Endometriosis is a condition in which uterine tissue is located outside the uterus where it often affects the ovary function and the fallopian tubes and uterus. Endometriosis and pregnancy are conditions that are often mentioned together due to the effect that endometriosis can have on a woman’s ability to conceive.
The misplaced uterine tissue responds to the hormonal cycle and replicates the monthly cycle, shedding and bleeding synchronised with the lining of the uterus each month and can result in the development of scar tissue as well as inflammation. Many women experience severe pain and an inability to conceive is often the result of the condition.
Endometriosis and pregnancy don’t have to be exclusive from each other. In fact, most women who are diagnosed with the condition are still able to conceive depending on the severity of the condition and the location of the endometrial tissue. Even without treatment, as many as 70% of those women who have a mild to moderate case of endometriosis will conceive within three years of trying.
Endometriosis and pregnancy are more likely to occur simultaneously in women who don’t have a severe case, but there are treatments available for those with more severe cases. Most often, surgery is performed during which the endometrial tissue, commonly referred to as “chocolate drops”, is removed with a laser. Other treatments involve the use of medications including those to reduce pain and to treat infertility as well as hormonal therapy.
While the exact cause of endometriosis has never been identified, it is more common in those women who are experiencing infertility than in those who are fertile. The majority of women with the condition have no symptoms so it is possible to experience related infertility without knowing you have the condition. For women with severe cases, endometriosis and pregnancy may not only be an unlikely combination but more radical treatment such as a hysterectomy may be required, making it impossible for the woman to conceive.
Another surprising connection between endometriosis and pregnancy is that while there is no actual cure for endometriosis, sometimes pregnancy can lessen the symptoms and effects that the woman has. For those with a mild to moderate case of endometriosis who manage to get pregnant, they may find that their symptoms are relieved as a result.
If you are experiencing difficulty in conceiving but are not having any symptoms, it may be difficult for your doctor to determine if endometriosis may be the cause. The only real way to diagnose the condition is through surgery. Symptoms can be nonexistent to severe, and those women who do have symptoms may have similar ones to those experienced normally with their menstrual cycle making an accurate diagnosis by other means impossible.
If your doctor says you don’t have endometriosis but you are having symptoms that are associated with the condition, don’t assume your doctor is right. A second opinion is always a good idea. The possibility of a connection between endometriosis and pregnancy problems is often the last consideration after other common infertility problems have been eliminated as the cause of fertility.
If you do have endometriosis and you become pregnant, then there should be no symptoms of the condition during the pregnancy. You won’t have your normal menstrual cycle during your pregnancy so the endometrial tissue won’t bleed either.
Whether you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and are trying to conceive or are experiencing infertility without any symptoms, endometriosis has a link to infertility in women. Talk with your doctor about the possibility of becoming pregnant and what treatment options are available for you.