What exactly is endometriosis, why does it seem like at least 1 in every 10 women in your circle has it and how does it affect a woman's reproductive ability?
These questions haunt almost everyone who is trying to conceive naturally and the superfluous information available on the internet might confuse the layman.
When we talk about endometriosis, we are mostly referring to a condition where cells mimicking the uterine lining grow onto other parts and organs inside the body and following the menstrual period pattern, these cells break down like the uterine lining. The unnatural bleeding causes the appearance of lesions, scarring and inflammation on different tissues which leads to severe cramping and excruciating pain.
How to tell if it's Endometriosis?
While using guesswork to self diagnose is a bad idea, generally Endometriosis is characterized by symptoms such as lower abdominal, or pelvic pain right before your menstrual period and also during intercourse. Sometimes painful bladder and bowel movements are also indicative of the condition and definitely warrant an appointment with your Ob/Gyn.
Can Endometriosis be cured?
The brutally honest answer to that is: No. Can it be treated though? Yes! The symptoms of Endometriosis can very effectively be managed through either of the following:
Pain Medication e.g. Ibuprofen
Hormone Therapy - oral contraceptive pills, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) medicines, Progestin therapy (meant to halt menstrual periods and thereby the instance of endometrial implants), Aromatase inhibitors (estrogen reducing medication)
Surgery - To relieve pain symptoms or aid conception by preserving the uterus and ovaries through removal of endometrial implants
How does Endometriosis affect fertility?
Apart from being awfully painful, Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility in women across the globe! Statistically speaking, it's the reason behind infertility between 20% to 40% of all infertile women. It impairs reproductive ability by either distorting reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes through scarring and lesions, thereby rendering them ineffective to carry eggs successfully.
Are you 1 in 10?
If you're affected by Endometriosis it might seem challenging to conceive however, discuss the options with your Ob/Gyn and depending on your condition and a range of other factors, they should be able to suggest an option most suitable to you, such as IVF.
It's vital to not feel overwhelmed or helpless by your condition and discuss your plans and options at length with your doctor and also do ample research around the topic yourself to make the most well-informed decision about starting a family.