This week is Endometriosis Awareness Week and we at EDSA feel it is very important to raise awareness about a serious and often unrecognized condition.
Endometriosis affects 50% of women worldwide, and is one of the leading culprits of infertility. Endometriosis comes from the word Endometrium, which is the lining in the uterus that your body produces each month in case of egg implantation. If conception does not take place during a given month, then your body will shed the endometrium and a menstrual cycle will occur.
What happens with Endometriosis is, that the Endometrial tissue travels out the end of the fallopian tube and into the abdomen. In some women, the tissue will attach to other organs. The hormones made in the next menstrual cycle stimulate this extra tissue to grow and later shed just like the tissue in the uterus. However, the bleeding and tissue shedding cannot exit the body, which causes inflammation and irritation of that tissue. The inflammation causes pain, discomfort and for many, infertility.
The symptoms of Endometriosis include discomfort and or pain before and during a menstrual cycle, painful intercourse, infertility, abnormal bleeding cycles, fatigue, but what is worrying about Endometriosis is that often, a woman will have no symptoms.
The inflammation caused by the Endometriosis can affect fertility. Inflammation of the fimbria, which transports the egg into the fallopian tube, causes swelling and scarring so the egg may not be delivered. The inflammation can also damage sperm and eggs when they are exposed to the hostile environment caused by the Endometriosis. In more serious cases, Endometriosis can cause adhesions and can block the fallopian tubes.
Once Endometriosis has formed a cyst on your ovary (which is known as an Endometrioma), Endometriosis can be spotted with a sonogram, otherwise a medical professional can only make a diagnosis with laparoscopy. This minor surgery involves the insertion of a scope through the umbilicus and into the abdomen. During the laparoscopy, Endometriosis can be treated with laser or surgical removal.
Depending on the severity, treatment for Endometriosis can include:
Fortunately, pregnancy actually improves endometriosis. The hormones produced whilst pregnant can cause most of the Endometriosis to disappear. If conception is impossible for a woman with Endometriosis, a laparoscopy would be necessary. Thereafter conception usually occurs within the first few months following the surgical procedure.
If you are concerned about Endometriosis and you are suffering any one of the symptoms listed below, please come in to see our fertility specialists Dr Marcus Faesen or Dr Klaus Wiswedel, who are available immediately to assist you with any concerns you may have about Endometriosis and infertility:
Love EDSA x