Endometriosis and pregnancy

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What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside the uterine cavity. It can adhere to the outside of the uterus, the ovaries, and the fallopian tubes. The ovaries are responsible for releasing an egg each month, and the fallopian tubes carry the egg from the ovaries to the uterus when any of these organs are damaged, blocked, or irritated by endometrium, it can become more difficult to get and stay pregnant. Your age, health, and the severity of your condition will also affect your chances of carrying a baby to term. One study found that while 15–20 per cent of fertile couples attempting to become pregnant will be successful each month, that number drops to 2­–10 per cent for couples affected by endometriosis.

Common symptoms of Endometriosis

The most common symptom of endometriosis is; pain, including pelvic pain and strong cramping. But infertility can unfortunately also be a symptom and side effect of endometriosis. An estimated one-third to one-half of women with endometriosis report difficulty getting pregnant.

If you’ve had difficulty getting pregnant due to endometriosis, you may wish to visit a fertility clinic. Specialists can determine the severity of your endometriosis and what could be contributing to your infertility.


Treatments for endometriosis-related infertility are?

Freezing your eggs

Endometriosis can affect your ovarian reserve, so some doctors may recommend preserving your eggs now in case you wish to become pregnant later. This option can be costly.

Superovulation and intrauterine insemination (SO-IUI)

This is an option for women who have normal fallopian tubes, mild endometriosis, and whose partner has good-quality sperm. A doctor will prescribe fertility medications which will help produce two to three mature eggs. A woman will regularly undergo ultrasounds to ensure the eggs are at their most mature. When the eggs are ready, a doctor will insert a partner’s collected sperm.


In vitro fertilization (IVF)

This treatment involves extracting an egg from you and sperm from your partner. The egg is then fertilized outside the body and implanted into the uterus. The success rates of IVF are 50 per cent for women who don’t have endometriosis. But many women with endometriosis have successfully gotten pregnant thanks to IVF treatments. IVF is often recommended for women with moderate to severe endometriosis, or for women whose bodies haven’t responded to other treatments.

Currently, there’s no evidence that taking medicines can improve a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. But doctors may prescribe medications, such as progestins, as a means to increase the number of pregnancy hormones in a woman’s body. It’s also important to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible when you have endometriosis and are trying to get pregnant. This can reduce inflammation in your body and prepare it to help your baby grow and thrive throughout a healthy pregnancy.

Getting pregnant and having a healthy baby are possible and common with endometriosis. Having endometriosis may make it more difficult for you to conceive than women without this condition. It may also increase your risk for serious pregnancy complications. Pregnant women with the condition are considered high risk. You should expect to have more frequent and careful monitoring throughout your pregnancies so that your doctor can quickly identify any complications if they do arise.

References

  1. Healthline. Endometriosis during pregnancy. Accessed on 24th September 2018
  2. Medicinenet. Endometriosis. Accessed on 24th September 2018
  3. Webmd. Endometriosis overview. Accessed on 24th September 2018
  4. John Hopkins. Endometriosis. Accessed on 24th September 2018
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