Fertility Infertility Issues

Infertility can be caused by a number of reasons. Medical conditions such as Diabetes or Thyroid problems, medications, or reproductive disorders are just some of those. One of the reproductive disorders is Endometriosis, which affects over 5 million women in the United States. It is one of the most common known reasons a woman can be infertile.

In simple terms, Endometriosis is defined as the growth of the uterine lining (endometrial tissue) on other organs of the reproductive system. Each month during menstruation the endometrial tissue reacts to hormones a woman’s body produces, and shed through the menstrual cycle. When the endometrial tissue is outside the uterus, it can cause chronic pain, painful menstruation, and pain during intercourse. Sometimes women have no symptoms at all, and find out the diagnosis only when trying to become pregnant.

The exact cause of Endometriosis is unknown. Some theories suggest it is an inherited trait. Others state that women with this gynecological disorder may have an immune or hormonal condition that promotes the growth of the endometrial tissue in other organs. The most common growth areas outside of the uterus are on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and pelvic cavity. Growth has been found in other areas of the body, such as the bladder, or kidneys, but the reproductive system is the most frequent.

Endometriosis usually affects women in their best child bearing years, which is ages twenty to thirty but has been known to affect women at later ages. For an accurate diagnosis a gynecologist must be seen. The first step is a manual exam where the doctor checks both vaginally and rectally to determine if endometrial growths are present. Second, an ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvic area is done to see if any endometrial growths appear on a x-ray. If seen on a x-ray, it will look like cobwebs. Thankfully, Endometriosis is not fatal, but can make life difficult and painful for the woman who has the disorder. Lastly, an outpatient surgery is scheduled. Many times a laparoscopy is done because going in and looking is the only way for the doctor to determine with complete assurance if Endometriosis is present.

Once a final diagnosis is made, the treatment can begin. Treatment varies for each person, but usually includes medications and surgery to remove the Endometriosis. A cure is not known at this time but research by medical professionals continues to advance in their knowledge for this damaging disorder.

If you think you may have Endometriosis, please contact your gynecologist.