Endometriosis and Fertility
Endometriosis is a common but often misunderstood condition that affects up to 10% of women, and can often disrupt fertility.
What is endometriosis?
During the course of a typical menstrual cycle, the lining inside a woman’s uterus, or endometrium, builds up thickness in anticipation of the arrival of a fertilized egg or embryo. If the egg does not get fertilized or the embryo does not implant in the uterus, the built-up uterine lining sheds and exits the body via the vagina as a menstrual period.
In a woman with endometriosis, the tissue that’s normally found inside the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus, often around organs in the pelvic cavity. Because endometrial cells build up and shed each month in response to hormones, the resulting tissue can:
- cause pain and pressure from the tissue shedding/bleeding internally;
- become scar tissue, create adhesions and cause “chronic discomfort”;
- interfere with reproductive organ function and fertility;
- prevent fertilization by secreting fluids and/or physically blocking tubes. ₁
While some women suffer with debilitating symptoms like intensely painful periods, pain with intercourse, or heavy bleeding, others experience mild or no symptoms. Some women may be able to conceive without treatment while others will need some degree of medical intervention to get pregnant.
Sobering statistics on the diagnosis of endometriosis include:
- 4 million+ reproductive-age women have been diagnosed with endometriosis in the United States;
- The time between the onset of the first symptom to a surgical diagnosis of endometriosis is 4 to 11 years;
- Approximately 6 out of 10 women with endometriosis in the United States are undiagnosed. ₂
Treatment options for endometriosis
Approximately 30% of patients with fertility challenges are diagnosed with endometriosis. Fortunately, treatment options for endometriosis include hormone management, laparoscopic surgery to destroy or remove the tissue, and/or IVF. Your RMA Long Island IVF physician can recommend the best option for your particular case.
If it’s determined that IVF is a treatment option, you may be entitled to up to three covered IVF treatment cycles under New York’s new IVF Insurance Mandate law that went into effect on January 1, 2020. Under the new law, certain employers are now required to cover IVF.
If you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis, or if you struggle with painful periods and heavy bleeding and have been unable to conceive, scheduling a consultation with an RMA Long Island IVF physician could be the best next step on your path to parenthood. Contact us today.