Endometriosis is an incredibly common disease – it is estimated to impact 1 in10 women of reproductive age. But with how common endometriosis is, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding what it is and how it can affect a woman’s everyday life. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that makes up your uterine lining (endometrium) begins to migrate to places it shouldn’t be – mainly outside of the uterus. This can have a negative impact on a woman’s fertility and quality of life, and despite being so common, it often goes undiagnosed. But what causes endometriosis? And how can it impact your health? The fertility experts of The Center for Reproductive Medicine in Mobile, Alabama are here to discuss endometriosis and its impact it has on the everyday lives of women dealing with the disease.
It Can Cause Infertility
It’s estimated that between 30% and 40% of women with endometriosis will have trouble achieving a pregnancy. Endometrial tissue that grows outside the uterus can be located in the fallopian tubes, making it difficult for a man’s sperm to connect with a woman’s egg, while lesions on the ovaries can keep an egg from escaping the ovaries to be fertilized. In some cases, there is little or no scarring in the fallopian tubes or ovaries – but endometriosis can make conception difficult. While a healthy woman under 35 years old has around a 20% chance of conceiving each month, endometriosis can cause those chances to drop as low as 10% each month.
The Symptoms Can Be Debilitating
While some discomfort during parts of your menstrual cycle is perfectly normal, women with endometriosis often experience pain that is more severe and can even be debilitating, interfering with their day to day activities. Sometimes, women with endometriosis will see their symptoms get worse when they’re on their period, while others will experience symptoms at other times during their cycle or not show any symptoms at all.
Women with endometriosis can experience incredibly painful periods (different from regular menstrual cramps), abdominal pain, severe bloating, frequent bathroom breaks, very heavy periods, and even pain when breathing. Many women with endometriosis often suffer with their symptoms in silence, as few get diagnosed and treated. If you have experienced the symptoms of endometriosis, contact the fertility specialists at The Center for Reproductive Medicine today to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists.
It Is Treatable
While there is no cure for endometriosis, it is treatable. Some common treatment options available to women with mild endometriosis include over the counter pain medication for endometriosis related pain, as well as hormone therapy (birth control pills, Gn-RH agonists and antagonists, progestin, and aromatase) to slow endometrial tissue growth. For women with severe endometriosis, laparoscopic surgery is often used to remove endometrial lesions, with a hysterectomy being performed in severe cases to relieve symptoms.
There Is No Known Cause
Currently, doctors do not know what causes endometriosis, but there are certain factors that increase the likelihood that you will develop the disease. Genetic factors often play a role, with women who have a close female family member (mother, sister, aunt) with the disease being more likely to develop it. Other factors, such as getting your period at an early age and short menstrual cycles can also put you at greater risk of developing endometriosis.
For women concerned about the impact of endometriosis on their fertility, it is important to catch and treat it early on. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned each month during your period, we encourage you to contact the fertility experts of The Center for Reproductive Medicine at 251-438-4200 or request an appointment to learn more about your fertility.