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You are here: Home > Fertility & Trying to Conceive > Fertility Concerns

Endometriosis and Trying to Conceive

by Lori Ramsey |

The diagnosis of endometriosis does not mean permanent infertility. It is possible to conceive with endometriosis. The fact is endometriosis affects 5% of all child-bearing females. This means that there are a good number of endometriosis patients who will have problems trying to conceive.

What is Endometriosis?

Let's take a look at what endometriosis is, the symptoms and how it's diagnosed and treated and how it effects conception. Endometriosis is a growth of the endometrium, the area inside the uterus known as the uterine lining, only it grows all over the pelvic cavity in and on the fallopian tubes, on the ovaries and the outside of the uterus. In some cases, it can spread to other organs.

Endometriosis can cause very direct symptoms, or it can grow symptom free. If symptoms are present there can be pelvic pain, painful intercourse, painful urination, unusually heavy menstrual bleeding and spotting prior to menstruation. Severe menstrual cramps are also an indicator in about 25-35% of endometriosis patients.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Endometriosis is diagnosed initially through an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a device which emits sound waves when the transducer is placed on the lower abdomen. If endometriosis is suspected, a laparoscopy will confirm it. A laparoscopy is the insertion of a tiny camera through a small incision in the lower abdomen or through the vagina and cervix.

Treatment for endometriosis varies. The best treatment/cure for it, ironically, is pregnancy. It's during pregnancy that the growth of the endometrium stops. However, it's this growth that can hinder conception from occurring and causes problems with ovulation and the luteal phase. This is when other treatments may be needed first. These include birth control pills and ovulation suppressions such as Danazol and Lupron. If these don't work, laser treatments can be tried. However, laser treatments is usually tried first if pregnancy is desired.

Once the endometrium growth is contained, the other affects of endometriosis have to be dealt with. These are ovulation and the luteal phase. Endometriosis thrives when ovulation occurs, so in order for conception to happen, the growth has to be taken care of and then there's a small window of opportunity for conception to occur before the growth returns. The luteal phase, the time from ovulation to menstruation, has to be at least ten days long. In endometriosis the luteal phase is usually shorter or plagued with spotting. This can be remedied with progesterone or Clomid (a fertility drug) if need be.

When dealing with endometriosis, it's often advised to have a hysterectomy once the desired number of pregnancies has been achieved. Endometriosis gets worse as time goes on and what once was pain-free may become painful eventually. If endometriosis is suspected, it is advisable to let the physician know that pregnancy is desired, so the correct measures can be taken to ensure that conception occurs.

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Showing 1 - 10 out of 23 Comments
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emma Mar 4, 2015 04:52:01 PM ET

Hi all i was diagnosed with pcos 8 years ago. then, last year with endometriosis. last year, me and partner both agreed for me to come off the pill, and if baby happens it happens, rather than stressing about trying. 18 month on and i have still not fallen pregnant. any advice would be helpful.

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Celena Jan 22, 2015 11:15:14 AM ET

I was just diagnosed with stage 1 endometriosis. i have been told for the past 4-5 years that i could possibly have it. but, just yesterday, i was diagnosed with it, and had a laparoscopy done. i have suffered from extreme pain and irregular periods for years. me and my boyfriend defiantly know we want a baby. i was just wondering what my best options are, if anyone who knows a little more about this. thanks!

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Jenny Oct 8, 2014 08:41:25 PM ET

Endometriosis is rarely ever detected using an ultrasound, it is only diagnosed after surgery... and pregnancy rarely cures endo. also, the endo can persist after a hysterectomy if it is not treated at the same time. it feeds off of estrogen. the only thing that may get rid of it completely is removing the ovaries and uterus. if you take hormone replacements the remaining endo will stay "alive". it's not only the endo that can cause pain, but adhesions can as well. if you have endo you are more likely to have fibromyalgia, irritable bowl syndrome, diabetes, hypothyroid... and other autoimmune disorders. i've had 3 ablation surgeries which did not work, and one excision surgery which did help. i also had emergency surgery when endo nearly made my appendix burst. i still have pain. excision surgery is the best to remove endo, but don't expect miracles. many still have pain after, and the doctors will not tell people realistic outcomes of treatment. it's not entirely their fault, much is unknown about this disease. don't let your doctors minimize your pain. you are not crazy. join endometriosis forums and learn everything you can... so many people suffer with this, and it is inexcusable that the pain we feel is not recognized nor treated as it should be.

Guest Nov 11, 2014 06:09:36 PM ET

Great post. i agree with what has been said. well done jenny.

Tami Dec 21, 2014 08:53:35 AM ET

Very well written jenny. it's scary how misinformed people can be about this disease.

