National Endometriosis Awareness Month in March is a movement to increase knowledge about a leading cause of female infertility.
Look: Endometriosis affects one out of ten women. Endometriosis is one of the top three causes of female infertility.
Bottom Line: Infertility is a classic and devastating symptom of endometriosis.
Why is National Endometriosis Awareness Month important?
- 60 percent of women suffering from endometriosis have no symptoms other than the inability to conceive naturally.
- An estimated 6.5 million women in the U.S. – and 200 million globally – are affected by endometriosis
- The most common symptom of endometriosis is painful periods
- Endometriosis often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed for years because women and teenage girls believe painful periods are normal – this myth must be denounced
Avid Promoter of Endometriosis Awareness
New Hope Fertility Center is an avid promoter of Endometriosis Awareness with the specific goals of:
- Promoting a greater awareness and understanding of endometriosis as a real and debilitating disease
- Highlighting the consequences of living with endometriosis for the women suffering from it
- Creating a greater awareness and understanding of endometriosis among the medical profession, employment sector, and society in general
- Seeking a best practice and consistent care and treatment for women suffering from endometriosis
- Providing an opportunity for those whose live have been affected by endometriosis to play a key role in helping make a difference
Endometriosis affects a woman’s reproductive and surrounding organs when uterine lining tissue (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus and into other areas of her body.
- Abdominal cavity and pelvis
- Fallopian tubes and supporting ligaments
This errant tissue is generated by hormones creating endometrial cells. The disease causes adhesions (scar tissue), lesions, and blood-filled cysts. Endometrial cells appearing in abnormal locations cause endometriosis. When these errant endometrial cells grow and then sluff off, there is no escape outlet from the body, and internal bleeding leads to:
- Pelvic pain
- Formation of scar tissue (adhesions)
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Infertility is a classic and devastating symptom of endometriosis. Other pelvic pain symptoms:
- Pain in the lower abdomen and/or lower back that can radiate to the legs
- Pain before and during periods
- Mid-cycle pain as a woman’s monthly egg ruptures through the ovary (ovulation pain – Mittelschmerz)
- Lengthy and heavily bleeding periods, with or without clots
- Irregular periods with spotting before period begins
- Fatigue and/or depression
Infertility Caused by Endometriosis
Women with endometriosis are three to four times less likely to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. Endometriosis causes infertility in several different ways.
- Anatomical pelvic/tubal adhesions – tubal infertility
- Diminished ovarian reserve – reduced egg supply
- Toxic pelvic peritoneal factors – toxic pelvic environment
- Autoimmune implantation dysfunction – embryo implantation failure
Diagnosing and Treating Endometriosis
The suspicion of endometriosis usually begins based on a woman’s symptoms and is followed up with blood and ultrasound testing to detect ovarian cysts. Laparoscopy Surgery is the definitive method of accurately diagnosis endometriosis and determining its severity.
- Endometriosis is usually treated by prescribing anti-hormonal drugs with the purpose of blocking estrogen production and shrinking lesions
- When medications fail, lesions are can be removed through laparoscopic surgery
Anatomical Pelvic/Tubal Adhesions – Tubal Infertility
Adhesions (scar tissue) caused by endometriosis can interfere with fallopian tubal function – egg pickup.
Diminished Ovarian Reserve
Advanced stages of endometriosis are identified by large ovarian cysts – endometriomas – and severe pelvic adhesions. Endometriomas destroy normal ovarian tissue and lead to a considerable reduction in a woman’s ovarian reserve.
Toxic Pelvic Peritoneal Factors – Toxic Pelvic Environment
Some women may suffer from a toxic pelvic peritoneal environment because endometriosis causing widespread tissue damage. Inflammation may produce and release toxic substances which release white blood cells. White blood cells interfere with the fertilization of an egg as it passes through the fallopian tube by killing sperm traveling toward the egg.
Autoimmune Implantation Dysfunction
The immune system reacts to the symptoms of endometriosis – bleeding and tissue growth – often causing scar tissue to form. The immune system’s response to endometriosis is to negatively impact egg fertilization and embryo implantation in the uterine lining.
Celebrated Endometriosis Awareness Fertility Center
To schedule your initial consultation with one of the Fertility Specialists at New Hope Fertility Center, click the icon below – or – call 917.525.5496.