If you have endometriosis, the first thing to understand is that you’re not alone — 11% of American women in their reproductive years may have the condition. Many of these women are still able to successfully build their families despite their endometriosis, while others encounter fertility problems.
While it would be impossible for us to say here on which side of the endometriosis equation you may fall, Dr. Fernando Otero and the team of women’s health experts here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley feel that education is the best first step.
Here, we explore how endometriosis can affect fertility and the steps we can take to work around the condition to help you build your family.
Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue (the tissue that lines your uterus) grows outside of your uterus, often attaching to neighboring organs and tissues, such as your:
The endometrial tissue acts as if it were inside your uterus, thickening with each menstrual cycle, except it has nowhere to go when it comes time for shedding. As a result, adhesions can develop in your pelvis that interfere with your fertility.
Adhesions around your fallopian tubes may prevent sperm from meeting your egg, or tough scar tissue around your ovaries may inhibit your ovulation.
About 30-50% of women with endometriosis encounter fertility issues.
While the statistic we just provided above — up to half of women with endometriosis may experience infertility — may seem alarming, here’s another that may give you some hope. Around seven in 10 women with mild or moderate endometriosis can get pregnant without treatment.
The fact is that we can’t predict how your endometriosis might affect your ability to conceive, but we can surmise from these numbers that it depends on the extent of your condition. If your endometriosis is severe, you’re more at risk for having adhesions that may interfere with your fertility. If your condition is milder, you may not encounter problems.
If you’ve tried to conceive, without any luck, and we determine that endometriosis is likely to blame, we can take action.
One of the frontline treatments for endometriosis is hormonal control, but this isn’t a great option if you’re trying to get pregnant.
Instead, we can turn to minimally invasive surgery to remove the problematic adhesions, allowing your reproductive organs to function normally again. This approach for regaining fertility when you have moderate-to-severe endometriosis is quite successful, and many of our patients have gone on to build beautiful families.
If you’d like to learn more about the connection between endometriosis and fertility, or you’d like to explore your treatment options, please feel free to contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up an appointment.