Endometriosis is a chronic disease that affects millions of girls and women worldwide. Endometriosis is caused then tissues (called endometrium) that line the uterus are found outside of the uterus along the abdominal walls and other organs in the stomach. This misplaced tissue develops into growths and responds to your menstrual cycle in the same way as the tissues inside of the uterus. Each month the tissues will develop and build and then shed away. Unlike the tissues in your uterus, the blood and tissues have no path to exit the body. This results in internal bleeding and inflammation causing pain, infertility, scarring and bowel problems.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Endometriosis can be a very painful, chronic disease that can affect day-to-day tasks as well as present other issues. The biggest indicator is pain before and during periods. Along with abdominal pains, you may experience painful urination and bowel movements during your period. This can lead to other gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation and nausea.
The only way to determine if you have endometriosis is through a laparoscopy. This is a minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia. This will show the locations of the tissues, the size and extent of the growths.
How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility
Endometriosis can affect fertility in many ways. The extra tissues and growth can cause a distorted anatomy of the pelvis and inflammation, making pregnancy more difficult. As the tissues shed, scarring can occur, and depending on the location of the scar tissues, fertility may be affected.
If scar tissue is located inside of the uterus, this can prevent the embryo from attaching to the uterine walls. Hormonal imbalances can result, changing the environment of the uterus and the production of healthy eggs by the ovaries.
Some ways to manage endometriosis is through the use of birth control pills that block or lower the levels of estrogen. For patients who are ready to start a family and looking to get pregnant, medical therapy would be the best solution. The endometriosis can be removed surgically along with any scar tissue. This can allow for a more conducive environment for a pregnancy.