Pregnancy

Endometriosis and Infertility

Endometriosis and Infertility

Key Takeaways

  • Endometriosis is one of main causes of infertility among women.
  • The real cause of endometriosis is not known.
  • Endometriosis occurs in four stages.

Endometriosis is one of main causes of infertility among women. However, there is no single cause when it comes to endometriosis. Rather, there are several factors that decrease the chances of conception among women diagnosed with endometriosis.

The real cause of endometriosis is not known, even though it tends to run in families. Different biochemical and immunological changes have been identified in association with endometriosis, but it is unclear if the changes cause endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a disease affecting women of young ages. It is characterized by a growth of the endometrial tissue outside of its normal place of growth, outside of the uterus. Characteristic signs and symptoms of endometriosis are a pelvic pain as well as increased rates of infertility. Endometriosis is divided into four stages, depending on the severity of the symptoms, as well as from the widespread of the endometrial tissue outside of the uterus.

In stages one and two of endometriosis, also known as the early stages, the mechanism of infertility is more complex and less clearly understandable. Various studies have shown that the intra-peritoneal environment through a variety of mechanisms prevents conception.

In stages three and four of endometriosis, also known as the advanced stages where endometriomas appear, pelvic adhesions interfere mechanically with the ovulation and the transfer of the egg.

Even though you and your gynecologist may suspect that you might have endometriosis and that it is the one causing infertility, only physical examination and laparoscopy diagnose it.

The peritoneal fluid of women affected with endometriosis contains different biochemical substances with anti–fertility effects. These substances include several prostaglandins, various cytokines, abnormal autoantibodies, and reactive oxygen radicals. All of these substances combined together can prevent ovulation by inducing early luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome, they prevent the capture of the egg from the fimbria of the Fallopian tubes, interfere with the tubal function, in general, interfere with the hormones produced by the corpus luteum and have prevent implantation of the embryo.

Infertility is relative among women diagnosed with endometriosis, as many of them are still able to conceive, have a normal pregnancy and give birth to perfectly healthy children. In general, women with endometriosis may have a harder time becoming pregnant. In women with early stages of endometriosis, it will take longer for them to conceive, when compared to women in general. 

Birth control pills tend to relieve the pelvic pain in many women diagnosed with endometriosis. A laparoscopic treatment is also often recommended in order to surgically remove the endometrial tissue located in different places. Laparoscopic treatment tends to reduce the severity of the signs and symptoms of endometriosis, as well as tend to increase the chances of conceiving. IVF is another treatment option when trying to have a baby.