As we should all be aware, March marks Endometriosis awareness month. With that in mind, we have asked trusted fertility clinic, Laurel Fertility Care (California, USA), to delve deeper into endometriosis stages, symptoms and of course treatments for endometriosis. We did an Instagram live, where we were joined by Dr. Collin Smikle, founder and Medical Director of Laurel Fertility Care. You can watch it back below for some extremely useful fertility specialist advice.
Endometriosis occurs when the layer of tissue that normally covers the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows in other parts of the body. It is associated with infertility and difficulty achieving pregnancy. This tissue is most commonly found on the ovaries or Fallopian tubes, but in rare cases can be found on the bowels, liver, lungs, diaphragm, or even the brain.
Up to 35-50% of women experience fertility challenges as a result of endometriosis, and it can be found in up to 70% of unexplained infertility patients without pelvic pain symptoms. It affects 1 in 10 women in the United States and an early diagnosis can have long term implications on a woman’s health.
Endometrial tissue growing on the ovaries can prevent ovulation, while tissue growing on the Fallopian tubes can prevent eggs from being fertilized or reaching the uterus. Another symptom of endometriosis can be pain during ovulation as well as during your period and, depending on the location of the endometrial tissue throughout the pelvic cavity, pain during bowel movements, urination, exercise and intercourse.
Excision surgery removes the lesions or wounds on the lining, both above and below the surface. An alternative treatment method for endometriosis, to the above may be an ablation or cauterization surgery. Ablation or cauterization surgery only removes the tissue on the surface but neglects the tissue growing beneath it. In most cases, ablation/cauterization surgery will not be effective for long-term management of endometriosis because the tissue remains below the surface. Excess scar tissue can also form using these methods, causing inflammation and pain.
Treatment options for different stages of endometriosis will vary, and symptom management is usually the most recommended course of action prior to trying to conceive. When trying to get pregnant, minor surgery may be recommended to clear away the endometrial tissue from your reproductive organs.