Endometriosis and fertility
Endometriosis is a condition that affects women. With endometriosis, the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus finds its way outside of the uterus. This tissue can attach to various places, often in the pelvic area. Endometriosis is common, but it can look different in every woman. Most women have a mild form with just a few spots of tissue outside the uterus. This may involve no pain or very little pain. Other women can have more severe endometriosis with a lot of pain and other challenges.
Here are some common symptoms:
- Fertility problems
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Pain during sex
- Pelvic pain that doesn’t go away
The only way to know for sure if you have endometriosis by doing a laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is surgery that’s done as an outpatient. Your doctor makes a small cut near your belly button. Then they insert a tiny camera. This allows the doctor to look at the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other pelvic organs. Sometimes the tissue can be taken out during the laparoscopy. Based on what they find, your doctor may order more tests. This includes an ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
If endometriosis is mild, many women don’t need any treatment. Lifestyle changes like exercise and relaxation techniques can help. Some women feel better with medications like birth control pills or other hormone therapies. Others may need surgery.
It’s unknown how endometriosis can affect fertility. But, many women have a hard time getting pregnant. Talk to your doctor about ways to create a family. You may choose medications, insemination or surrogacy. Or foster parenting or adoption may be an option for you.
Here are a few things to know about fertility treatments:
- They can be expensive. Find out if you have insurance coverage for fertility treatments. If so, ask which types of treatment are covered
- Check to see if your employer offers fertility benefits. If yes, which one(s)?
- State laws vary, which can impact your fertility choices. Find up-to-date information by state about laws and coverage at https://resolve.org/
Going through fertility treatments can be stressful. You may have mixed emotions. You’re not alone. Reach out to loved ones and your fertility care team to make sure you and your partner find support during your fertility journey
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