The Link Between Endometriosis and Infertility

The Link Between Endometriosis and Infertility

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that up to half of women struggling with infertility have endometriosis. Fortunately, treatments that reduce the pain and excessive menstrual bleeding associated with endometriosis can also help restore fertility.

Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Deborah Smith and our award-winning team at Rocky Mountain Fertility Center in Parker and Englewood, Colorado, are highly skilled in accurately diagnosing and treating infertility, including infertility linked to endometriosis.

Check these facts from Dr. Smith and our team about endometriosis, infertility, and the treatments available to counter the effects.

Understanding endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue lining the uterus also develops in other areas, including the:

This displaced tissue can also grow on the urinary bladder, bowel, cervix, and vaginal wall, but rarely occurs outside the pelvic region.

During your menstrual cycle and just before ovulation, the uterine lining (endometrium) thickens in response to hormone triggers, filling with blood to support a fertilized egg and the placenta. The lining breaks down and sheds via your period if an egg does not implant in the inner uterine wall. 

When you have endometriosis, the relocated tissue goes through a similar monthly cycle, triggered by hormones to thicken. But displaced endometrial tissue does not break down and exit the body like healthy tissue, leading to inflammation, scarring, cyst development, and symptoms that may include:

Endometriosis affects women in different ways. Some women don’t even realize they have endometriosis or find the symptoms easy to manage. Others experience significant symptoms, including infertility.

How does endometriosis cause infertility?

Endometriosis is considered a leading cause of female infertility. But not everyone with endometriosis struggles to conceive or carry a healthy pregnancy. The location of the displaced tissue often plays a role.

For instance, the condition may cause scarring or tissue buildup in an area that blocks ovulation or prevents eggs from traveling through the fallopian tubes. Endometriosis could damage sperm as they move toward the egg, blocking fertilization. The displaced tissue may also damage an egg, preventing it from implanting in the uterine wall.

Endometriosis can influence hormone levels or develop into ovarian cysts that interfere with egg maturation and ovulation. Fortunately, Dr. Smith and our Rocky Mountain Fertility Center team offer solutions for infertility related to endometriosis.

Treating endometriosis and infertility

Treating endometriosis varies and often depends on your desire to become pregnant. 

For instance, if you are not interested in having a child, you may respond well to medications. Your plan may include birth control pills to control hormones, progestin to stop menstrual periods and endometrial tissue growth, or drugs that prevent ovarian hormones.

If you’re interested in becoming a parent, Dr. Smith might recommend fertility treatments that increase the chance of an embryo implanting in the uterus.

Based on fertility evaluation results, your strategy may include the following:

Dr. Smith may also recommend minimally invasive laparoscopic infertility surgery as a treatment option to remove the displaced endometrial tissue affecting fertility. But this surgery is not a cure, since the tissue can eventually regrow.

Don’t let endometriosis interfere with your desire to have a child. Instead, schedule an evaluation at Rocky Mountain Fertility Center today. Call our office or request an appointment online. We can help.

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