What is endometriosis?

When the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) is found outside the uterus, this situation is termed ‘endometriosis’. Endometriosis may develop on the external of your uterus, ovaries, and tubes. This tissue irritates parts that it touches, causing pain and attachments on these organs.

Do I have endometriosis?

Women with endometriosis may have pelvic or abdominal pain, particularly while their periods or while sex. Endometriosis can make it difficult to become pregnant. In general 30% to 50% of infertile women have endometriosis. Sometimes, endometriosis can develop inside ovary and form a cyst (endometrioma) which can be seen on ultrasound, unlike other endometriotic tissue. Other way to know if you have endometriosis is through a surgical procedure called laparoscopy.

Does endometriosis cause infertility?

If you have endometriosis, it may be more difficult for you to become pregnant. Up to 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility.

At the time of surgery, your doctor may evaluate the amount, location, and depth of endometriosis and give you a “score” or “number”.This score determines whether your endometriosis is considered minimal (Stage 1), mild (Stage 2), moderate (Stage 3), or severe (Stage 4). This scoring system correlates with pregnancy success. Women with severe (Stage 4) endometriosis, which causes considerable scarring, blocked fallopian tubes, and damaged ovaries, experience the most difficulty becoming pregnant and require advanced fertility treatment.

How is endometriosis treated?

Endometriosis needs the female hormone estrogen to develop and grow. Birth control pills and other drugs that obstruct estrogen may be effective in improving pain symptoms. For patients who wish to become pregnant, medical therapy may be considered prior to attempts at conception.

If endometriosis is seen at the time of surgery, doctor will surgically destroy or remove the endometriosis and remove the scar tissue. This treatment will restore your normal anatomy and will allow your reproductive organs to function more usually. The combination of surgical and medical therapy may be beneficial in patients attempting to conceive through IVF.

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