Endometriosis and Pregnancy; All you need to know
A large number of people around the world suffer from the medical condition endometriosis.
As a Senior Consultant OB/GYN at Fortis Hospital on Richmond Road, Bangalore, Dr. Aruna Muralidhar MD, MRCOG, FRCOG, FICM discusses how endometriosis can affect fertility and what you can do to improve your chances of successfully conceiving.
Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects many women around the world. It occurs when the endometrium, which is the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside the uterus and into other organs in the pelvic area. This condition can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and infertility. If you have endometriosis and are hoping to become pregnant, it’s important to understand how this condition can affect your fertility and what steps you can take to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.
Impact of Endometriosis on Fertility
Endometriosis can have a significant impact on fertility. Research suggests that up to 50% of women with endometriosis may have difficulty conceiving, compared to only about 10% of women without the condition. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but it is believed that the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue may interfere with ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.
In addition, endometriosis can also cause inflammation and scarring in the pelvic area, which can make fertility even more difficult. The severity of endometriosis does not always correspond to the degree of infertility; some women with mild endometriosis may have severe difficulties conceiving, while others with more severe cases may not have a problem at all.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis and Pregnancy
If you have endometriosis and are trying to conceive, there are several treatment options available that may increase your chances of getting pregnant:
- Fertility Treatments:
Fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) may be recommended for women with endometriosis who have been trying to conceive for a long period without success. These treatments can help overcome any obstacles to conception caused by endometriosis and improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
- Laparoscopic surgery:
In some cases, laparoscopic surgery may be recommended to remove any endometrial tissue that is causing fertility problems. This can improve the chances of conception by restoring the normal function of the reproductive organs.
- Hormone therapy:
Hormone therapy, such as birth control pills or gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, can help control the growth of endometrial tissue and reduce inflammation in the pelvic area. This can improve fertility and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Endometriosis:
If you have endometriosis and get pregnant, there’s good news: Most women with endometriosis can have healthy pregnancies and deliveries. However, there are some potential risks associated with endometriosis and pregnancy that you should be aware of:
- Spontaneous abortion:
Women with endometriosis may be at slightly increased risk of miscarriage, especially if they have severe endometriosis or have undergone fertility treatment.
- Preterm labor:
Endometriosis can increase the risk of preterm birth, especially in women with severe cases.
- Cesarean birth:
Women with endometriosis are more likely to require a cesarean delivery, especially if they have had surgery to treat the condition.
- Pelvic pain:
Endometriosis-related pain can persist throughout pregnancy, although it usually improves in the second trimester.
Women with a history of endometriosis may be more likely to develop adhesions or scar tissue in the pelvic area, which can increase the risk of complications during childbirth.
Endometriosis can be a challenging condition for women who are trying to conceive. However, with proper treatment and care, most women with endometriosis can have a normal and safe pregnancy and delivery.