The inner lining of the uterus is known as the endometrium. During a woman’s menstrual period, this lining is shed through the vagina, in what is commonly known as a period. Endometriosis occurs when there are fragments of the endometrium that are produced in various other places besides the inner lining of the uterus. These fragments may occur on the ovaries, the intestine, the vagina, fallopian tubes or the abdomen.
While mild forms of endometriosis may not require surgical treatment, the condition can make it difficult for a woman to become pregnant. Endometriosis affects close to five million women in America, approximately 6-7% of all females, 30-40% of whom are infertile.
What Causes Endometriosis?
There is no known cause of endometriosis. Although research is ongoing, experts have not identified the exact cause. Some doctors believe that fragments of the endometrium may travel back through the fallopian tubes and pass through the pelvic cavity, lodging on surfaces within the reproductive organs.
When a woman undergoes menstruation, the tissue that has relocated bleeds just like it would in the endometrium. This may cause the surrounding tissues to become inflamed and over time, increasing the likelihood of scar tissue development and cyst formation.
What Are The Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Symptoms of endometriosis may vary depending on the severity of the condition. In some cases, there may be no signs or symptoms of the disease. When symptoms are present, they may include:
- Painful menstruation, severe cramping
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain during bowel movements
- Painful menstrual cramps, often severe and crippling at times
- Difficulty getting pregnant
What Treatment is Effective for Endometriosis?
While there is no known cure for endometriosis, available treatments with a gynecologist Denver trusts can greatly reduce painful symptoms and further tissue growth. Treatment may consist of birth control pills, progestin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce symptoms. Medications will reduce pain, but do not increase fertility rates.
When fertility is an issue, surgery may be required to increase the pregnancy rate and eliminate symptoms. Infertility treatment options may be required for both mild and severe cases of endometriosis. Infertility treatment that is favorable for these types of cases include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and artificial insemination. If pain is not a concern and fertility is, these procedures may be the most effective in increasing the chances of a woman becoming pregnant with endometriosis.
If you experience any of the above-listed symptoms, it is important to see your gynecologist to identify the problem. If you are trying to conceive and have been unsuccessful, accompanied with painful periods and other symptoms listed above, you should see a fertility specialist for evaluation.
Rocky Mountain Fertility Center has been helping those suffering from endometriosis for over two decades. Dr. Deborah Smith was recently voted the Top Fertility Doctor in Colorado. She offers comprehensive nonoperative and minimally invasive treatment options for endometriosis.
Currently, Dr. Smith is offering complimentary 15 minute phone consultations to discuss your fertility issues and treatment options available. Call today to schedule yours at (303) 999-3877.