Millions of women struggle with the pain and frustrating symptoms of endometriosis, a condition that causes your endometrial tissue to grow outside your uterus on your fallopian tubes, ovaries, intestines, and other parts of the body. It triggers symptoms and issues, such as:
For many women, this condition can affect your fertility, making it harder to conceive and increasing your risk of miscarriage. In fact, many women are diagnosed when they have issues starting their family.
The good news is that Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and the team at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, specialize in treating endometriosis, helping you manage your symptoms and improving your chances of getting pregnant and delivering a happy, healthy baby.
When you have endometriosis, the tissue that normally lines your uterus (the endometrium) grows in the wrong places. It continues to grow with every menstrual cycle, and over time, this leads to scar tissue and other issues that can impact your ability to conceive and carry a child.
At least 50% of diagnosed women struggle to get pregnant. In fact, endometriosis is one of the top three causes of infertility in women.
The ways endometriosis affects your fertility depends on the location of the tissue and other factors, such as your age and the severity of the condition. The older you are and the longer you’ve had endometriosis, the more scar tissue you’re likely to have, which can impede sperm and increase infertility.
Scar tissue and excess endometrial tissue can also obstruct the pathways of your fallopian tubes, making it difficult if not impossible for your eggs to leave your ovaries. When this happens, conception can’t occur.
You might also have trouble conceiving because of inflammation in the lining of your uterus, which triggers molecules called cytokines. These molecules interfere with the chemistry of sperm and eggs, preventing fertilization from occurring.
For women who conceive with endometriosis, it’s important to understand the condition also increases your risk of issues during pregnancy. For example, endometriosis more than doubles your odds of having an ectopic pregnancy.
Women with endometriosis are also over 60% more likely to suffer from a miscarriage than women without endometriosis. The condition also raises your chances of having gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, preterm labor/delivery, and a baby with a low birth weight.
If you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis, it’s important to seek prenatal care as early as possible in your pregnancy for your health and the health of your baby.
The good news is that most women with endometriosis can still get pregnant. The condition could make it more difficult to conceive, but for most women, your chances of getting pregnant are good provided you take action.
One of the best things you can do is take steps to manage your endometriosis before you start trying to get pregnant. This is because there’s no cure for endometriosis, but certain treatments can help slow or prevent the development of the scar tissue that makes conception difficult.
At Alpenglow Gynecology, Rickie creates a personalized endometriosis treatment plan depending on your condition and what stage of family planning you are in when seeking treatment. For women with mild or moderate endometriosis not yet trying to get pregnant, Rickie may suggest:
For women who’ve been trying to conceive, Rickie may suggest medications to temporarily stop ovulation to halt the progress of endometriosis. Once your cycle resumes, your odds of conceiving increase.
In some cases, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery may be the best way to improve your chances of getting pregnant. This surgery removes the scar tissue, making it easier for you to get pregnant and lowering your odds of endometriosis-related complications during pregnancy.
Learn more about treatments for endometriosis and how this condition affects your fertility by contacting Rickie at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, today.