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How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?

You desperately want to grow your family and are worried that a diagnosis of endometriosis may stand in your way. It is true that 30-50% of infertile women do have endometriosis; many go on, however, to have a healthy pregnancy.

At Capital Women’s Care, with offices in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, the team of expert OB/GYNs understands your frustrations, concerns, and fears when you receive a diagnosis of endometriosis. We do everything possible to help manage endometriosis so you can successfully overcome infertility.

Understand how endometriosis affects your fertility so you can make intelligent choices about treatment and the next steps.

About endometriosis

The lining of your uterus, called the endometrium, usually stays just where it should — inside your womb. The lining is where a fertilized egg implants to become an embryo, or it’s sloughed off each month when pregnancy doesn’t occur.

When you have endometriosis, this endometrium doesn’t stay where it should. It grows in areas such as your intestines, ovaries, on the outside of the uterus, and on the fallopian tubes.

The endometrial tissue that grows outside your uterus still behaves as it does inside your womb. It sloughs and bleeds monthly, causing pain, formation of scar tissue, and development of cysts and adhesions. You experience exceptionally heavy menstrual periods and cramping.

Endometriosis and your fertility

Infertility may occur due to the excess endometrial tissue. Endometriosis in the fallopian tube, for example, can prevent an egg from traveling to the uterus. Endometriosis may damage any eggs you do produce and create a hostile environment for sperm. Researchers believe this is due to excessive inflammation caused by the misplaced tissue.

Endometriosis can also distort the anatomy of the pelvis, alter your immune system, and negatively affect egg quality.

Treatments for endometriosis

Endometriosis can’t be cured, but it can be managed. In many cases, treatment for the condition involves halting ovulation with birth control or other hormonal medications — which is obviously not going to help if you’re trying to get pregnant.

If you have endometriosis and want to get pregnant in the near future, make your wishes known to our team at Capital Women’s Care, and we can come up with a compassionate, effective solution. In some mild cases, a woman can get pregnant on her own despite endometriosis.

If you have symptomatic endometriosis that interferes with your quality of life and ability to get pregnant, the doctors may perform minimally invasive surgery to remove any endometrial tissue. During this procedure, they evaluate the location, amount, and depth of endometrial tissue. 

Minimal or mild endometriosis is less likely to interfere with a successful pregnancy as compared with severe endometriosis. In severe cases, damage to the ovaries, blockage of the fallopian tubes, and considerable scarring can make pregnancy extremely difficult. In these cases, we can help you explore advanced fertility treatment options such as fertility medications and in vitro fertilization.

When possible, however, the doctors remove or destroy endometrial tissue to heal inflammation and give your reproductive organs the room they need to perform optimally and allow conception.

If you suspect you have endometriosis or are having trouble conceiving, give Capital Women’s Care a call at the Laurel or Silver Spring office today or request an appointment online. Our caring, experienced team is ready to help you heal and create the family you desire.

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