Natural, Medical & Surgical Treatment of Endometriosis Infertility
Endometriosis (endo) is a common condition that affects up to 10% of all women globally. But most people do not realize this condition’s impact on a significant proportion of women. Endometriosis and pregnancy complications are a common coincidence. Up to 50% of women with infertility have endo.
Endometriosis and pregnancy can be problematic for patients. And sometimes, endometriosis treatments are needed to conceive. Keep reading to learn more about fertility options for women with endo.
Lack of Evidence-Based Research Stalls Treatment Options
Endometriosis is sometimes like the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss or do enough research. However, that needs to change because endometriosis is often a disabling condition, and people should know about it. Not only does this condition impact the patient’s quality of life, but it also affects the potential for some of these patients to have a family. This situation can affect a marriage, other family members, a partner, etc.
Options for treating women with endometriosis and pregnancy issues can be natural, medical, surgical, or surgery-assisted. Let’s review the latest fertility treatments and courses of action for women affected by endometriosis. First, we will briefly discuss how endometriosis and pregnancy are related.
Can You Get Pregnant with Endometriosis?
Getting pregnant with endometriosis is not always easy, but it’s a reality for most patients who have the condition and want to conceive. It’s important to emphasize that the body can and still does get pregnant. There are things such as an endometriosis diet that might help. Let’s look at the good numbers. Up to 70%, according to some studies, of women with mild to moderate endometriosis will become pregnant without medical intervention.
Statistics show that about 75% of women with severe endometriosis (stage III/IV) will conceive if they desire. Two-thirds of those pregnancies occurred naturally, and one-third with the help of the endometriosis fertility treatment.
If you have endometriosis and are having troubles getting or maintaining a pregnancy, and you wish to carry full-term, here are some medical options that may interest you:
- Freeze some eggs: Your ovarian reserve of eggs can decline due to endometriosis. Therefore, some endo specialists recommend preserving your eggs in case you wish to conceive later. Just note that this can be an expensive option.
- Superovulation and intrauterine insemination (SO-IUI): If you have normal fallopian tubes, mild endometriosis, and a partner with healthy sperm, this might be the best choice for you.
- Fertility medications: Doctors can prescribe medications to produce up to two or three mature eggs. There are also progestin injections that are often used to help fertility issues.
- Frequent ultrasounds: If a person is trying to get pregnant, they may go in for frequent ultrasounds to identify when the eggs are most mature. At that time, a doctor can insert the partner’s collected sperm.
- In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF): This treatment involves the extraction of the egg and sperm. The egg is fertilized outside the body and then implanted into the uterus.
Endometriosis Surgery For Infertility
Many women with endometriosis do become pregnant without medical assistance. However, studies suggest that endometriosis surgery does help a woman to become pregnant without difficulty.
- Removal of endometriosis tissue: Evidence shows that pregnancy rates improve if the endometriosis tissues are removed surgically.
- Removal of tissue or large endometriosis cysts: Large cysts and tissue accumulation can contribute to infertility. Removing these can help the patient conceive.
- Routine follow-up: Women with endometriosis often have cysts that relapse after treatment. It is crucial to complete follow-up visits and possibly have complementary surgeries down the road.
How Your Stage of Endometriosis Impacts Fertility
A diagnosis of endometriosis is a heavy thing to take in, primarily since it’s known to impact a woman’s reproductive organs. Studies have shown that the extent of endometriosis present during laparoscopy correlates with fertility.
Do You Have Concerns About Endometriosis and Fertility?
We want to hear from you. What is your biggest concern about the fertility impact of endometriosis? Or does it concern you at all? Leave your answers in the comments below. If you need medical attention that is not emergent, be sure to find a vetted endometriosis specialist who is familiar with the disease and modern treatments.
My biggest concern is doctors not having enough knowledge and thus not providing the best chances for me to conceive.
I have currently started an IVF treatment after trying the natural way for 1 year. But the doctors here (DK) have an outdated knowledge on endo, which has left me uncertain of my chances. I was diagnosed with stage 2 endo in august 2020, and had it excised abroad (we don’t have excision specialists here). However, I have a strong feeling that I may have thoracic endo and worry that it might impact my chances of conceiving, but the doctors here didn’t even want to do a scan, and at the moment, I can’t afford to go abroad again for another surgery.
I also worry how my adenomyosis may impact on fertility. We need better studies on this subject and doctors who know how to address this.