March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis affects around 1.5 million women in the UK. To help raise awareness, here at Concept Fertility Clinic we are taking a closer look at this chronic condition, as well as how it can affect fertility…
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb, starts to grow in other areas of the body (such as the ovaries, bladder, bowel and fallopian tubes).
Each month as a woman has her period; this tissue behaves in the same way. It builds up and then breaks down through bleeding. However, because this tissue has grown outside of the womb, the blood has no way to escape the body. This can cause inflammation, pain and internal scarring.
What are the signs and symptoms of endometriosis?
Endometriosis can affect women of any age and some women experience severe symptoms while others do not have any symptoms. Endometriosis can be a difficult condition to live with, both physically and emotionally. It can cause:
- Chronic pain
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- An inability to conceive
How can Endometriosis affect fertility?
Around 30-50% of women with endometriosis experience fertility problems. Women with mild cases of endometriosis are affected less than those with severe endometriosis. The site and nature of the endometriosis is also a factor in determining the effect on fertility.
Scar tissue resulting from endometriotic lesions can block the fallopian tubes or interfere with ovulation. In severe cases, ovarian cysts called endometrioma sometimes form and these also interfere with ovulation.
Inflammation caused by endometriosis can also interfere with the functioning of the fallopian tubes and the normal passage of the egg along it. Similarly, this inflammation may affect sperm motility or implantation of the developing embryo in the womb.
If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and want to find out more about the fertility options available to you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts.