March is the endometriosis awareness month and you have probably been hearing about it a lot. Which is great – not a long time ago it wasn’t something people would openly talk about. Although it is improving, there is still a large number of women hesitant to speak up or to get tested, taking endometriosis symptoms as something normal. These symptoms range from heavy, painful periods to ongoing pelvic pain.
Most often women get tested only when they face the biggest of complications caused by endometriosis: fertility problems. In this article we will aim to answer common questions about endometriosis, fertility and pregnancy.
Can you get pregnant with endometriosis?
The easy answer is most likely yes. However, having endometriosis can make the process more difficult and complicated than it would normally. In some cases, people struggle to conceive naturally. So, to summarise while it is very possible to get pregnant with endometriosis, it is likely to take a longer time and may need medical intervention.
Why endometriosis causes infertility?
Having endometriosis means that tissue that’s meant to line your womb begins growing elsewhere in your pelvis, for example ovaries or lower bowel. Although it is not yet entirely clear why in some cases endometriosis causes infertility, it is known that even a mild case of it will put a strain of your ability to conceive.
The most popular explanation why endometriosis causes infertility is that the endometrial tissues grow around your ovaries and fallopian tubes. This is what causes the damage and therefore interferes with how these organs work.
Can infertility caused by endometriosis be treated?
There is no one-for-all treatment to deal with infertility caused by endometriosis. However, there are several options to be tried and your GP would refer you to a fertility specialist that would talk these options through. Different people benefit from different solutions and it is based on factors such as severity of endometriosis, age and other factors potentially affecting fertility. The doctor would recommend the best treatment, outline risks and benefits and help you choose the best option.
Will endometriosis affect my pregnancy?
In most cases endometriosis has no negative effects on pregnancy. However, some studies have discovered that the rates of certain pregnancy and birth-related problems are higher if the mother has endometriosis. It can additionally include higher risk of miscarriage or complications on later stages of pregnancy. Although this is a worrying discovery, keep in mind that the vast majority of women don’t have any negative effects on their pregnancy due to endometriosis.
On the positive note, some people report that symptoms of endometriosis get better during pregnancy. Unfortunately, if they disappear completely during pregnancy, they are very likely to come back after. If you have endometriosis, it’s wise to talk to your doctor if you plan on getting pregnant. And if any concerns arise during pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will be happy to help.
Despite the world beginning to recognize endometriosis as a serious issue and a topic we need to talk about, it does not make the symptoms easier. There is a vast selection of ways to alleviate endometriosis pain, including our Ova+ unit, but living with it can be a huge burden. Fertility problems that often accompany endometriosis can only add up to distress. The key is not to suffer alone – talk to your doctor to see what options are out there for you. Or reach out to communities of people who also deal with endometriosis. Endometriosis UK runs support groups, as well as an online forum and helpline.