Endometriosis is a medical condition where endometrial tissue (the lining of the uterus) is found growing in other areas of the pelvis. Approximately 40% of infertile women experience some stage of endometriosis, making this a common cause of infertility. For some people, endometriosis can cause pelvic pain, especially during menstruation and can cause severe discomfort with sexual intercourse. Pelvic pain and infertility are often the primary indications for endometriosis, with an ultimate diagnosis determined during a laparoscopy.
Impact on Fertility
Endometriosis impacts fertility in several ways, caused by the body’s inflammatory response incited by the endometriosis lesion. White blood cells, the warriors in the body’s defense system, try to eradicate the abnormally located endometrial tissue and release substances into the pelvic cavity which are toxic to sperm, eggs, and embryos. In addition, as the body tries to heal the inflamed areas it may inadvertently scar the fallopian tubes and/or ovaries causing them to adhere to other pelvic structures, and thereby interfere with the ability of the egg to reach the fallopian tube where fertilization can take place.
Treatment often involves minimally invasive surgery but other fertility treatments can improve the chance for successful pregnancy without the need for surgery, depending on the status of the fallopian tubes and accessibility of the ovaries. These non-surgical treatments include injectable medications with IUI or IVF.
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