
If you suspect you may have endometriosis, or you’re having problems getting pregnant, schedule an appointment at Apple Hill Gynecology.