Every woman has endometrial tissue lining the inside of her uterus. When endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, the condition is called endometriosis. With endometriosis, endometrial tissue resides abnormally on the outside of the uterus, on the ovaries, on the fallopian tubes, or on other structures in the abdomen.
The condition, though widely undiagnosed, is thought to affect more than 5 million women and teenage girls. The total number of women with endometriosis is unknown, as is the exact cause.
Endometriosis and Infertility
Palm Beach Fertility Center’s founder Dr. Mark Denker says endometriosis can make it more difficult to conceive. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), 30 to 50 percent of endometriosis patients experience infertility.
It was previously thought that minor endometriosis could prevent conception, but fertility specialists have recently found that mild endometriosis doesn’t notably affect fertility as long as the woman is otherwise healthy. Dr. Mark Denker further explains that moderate to severe endometriosis should be treated before a patient begins fertility treatment, especially if the patient has endometrial cysts in her ovaries, also known as Endometriomas.
Common Endometriosis Symptoms
Many women with endometriosis experience continuous or sporadic lower back pain, or sharp stabbing pain in the pelvis. Its symptoms generally imitate disorders like PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Other symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Painful intercourse
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Pelvic pain
- Bowel problems
When a woman menstruates, the irregularly placed endometrial tissue expands, which can cause discomfort and inflammation; over time, it can result in scar tissue. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact a fertility specialist for a thorough exam.
Treating Endometriosis for Enhanced Fertility
Endometriosis treatment varies largely for each individual case. When endometriosis is present on the ovaries, fertility doctors can sometimes view the abnormal tissue growth with an ultrasound. Endometrial tissue in other places can only be viewed with a surgical procedure, called laparoscopy. Dr. Mark Denker specializes in the advanced da Vinci Robotic Surgical System as well as the traditional CO2 laser laparoscopy method to diagnose and treat endometriosis.
Endometriosis doesn’t have a cure, but surgical methods can reduce and eradicate scar tissue to promote conception during a six to 12-month window. Dr. Mark Denker recommends that couples start fertility treatment immediately after their endometriosis surgery.
The Palm Beach Fertility Center team is ready to support you on your road to conception.