Endometriosis and Trying to ConceiveLori 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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