Endometriosis and Fertility
Endometriosis is a condition that commonly affects women during their reproductive years. It occurs when endometrial cells, which are normally found only inside the womb, are found outside the uterine cavity.
Symptoms of endometriosis
Some women with Endometriosis are without symptoms, but others suffer heavy or painful periods and pain during intercourse.
How is endometriosis diagnosed and treated?
Endometriosis can appear as spots or patches called implants or as cysts on the ovaries and in severe cases can affect surrounding tissue causing adhesions or scar tissue. Unlike the lining of the uterus, endometrial tissue located outside the womb is trapped and does not have a way to leave the body. This can cause inflammation near the implants and if nerve tissue is affected, pelvic pain may result.
The diagnosis of Endometriosis cannot be made from symptoms alone as some women have no symptoms as there may be other reasons for pelvic pain.
Surgery or Laparoscopy is the only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis. Laparoscopy allows direct visualisation and ideally biopsy of areas suspected of being endometriosis. It is carried out by inserting a small telescope through an incision close to the naval.
During a laparoscopy, the surgeon can also clarify if the tubes are open. This is where liquid is flushed through the neck of the womb.
Effect of endometriosis on fertility
Many women who have Endometriosis can conceive without any difficulty however some women do have difficulty getting pregnant. IVF is an appropriate treatment for infertility associated with Endometriosis where other methods have failed.
Suspect you have endometriosis?
If you suspect you may have endometriosis and have been trying to conceive for 12 months (or 6 months if you are over 35 years of age) you should consider booking an appointment with a fertility specialist.
Find out more about female infertility >
Find out more about male infertility >
Find out more about fertility tests >