From excruciating periods to digestive challenges, endometriosis can make many aspects of your life challenging. It’s important to know that this chronic condition, often casually called “endo,” is treatable.
When you have endometriosis, the tissue that’s meant to line your uterus grows elsewhere in your body. This can cause a range of bothersome symptoms, the most common of which is pelvic pain, especially around your period or after sex. While infertility isn’t a given when you have endometriosis, or as common as related pain, difficulty becoming pregnant isn’t uncommon.
At Melissa Grier, MD Women’s Healthcare in Pasadena, California, Dr. Grier specializes in diagnosing and treating endometriosis, as well as minimizing its complications. Read on to learn more about endometriosis and infertility, including ways we can help.
An estimated 30-50% of people with endometriosis experience infertility, according to research. Studies have also shown that women diagnosed with infertility are 6-8 times more likely to have endometriosis than their fertile counterparts. In fact, some people learn that they have endometriosis while seeking medical support for fertility-related challenges.
No one knows exactly why endometriosis often accompanies infertility, but experts have several theories. One involves inflammation. Endometrial lesions cause inflammation, which releases chemicals called cytokines. Cytokines can interfere with fertilization by inhibiting egg and sperm cells.
Lesions caused by endometriosis can also cause scar tissue, which may make pregnancy difficult by blocking sperm from your fallopian tubes or uterus, where it would normally meet an egg. Endometrial tissue can also keep you from ovulating, meaning you won’t release any eggs.
And while it’s not exactly infertility, reduced sexual desire because of pain and fatigue from endometriosis can lead to fewer chances to achieve pregnancy.
Proper diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis are important, whether you wish to become pregnant or not. While some treatments aren’t an option while you’re attempting to get pregnant, minimizing harmful tissue and keeping inflammation down beforehand can improve your health and, potentially, your fertility.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with endo, Dr. Grier will create a personalized treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms, your needs, and your overall health. That plan may include pain medications or minimally invasive surgery to remove endometrial tissue. If it goes untreated for some time, endometriosis can worsen and may lead to the need for a hysterectomy. In other words, don’t delay seeking medical support.
Dr. Grier can also determine if or when you might be a good candidate for infertility treatments, such as medications to normalize your ovulation and menstruation cycle.
Learn more about endometriosis and infertility or get the care you need by calling our office or scheduling an appointment with Dr. Grier through our online booking feature.