Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue in your uterus grows where it doesn’t belong. For example, it may grow on the outside of your uterus or on your fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, rectum, intestines, or the lining of your pelvis.
Although endometriosis can cause a range of symptoms, including pain or bleeding, it can also lead to infertility. This may be a concern to you if you’re thinking of having a baby.
Your care providers here at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, would like to share the following information with you about endometriosis and its possible impact on your fertility.
A common condition
Endometriosis strikes many women and may affect more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44. Although women of any age can develop endometriosis, women in their 30s and 40s have it most often.
Some of the signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
- Very painful menstrual cramps
- Chronic pelvic pain, especially during your menstrual period
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain while urinating
- Painful bowel movements
- Blood in your urine or stools
- Gastrointestinal difficulties, such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation, especially during your period
- Infertility (the inability to get pregnant or have a healthy pregnancy)
How endometriosis affects fertility
Endometriosis and infertility are often linked. Unfortunately, approximately 40% of women with endometriosis experience some level of infertility.
Women with endometriosis may have trouble having a baby because the growth of uterine tissue where it doesn’t belong interferes with conception or a healthy pregnancy.
For example, endometrial tissue may block your fallopian tubes, which are the tubes the eggs travel through on the way from your ovaries to your uterus.
Endometriosis can also lead to inflammation, scarring, and the development of adhesions, which are a type of tissue that can cause your organs to stick together. In addition, inflammation that occurs with endometriosis may damage your eggs or your partner’s sperm.
Even if you do become pregnant, endometriosis can increase your chances of experiencing serious pregnancy complications, such as ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg stays in your fallopian tube instead of implanting in your uterus.
Treating endometriosis and infertility
If you have endometriosis and are having trouble getting pregnant, treatment can help. Although the treatment plans for endometriosis-related fertility vary based on several factors, options may include:
- Minimally invasive surgery to remove endometrial adhesions
- Medications that reduce inflammation
- Medications that support ovulation
- Assisted reproductive techniques such as in-vitro fertilization
Don’t wait any longer
Seeking medical care for endometriosis as soon as possible could alleviate your symptoms and make it possible for you to have a baby.
At Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, we provide a full range of endometriosis diagnosis and treatment to women in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and the greater New York City area. To consult with one of our specialists, call our office or use our online scheduling tool to make an appointment.