When tissue similar to the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus 一 often on the ovaries or fallopian tubes 一 it can cause intense pain especially during your period. This condition, endometriosis, affects 6.5 million women in the United States.
If you're struggling with the challenges of endometriosis and dreaming of starting a family, you may wonder how this condition affects your fertility.
As a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Essam Taymour knows how complex the relationship between endometriosis and fertility can be. The short answer is yes, you can get pregnant if you have endometriosis. However, depending on where your endometriosis lesions are located, it can have different effects on your fertility.
If you’re concerned about the impact of endometriosis on your ability to conceive, Dr. Taymour encourages you to visit Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group in Long Beach, California. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about endometriosis and fertility.
Potential challenges of endometriosis
Endometriosis can pose challenges to your fertility by causing the formation of adhesions and scar tissue in the pelvic region. This could potentially impact the function of your reproductive organs. For example, if scar tissue blocks your fallopian tubes 一 this is where conception occurs 一 it could potentially block the sperm from reaching your eggs.
Inflammation associated with endometriosis might also affect the quality of eggs and embryos. According to research published in the Journal of Ovarian Research, the inflammatory nature of endometriosis can lead to a decreased number of eggs and eggs that are atretic (not thriving).
Between the potential physical blockers of the adhesions and the low egg quality associated with high inflammation, it’s easy to see how endometriosis can cause problems.
It’s not a barrier for everyone
Although endometriosis can make it more difficult to conceive, many women with endometriosis do get pregnant. In any given month, a couple without endometriosis has a 15%-20% chance of conceiving. If you have endometriosis, your chance dips to 2%-10%. Remember, these statistics can vary depending on where your lesions are located.
Getting help for endometriosis
To increase your chances of pregnancy, consider:
If you're ready to start a family and know that you have endometriosis, talk to Dr. Taymour. He may offer guidance on optimizing your chances of conception and managing endometriosis-related symptoms during pregnancy.
You may also find that endometriosis treatments prior to trying to conceive can be your best bet. In addition to medication, Dr. Taymour may recommend minimally invasive surgery to remove the excess tissue while protecting the surrounding organs. Laparoscopic surgery to remove the lesions almost doubles your ability to conceive.
For those facing difficulties, fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be explored. Our Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group team can discuss personalized options based on your specific situation.
As you navigate the journey to parenthood while battling endometriosis, it’s important to take care of your mental health. Prioritize self-care practices and consider joining support groups for women with endometriosis. You may find that talking about your potential struggles helps reduce some of the feelings of stress and anxiety.
Endometriosis doesn’t have to end your dreams of a family, but you may need a little help overcoming the challenges. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Taymour to put an endometriosis treatment plan into action. To get started, request an appointment online today or call us at 562-595-5331.