Can I Still Get Pregnant If I Have Endometriosis?
When the tissue that normally lines the inner walls of your uterus grows outside of the organ, you have an often-painful disease known as endometriosis. This out-of-place tissue continues to function as it would if it were in the uterus. It gets thicker to prepare for possible pregnancy and breaks down and sheds during menstruation. However, there’s no way for it to leave the body as it normally would, which creates pain and other complications over time.
One of these complications is fertility issues. About 40% of women who are having trouble conceiving also have active endometriosis. About 5 million women in America have endometriosis, so that’s about 2 million who have difficulty becoming pregnant. While endometriosis can make pregnancy difficult, it’s still possible to conceive and deliver a child.
The mysteries of endometriosis
The precise cause of endometriosis isn’t known, and there’s much about the disease that still raises questions. However, there’s been much research into the condition, and while it’s still not fully understood, medicine can navigate around endometriosis with greater confidence.
Over 30% of women with endometriosis do get pregnant naturally, without any medical intervention, so having the condition doesn’t immediately rule out pregnancy. It depends more on how the problem manifests itself in each case.
How endometriosis can affect fertility
Where endometrial tissue takes hold outside of the uterus is perhaps the biggest roadblock to pregnancy, and it’s quite literally a roadblock. Misplaced endometrial tissue can physically block both sperm and egg, meaning fertilization can’t take place. Even if fertilization occurs, endometrial tissue can prevent a fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. An egg can even embed in the misplaced tissue, a condition called ectopic pregnancy.
Endometriosis can also affect fertility by changing your body’s hormone balance. Your immune system may struggle with endometriosis and attack a fertilized egg in error, or it may cause irregularities in normal endometrial tissue in the uterus.
Fertility treatments for endometriosis
Your doctor assesses your fertility, and if irregular hormone levels are found during testing, hormone therapy can address them. Adjusting hormone levels could normalize your ovulation cycle and make it easier for you to conceive naturally.
In vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination may be viable. That technique may be paired with controlled ovarian stimulation to assure the presence of an egg.
When endometriosis blocks the path through your fallopian tubes, surgery to remove the tissue may improve your chances of pregnancy. Surgery can be successful up to 80% of the time, but it depends on how severe your endometriosis is. There can be complications from the surgery as well that create scar tissue or make your endometriosis symptoms worse.
Navigating endometriosis can be difficult enough without the added complication of trying to conceive. The women’s health specialists at Tubal Ligation Reversal Center are ready to partner with you through these challenges. Call the office or request an appointment using the online tool. Get started on the road to a successful pregnancy today.