Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue, which usually lines the womb, grows outside the womb. As well as causing pain, endometriosis can lead to fertility problems in up to half of sufferers.
The reasons for this are not absolutely clear, but may be due to interference with ovulation or the build up of scar tissue. Whether or not IVF should be used as a treatment option depends upon factors such as your age, the severity of the endometriosis and whether there are any other fertility issues.
What causes Endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis remains unknown, although there have been a few possible theories put forward. These include genetic predisposition, immune dysfunction and environmental causes.
What are the symptoms?
Endometriosis has similar symptoms to other gynaecological conditions, some of the common symptoms are:
- Chronic pain
- Heavy painful periods
- Depressed mood
The only accurate way to diagnose it is with a laproscopy which involves a camera being inserted into the pelvis to check for signs of endometriosis.
How does Endometriosis affect fertility?
In endometriosis, tissue which usually lines the womb migrates elsewhere in the body. This tissue bleeds every month as part of the menstrual cycle. However, there is no way of this blood to exit the body, which can lead to inflammation and a build up of scar tissue. This may damage the reproductive organs.
Endometriosis & IVF treatment
There is currently no cure for endometriosis, but there are some treatments to relieve its symptoms. Sometimes endometriosis can be treated with surgery, such as the laparoscopy mentioned above, or by hormone treatment. However, while relieving the pain caused by endometriosis, such treatments can potentially damage fertility and should be undertaken with caution. In severe cases, removal of the ovaries or womb is recommended.
For infertility caused by endometriosis, rates of pregnancy are much improved with IVF treatment. Exactly which treatment is right for you depends on a variety of individual factors such as egg reserve, so we offer tailor-made treatment protocols depending on each patient’s needs.
Taking fertility drugs can sometimes exacerbate endometriosis, as the hormones can cause the lining of the womb to develop more quickly. Taking a more natural approach is therefore recommended. At CREATE we give lower doses of drugs to our patients as we believe that this maximises the quality of the eggs collected and the environment of the womb for implantation. Our Natural and Mild treatments are therefore a good option as they minimise or eradicate the risks associated with taking stimulating drugs. Our Natural treatment in particular may be appropriate as it does not have any stimulating drugs whatsoever. One of our doctors will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation at an initial consultation.
Want to discuss your options?
Get in touch with us to discuss any further questions or to book an appointment.