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endometriosis and infertility in women

How Endometriosis Affects Infertility in Women

Endometriosis is a fairly common condition that affects over six million women across the globe. Many women may feel the symptoms without even knowing they have it. Infertility is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis, but there are many others. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about endometriosis and fertility.

What Is Endometriosis?

Typically characterized by painful and irregular menstruation cycles, endometriosis is a condition that can lead to infertility. During normal menstruation, the uterine lining (also referred to as the endometrial lining) is shed and released through the cervix.

In women with endometriosis, however, the same tissue grows outside of the uterus instead of on the inside. When women with endometriosis menstruate, these endometrial tissues move through the fallopian tubes and envelope the ovaries, which are essential to the reproductive process. Once scar tissue and inflammation form around the ovaries, it’s impossible for the eggs to become fertilized. Without proper treatment, the endometrial lining will eventually form a blockade around the ovaries and the opening to the fallopian tubes, which prevents pregnancy.

What Are the Four Stages of Endometriosis?

There are four stages of endometriosis:
  • Stage one: No scar tissue is detectable and there are very few specs of endometriosis.
  • Stage two: Still no scar tissue developments during this stage, but there are more visible specs.
  • Stage three: There’s a considerable amount of endometriosis buildup in the abdomen. These can run very deep and develop pockets filled with endometriotic fluid, also known as chocolate cysts and endometriomas, in the ovaries. Scar tissue can also start to develop around the fallopian tubes and ovaries during this stage.
  • Stage four: As the most severe stage, large endometriotic implants, specs, or cysts can be seen on the ovaries along with scar tissue formations between the uterus and rectum as well as on the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Overcoming Infertility Caused by Endometriosis

Once it’s been diagnosed, there are endometriosis fertility treatments that can help you better manage your condition and increase your chances of conceiving.
  • In-Vitro Fertilization. IVF treatment requires women to take fertility medications that stimulate and promote healthy egg production in the ovaries. Once the eggs reach a certain degree of maturation, they’re removed from the ovaries using an ultrasound-guided needle that moves through the vaginal wall and into the ovaries. The retrieved eggs are intermingled with sperm inside petri dishes at the fertility clinic. After the eggs have developed into embryos, the most viable ones are placed back into the uterus.
  • Intrauterine Insemination. IUI treatment involves artificially inseminating sperm directly into the uterus using a thin and long injection needle through the vagina and the cervix.
  • Third-Party Assisted Reproductive Technologies. IVF and IUI treatments are both classified as Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Alternate third-party methods of conception that fall under this category can include surrogacy, using a gestational carrier, or egg and sperm donation.

Infertility Counselling at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

An endometriosis diagnosis can simultaneously elicit feelings of relief and distress. On the one hand, if you’ve been struggling to conceive without knowing why, it gives you an answer. On the other hand, it doesn’t take away the difficulty of trying to establish a healthy full-term pregnancy. At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our ultimate goal is to provide compassionate and caring infertility counselling and treatment to all of our patients. Book a consultation with one of our fertility experts today.

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