Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women in their reproductive years and causes a change in the growth of the tissue surrounding the uterus, so how does it impact fertility? There are a number of ways that endometriosis can impact fertility and they are listed below. Keep reading to find out!
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women and is a condition in which the tissue that normally grows on the inside of the uterus begins to grow on the outside. The symptoms that are associated with endometriosis include pain the the pelvis, during menstruation, while peeing and during sex. Problems with bowel movements, nausea and fatigue are also potential symptoms. Up to 30-50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility, while it is estimated that 60-70% of women with endometriosis can get pregnant without treatment.
How Endometriosis Can Impact Your Fertility: Inflammation of pelvis
A potential effect of endometriosis is inflammation of the pelvic areas, such as the uterus and fallopian tubes. This inflammation can make it difficult to become pregnant.
How Endometriosis Can Impact Your Fertility: Damage to fallopian tubes
As the pelvic regions can become inflamed and the tissue lining of the uterus may begin to grow in the fallopian tubes, they can become damaged and scarred. The damage and scar tissue on the fallopian tubes can make it difficult to get pregnant as it can block the route that the egg must take to reach the uterus.
How Endometriosis Can Impact Your Fertility: Compromised immune system
Endometriosis is being researched and could potentially be thought of as an immune disease. In a person with endometriosis, the immune system fails to recognise that the tissue lining the inside of the uterus has begun to grow in other places. This potential compromisation of the immune system can impact fertility. An altered immune response can affect your chances of getting pregnant.
How Endometriosis Can Impact Your Fertility: Hormonal impact on eggs
Women with endometriosis tend to have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies compared to women without endometriosis. These high levels of estrogen can even lead to estrogen dominance, in which there is an imbalance between the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. High levels of estrogen have the potential to prevent ovulation, and therefore make getting pregnant difficult. The hormone changes caused by endometriosis can also upset the environment of the eggs in the ovaries, leading to issues with fertility. With the altered composition of the uterus lining, there might also be problems with egg implantation.
How Endometriosis Can Impact Your Fertility: Hysterectomy and surgical menopause
One of the possible treatments for endometriosis is a hysterectomy, a procedure in which a woman’s uterus is removed. A full hysterectomy will remove the uterus and cervix, but not the ovaries, meaning that menopause will not incur. Another treatment for endometriosis is called a bilateral oophorectomy, in which both ovaries are removed from the body. In this case, surgical menopause is induced following surgery. Both of these procedures lead to infertility.