Endometriosis and Infertility
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the uterine lining (endometrium) is present in areas outside of the uterus, such as the ovaries, peritoneal cavity and fallopian tubes. In other words, it is uterine-like tissue that is growing outside the uterus causing pain and or infertility. Its cause is unknown. There are many theories and people who will tell you they know what causes it, but every answer has contradictions. It could be genetics. It could be retrograde menses. It could be congenital. It could be all of the above or none of the above. We simply don’t know.
Endometriosis is a common cause of infertility in women. The generally accepted percentage of women with Endometriosis is 5% to 15%. However, many women have Endometriosis and don’t have the symptoms (usually pain) or the pressing need to be diagnosed (usually infertility). Additionally, Endometriosis can be diagnosed as very mild to severe. There are likely many more people with very mild Endometriosis, which does not cause infertility.
The only way to diagnose Endometriosis with complete accuracy is to see it. The only way to see it is through surgery (laparoscopy). There are symptoms and tests that can give a physician clues, but Endometriosis is a very elusive disease. The adage, seeing is believing, is the safest and most effective route to pursue diagnosis and ultimately treatment.