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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lori Davidson

How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?

Endometriosis is a common and often debilitating condition that affects as many as 10% of women of reproductive age. Not only is it a painful condition, many women with endometriosis have a difficult time conceiving. Still, up to 25% of women who have endometriosis have no symptoms at all. If you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis, it’s perfectly normal to wonder how it may impact your fertility.

Understanding endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the womb. Health professionals use stages to classify endometriosis. Keep in mind that the stages don’t necessarily correspond to the severity of your symptoms.

There are four stages of endometriosis.

Endometriosis stage 1

In stage one, we see minimal endometrial tissue implanted outside of the womb. The implanted tissue is small and appears shallow. Having stage one endometriosis doesn’t mean that your pain is minimal or that the impact on your daily life is low. A woman with stage one endometriosis can have significant pain.

Endometriosis stage 2

In stage two endometriosis, we find more implants that are deeper than stage one. However, at this stage of endometriosis, the number of implants are mild.

Endometriosis stage 3

Stage three is the moderate stage of endometriosis. This means that there are many deep implants, as well as endometrial cysts found on the ovaries. We also see other abnormalities at this stage, including scar tissue.

Endometriosis stage 4

Women with stage four endometriosis have a more severe stage of the condition. In this stage, there are many deep implants, scar tissue, and large cysts on at least one ovary. The severity refers to how much tissue has implanted outside of the uterus, and how deep it has implanted into other organs and tissues.

Endometriosis and infertility

Between 30% and 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility. Women with stage three and four endometriosis are more likely to have trouble conceiving than women with stage one and two.

As the endometrial and scar tissue proliferates, there is a higher likelihood of it growing around the fallopian tubes or ovaries, interfering with normal function. Surgically removing visible endometriosis may improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Improving fertility

Before starting any treatment, Dr. Davidson will perform a comprehensive fertility evaluation. This may include hormones tests, along with other relevant blood tests. In women with advanced stages of endometriosis, scar tissue may block the fallopian tubes. Fertility medication, as well as in vitro fertilization, is often recommended for women with stage three and four endometriosis who are having trouble getting pregnant.

Endometriosis influences fertility in several ways. Dr. Davidson will work with you to treat your endometriosis and explore fertility options to improve your chances of conceiving. For more information on endometriosis and fertility treatment, schedule a visit with Dr. Davidson at the Greenwood, Indiana office. Call the office or book online today. 

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