About 5 million American women suffer from endometriosis, according to statistics from the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While, only 8% of women within childbearing age (15-44) suffer from endometriosis, it is important to know the symptoms of endometriosis and understand the risks endometriosis can play on fertility, especially if you have been unsuccessful at becoming pregnant.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder where the uterine lining (endometrium) begins to grow outside of the uterus and onto the bowel, ovaries, or tissue lining your pelvis. It is very uncommon for endometrial tissue to move beyond the pelvic area. Each month during your menstrual cycle, endometrial tissue thickens, breaks apart, and bleeds, but because the tissue is outside the uterus, there is no way for the tissue to exit the body. Overtime, tissue surrounded by endometrium can become aggravated and result in painful scar tissue or adhesions.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Many women with endometriosis experience pain during their period, however, sometimes there are no outward symptoms of endometriosis, at all. Some typical warning signs of endometriosis include:
- Pain during urination or bowel movements, especially during your period.
- Pain during intercourse. This is a very common symptom, and can be experienced both during and after sex.
- Heavy bleeding. Some women may occasionally have very heavy periods or bleeding between periods.
- Painful periods. It’s not uncommon to experience cramping in your back and lower abdomen a few days before and a few days after the onset of menstruation.
- Infertility. Endometriosis may cause scaring which can lead to infertility. Endometriosis is sometimes first diagnosed once a women seeks treatment for infertility.
- Fatigue, bloating, nausea, diarrhea or constipation during your period can also be a sign of endometriosis.
Endometriosis Treatment in Connecticut
There is no cure for endometrioses, however, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce symptoms and decrease potential scarring. In cases where infertility may be caused by endometriosis, Dr. Levi can perform a short endometrial biopsy to determine that there are no factors that might prevent embryo implantation. At that point, medication or surgery may be recommended. Treatment options involve:
- Medication. If you are not hoping to become pregnant, birth control can help ease the cycle of endometriosis by reducing how often you have a period. There are also medicinal options for women who desire to become pregnant. These options work best for women who do not experience extreme pain or endometriosis symptoms.
- Surgery. In more severe situations, when medication is not enough or there are fertility problems, Dr. Levi can perform a minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery to correct any issues like scar tissue, adhesions, or abnormalities on the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
Understanding endometriosis can help protect your physical comfort and reproductive health. If you have been trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant, testing for endometriosis may help determine your next course of action. Our Connecticut fertility center has helped many patients experience the joy of pregnancy through in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, and traditional and gestational surrogacy. To schedule an appointment with reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Andrew Levi, at our Fairfield, Norwalk, or Trumbull locations, please, call us at 855-901-BABY.