Endometriosis: symptoms, causes, and probability of pregnancy
Today, we want to focus on the endometriosis. This disease, also called “invisible disease” by the World Health Organization (WHO) , affects approximately 10% (around 190 million) of women and girls in their reproductive age worldwide.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disease characterised by tissue similar to the endometrium growing outside of the uterus. This leads to a chronic inflammation that can result in the formation of scar tissue in the pelvis. Although this condition can manifest in different types of lesions and areas beyond the pelvis, it’s not visible to the naked eye. Despite a normal external appearance, women who have it experience excruciating and persistent pain.
Endometriosis is classified into four stages, ranging from mild to severe (Stage I, II, III, and IV).
Symptoms and diagnosis
Common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Dysmenorrhea: Pain in the lower abdomen or back (pelvic pain) due to menstruation
- Chronic pelvic pain (pain in the ovaries, uterine contractions)
- Chronic fatigue and menstrual pain that interfere with daily activities
- Dyspareunia: Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Painful urination
- Intestinal disorders (especially during menstruation)
- Difficulty in getting pregnant
Detection of endometriosis varies in each case and can be based on persistent symptoms or identified during a medical examination such as pelvic exam, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or laparoscopy.
How is Endometriosis detected? Tests and treatments
The detection varies for each case and person. Consistent abnormal symptoms usually lead to a proper diagnosis, so it’s important to consult a gyneacologist if you experience any of them.
Tests to detect an endometriosis also depend on each patient. However, if there are cysts, scars, or growing tissue outside the uterus, the following exams are usually conducted:
- Pelvic exam
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Treatments for Endometriosis
Although there’s no cure for the endometriosis, there are treatments available to relieve the pain and improve the quality of life.
Endometriosis can be treated medically or surgically. Medical treatments may include hormonal contraceptives, agonists and antagonists of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH), treatments with progestins, and aromatase inhibitors:
- Hormonal contraceptives: Birth control pills, patches, vaginal rings, hormonal IUDs that release progestin hormones.
- Agonists and antagonists of Gn-RH.
- Treatment with progestins.
- Aromatase inhibitors.
In terms of fertility, women with endometriosis are more likely to experience infertility or have difficulties getting pregnant. However, there are solutions for infertility due to endometriosis.
In most cases, a laparoscopy will be recommended to remove growths, eliminate any lesions, and improve the fertility of women with mild or minimal endometriosis. In particular cases, surgery can increase their chances of getting pregnant.
If pregnancy isn’t achieved through this laparoscopy method, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can be an effective option to become pregnant. The IVF protocol is tailored to each patient’s individual needs, considering factors such as pain and ovarian reserve.
Vida Fertility Institute
At Vida Fertility Institute, we understand the challenges that endometriosis can bring on your journey to becoming parents. Our team of fertility specialists is dedicated to providing personalised solutions.
Together, we will face these obstacles and build a successful path to parenthood. If you’re seeking answers and support, you’ve come to the right place. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and let us be a part of your fertility journey and help you make your deepest dream come true!