1 de November, 2023

Endometriosis: What is it and How Does it Impact Your Fertility?

Endometriosis is a common problem among women of reproductive age (15 to 44 years old, according to the WHO), ranking third among the most frequent gynecological problems. This condition consists of the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.

The most frequent sites where this tissue tends to develop are:

  • The pelvic area
  • The ovaries
  • The fallopian tubes

It is important to emphasize that each case is different. While some women with complicated cases of endometriosis show no symptoms, others with mild endometriosis may experience very intense pain, which is characteristic of this condition.

Endometriosis: A Common Problem That Affects Women's Fertility

Endometriosis is a much more common problem than many people think. It affects 10 to 15% of women of childbearing age, from the onset of menstruation until after menopause, and in 30 to 40% of these cases, women have difficulty having a baby.

When does this disease occur?

Endometriosis is a problem exclusive to the reproductive age, as it is directly related to the growth of endometrial tissue stimulated by hormones during the menstrual cycle.

It begins with the first menstruation and is a progressive disease. Sometimes it is not detected during puberty until later in life.

Factors that increase your likelihood of having endometriosis

The risk factors related to endometriosis are as follows:

  • If your mother or sister suffers from this disease
  • If you have heavy menstrual periods
  • If you have short menstrual cycles
  • If you had a premature onset of menstrual periods (before the age of 10)

What are the most frequent symptoms?

The main symptom of endometriosis is intense pain during menstruation, which begins prior to the menstrual flow, increases until it becomes intense during heavy flow, and begins to decrease until it disappears with the cessation of menstruation. This pain is characterized by being progressive and disabling as age advances.

In addition to pelvic pain, other symptoms may occur, such as:

  • Back pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain during defecation

In extreme cases, there may also be pain when urinating.

It is very important to emphasize that each case is different, while some women with complicated cases of endometriosis show no symptoms, others with mild endometriosis may experience very intense pain, characteristic of this condition.

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis can be made with the help of a gynecologist by means of an interrogation aimed at identifying intense, progressive, and disabling pelvic pain. Other findings suggestive of endometriosis are the presence of a retroverted uterus, decreased uterine mobility, pain on mobilization of the cervix, and in the pelvic area.

The definitive diagnosis is made by laparoscopic surgery by directly visualizing the lesions and appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, and by analyzing such tissue by experts in certified laboratories.

What are the causes?

Today, there is no clear evidence regarding the precise causes of endometriosis, and there are theories attempting to explain the main reason for this condition.

One of these theories considers that retrograde menstrual flow is the cause. This occurs when menstrual blood flows backwards through the fallopian tubes until it reaches the pelvic cavity, instead of leaving the body through the cervix and vagina. This causes endometrial tissue to adhere and grow in places where it should not.

Another possible cause may be heredity. If any woman in your family has suffered from endometriosis, there is a higher probability that you may also suffer from it.

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What is the treatment?

The treatment consists of removing the endometrial tissue that is growing outside the uterus through laparoscopic surgery, with the subsequent use of hormonal medications on an ongoing basis to cause this tissue to atrophy, in addition to other medications.

However, it is very important to mention that this is not a definitive treatment and that currently there is none, since the tissue will appear again when the hormones that stimulate it make their appearance as each menstrual cycle.

What are the implications of endometriosis if I am not yet a mother?

Endometriosis is associated with infertility due to adhesions or tissue that forms in the pelvic cavity distorting the position of the uterus, altering the mobility and function of the tubes, and physically blocking ovulation.

In addition, the presence of endometriosis in the ovaries can damage their tissue and cause a low egg reserve and decreased ovulation quality.

Can I have a baby if I suffer from endometriosis?

The answer is yes.

To have a baby if you suffer from endometriosis, it is very important to have a diagnosis from a fertility specialist. This way, you will have a professional opinion and get personalized recommendations according to your case to become a mother as you imagine it.

At INGENES, we have more than 80 gynecologists and fertility specialists ready to answer any questions you may have, help you, and accompany you in every part of your process until you have your baby in your arms.

Tell us your story here and start your journey now!

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