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Geen Nov 10, 2013 01:12:58 AM ET

I was diagnosed with endometriosis 10 years ago and since then it was long lasting battle. i have stage iii recurring cysts. at first i was scheduled for a hysterectomy and my gyno removed 8 cm bundle and 5 cm bundle of endometrium from each ovary. i was on decapeptil injections for six months to stop regrowth of cysts since i didn't want to get pregnant at that time. after 2 years of failing attempts to conceive, i tried insemination and it was another failure. i was scheduled for another surgery in march 2007 having a laparoscopy this time. gyno decided i had no choice but to go to ivf for faster alternative. in april 2007 i tried my first ivf and was pregnant the same month and now have a beautiful twin of 5 years old. since then i underwent 3 vaporization surgeries just to release my endo pains. now i'm 33 and want another baby. however i have no power to go over the whole ivf process once again and was looking if i go through another vaporization will i be able to conceive naturally? i hope to get an answer. for all those who are with endo and ttc it's a long journey but ivf is your only choice.

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Bella Aug 13, 2013 05:42:51 PM ET

Hi my name is bella i was diagnosed with endo about 2 yrs ago n had one sergery! i have two kids but my husband and i want another one. hopefully we get pregnant soon we been trying for 5 months now and nothing!

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Melissa Apr 15, 2013 03:21:27 AM ET

I had severe endometriosis removed by laparoscopy nov 2011 and had mirena put in at the same time. that mirena was the best thing ever! had it taken out 2 months ago and ttc baby number 1. i'm 33 and worried about how long it's going to take. my gyn is only giving us a 3 month trial of conceiving naturally before they intervene. anyone had luck falling pregnant quickly?

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victory Apr 14, 2013 05:11:21 PM ET

I have endometriosis,and needs a baby,but i don't see my periods regularly it stays up 2 6months or more b4 cming and when it comes, it flows up to 3 to 4 weeks i am currently treating it with endovan hope my period will come out? so i can ovulate and conceive. anyone wit such experience i have noticed it 4rm the first time i started menstrauting

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Guest Feb 27, 2013 05:59:18 AM ET

I am 23 in march. my partner and i have only been together for 9 months yet when we found out about my endo (only last week) we have decided that as we both know we want kids that we will just do things around the other way and worry about marriage, travel, buying a house etc later in life. my parents are more than willing to help and believe its the right choice. i guess i'm just hoping for some advise. iv done alot of research and it has somewhat scared me. so many woman ttc for years with no luck. it's so upsetting, i feel some of that pain and it pains me to think it could happen to me :( the exact stage of my endo is still unclear to me. i see my gyno tomorrow for results of the op. i have had 4 keyhole incisions which is scary as i have read that can it may have been in my tubes. enough rambling... i guess i just want some advice and positive stories. thank you for listening, it's hard talking to people that just don't understand how it feels :(

Chelsea Nov 17, 2013 10:54:02 PM ET

I am 24 and have had known endo for at least a year. i've had the surgery and done lupron injections as well as continuous birth control. i started having period through the birth control. i have extreme and immense pain. it's unbearable. i am engaged and lived away from home but given the circumstances, my fiancã© and i moved back so my parents can help us through this. we are doing things out of order too and my parents encourage it. we have just started trying but it is hard. i have faith and hope though and i just have to keep believing that it will happen and that someday all this pain will be worth it.

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Caz Jan 6, 2013 05:01:12 AM ET

Hi guys i had a laparoscopy done 10 months ago as they suspected i had endometriosis as well as pcos, gyni said it was early stages so to go ahead and ttc as it would only get worse. i have a 4 year old who i conceived with no problem and i'm sure i have had pcos for years! have been ttc my second child for 9 months and have suffered 1 bio chemical pregnancy, and since had no luck. my doctor has done an ovulation blood test which showed that i hadn't ovulated on my last cycle, have to wait until this next cycle to do a comparison test, then my doctor will decide what the next step will be. she has mentioned that she probably will put me on clomid, i'm a little apprehensive to go on this as i know the side effects can be bad and i have heard it can make endometriosis worse, my question is has anyone experienced similar problems?has anyone taken clomid or currently taking clomid?or should i be referred back to my gyni in case my endometriosis has got worse? it would be really great to hear your story's as i'm feeling very torn with what to do

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Kerry Dec 11, 2012 05:20:15 PM ET

I have had severe endometriosis since high school. after years of not being able to conceive.. we did invitro. had a laproscopy first and we got pregnant. my beautiful daughter is 5 now. we tried two more times and nothing but i didn't do the laproscopy so maybe that helps when you clean all that goop out first. anyway just encouragement that invitro worked for us!

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