If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for at least six months and it hasn’t happened yet, it may be time to try to figure out what might be preventing the pregnancy. There are several possible causes, but one of the most common is endometriosis. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that endometriosis can be found in up to 50% of infertile women, while those who have endometriosis suffer from infertility in 30%-50% of cases.
The expert team at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta, with convenient locations in Marietta and Woodstock, Georgia, is ready to help you address the causes and symptoms of endometriosis to deal with infertility head-on. Here’s a look at how endometriosis affects fertility and what can be done about it.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when cells that are supposed to be inside the uterus escape and grow outside the uterus. These patches of tissue commonly grow on a woman’s ovaries, on the outer wall of the uterus, on the fallopian tubes, and anywhere in the abdominal cavity.
Even though this tissue is outside the uterus, it behaves as if it were still inside the uterus; it thickens, sheds, and bleeds each month as the woman has her period. Since the tissue is in the abdominal cavity, there’s nowhere for the cells and blood to go. They end up forming cysts and scar tissue that can be very painful. Endometriosis can cause scarring in the pelvis that blocks the Fallopian tubes.
How does endometriosis affect fertility?
If a woman has endometriosis, it can affect her fertility in several ways. The inflammation and irritation it causes can affect the transport of the egg, and scarring and tissue can also block the ovaries or fallopian tubes, preventing the eggs from reaching the uterus. Endometriosis can also cause pelvic organs to stick together, which decreases their function and the chance of pregnancy.
The inflammation can also produce unfriendly molecules called cytokines that have a paralyzing effect on both the sperm and the eggs, which also prevents pregnancy.
Help for infertility related to endometriosis
If your doctor tells you that you have endometriosis that’s preventing you from becoming pregnant, you do have some options. In vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination bring the egg and sperm together with some help, while some fertility medications can also help overcome the endometriosis. Laparoscopic surgery to remove some of the endometrial tissue can also be effective.
The team at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta can help you determine the best course of action to overcome your endometriosis and begin your journey to fertility. Call the office nearest you today to set up a consultation or request your appointment online.