March is an “Endometriosis Awareness Month”, and so today, our discussion is saved to understand – how to get pregnant when you have endometriosis and if IVF is a good treatment alternative or not.
When the tissues lining the uterus grow outside of the uterus, then endometriosis occurs. Endometriosis affects 10-15% of females of reproductive age. The most common symptoms women with endometriosis experience are cramps, heavy bleeding, pain with sex, pain in bowel movements, pelvic pain and bleeding between periods.
Endometriosis and Fertility Problems
It’s a known fact that endometriosis can cause fertility problems in women suffering from this ailment. In fact, a study from Yale noted that nearly 30 to 50% of women with endometriosis battle with infertility.
Having said that, even women who have been affected mildly by endometriosis have a 48% less chance of getting pregnant than women who do not have endometriosis.
Endometriosis doesn’t really show symptoms in up to 25% of cases, and that’s why many spouses who cannot conceive may not recognise they have endometriosis until they consult a fertility specialist.
How Does Endometriosis Affect Pregnancy?
Endometriosis-related scar tissue or damage to the fallopian tubes or ovaries can obstruct fertilisation or implantation. Besides that, since endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, it can lead to inflammation in the uterus itself, increasing the risk of miscarriage when a fertilised egg is implanted. It’s also possible that endometriosis-related dysfunctional uterine contractions set the stage for miscarriages.
According to one study, women with endometriosis have nearly twice the risk of miscarriage as women who do not have the condition. Surprisingly, women with mild endometriosis and superficial lesions had a higher miscarriage rate than those with more severe endometriosis.
Causes of Infertility in Women with Endometriosis
The actual reason for infertility in women with endometriosis may differ on a case to case basis. However, in some cases, multiple causes are there, and some of the common ones are as below:
Ovarian Cysts – Endometriosis can extend to ovaries and develop cysts known as endometriomas, which are different from other ovarian cysts. Endometriomas can lead to infertility by obstructing the escape of an egg from the follicle or passage of the egg into the fallopian tube.
Egg quality – Several studies have recorded that endometriosis impacts the quality of eggs in the ovary.
Adhesions – Caused by overgrowth of tissues, adhesions are scars that develop between tissues in the body and lead them to stick together. Adhesions stop an egg from coming from the fallopian tube to the uterus.
Pain during sex: Pain during sex is a classic symptom of endometriosis, and it can reduce your likelihood of getting pregnant by limiting your capacity to have intercourse. The main implication is that endometriosis symptoms are frequently controlled with hormonal birth control, which prevents ovulation.
Can a Woman Diagnosed with Endometriosis Try Getting Pregnant Naturally?
- If you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis, you may be questioning if it’s good to try to conceive on your own until getting help – the answer is yes, you should.
- Of course, you should consult with a doctor initially, but having endometriosis does not preclude you from becoming pregnant. Many women do, including some with the advanced condition.
- Most experts recommend that you try to conceive naturally for six months in such cases rather than the 12 months recommended for other women. If you cannot become pregnant within that period, you should consult a fertility doctor.
- Some women, especially those who are older, will go directly to a specialist. Natural fertility declines after the age of 35. For some, those six months may be better spent under the sustenance of a specialist.
What’s Right – Surgery to Treat Endometriosis Before IVF or Directly Go for IVF?
Those women who are unable to conceive and have endometriosis struggle to decide whether it is suitable to have surgery to treat endometriosis before going for IVF, or it makes more sense to choose IVF directly? The answer to that is totally dependent on the individual and severity of the condition.
Even though the decision depends on a case-to-case basis, your doctor may ask you to undergo a laparoscopy to know the best way to treat the endometriosis. This denotes that damage or abnormalities can often be excised while assessing the severity of endometriosis.
According to research, the amount of endometriosis seen during laparoscopy is predictive of future fertility. Another additional benefit of laparoscopy is that for women with endometriosis symptoms, the surgical excision helps alleviate pain and discomfort.
Treatments that Help Get Pregnant with Endometriosis:
For the reason that endometriosis is not curable, the treatment depends on whether the patient wants to reduce the pain or improve fertility. For women with endometriosis trying to get pregnant, some medication and surgery may help limit the condition and get pregnant. You can consider these treatment options for getting pregnant with endometriosis:
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – IUI is performed by injecting millions of sperm into the woman’s uterus. IUI is generally done if the woman is young and have mild endometriosis and the partner has functioning sperm.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – IVF is the most popular way to increase the likelihood of pregnancy in women with endometriosis. However, the success of IVF is directly proportional to a woman’s age and egg retrieval time. When the endometriomas is too large to be removed surgically to achieve pregnancy through IVF, women with moderate – to – severe endometriosis may need to undergo surgery to remove the extra endometrial growth.
Endometriosis is a very challenging disorder that may or may not improve with proper medications and surgery. However, it is important to stay positive and seek the right guidance to agree upon an outcome that is best for you and your family.
No doubt endometriosis is a challenging condition, but with a positive mind-set and accurate guidance, women having endometriosis can carry a full-term pregnancy. If you or anyone you know suffers from endometriosis and is facing trouble getting pregnant, then book your appointment at Banker IVF straight away.