Getting Pregnant With Endometriosis
Experts reckon that some 40%-50% of all female infertility stems from endometriosis. Endometriosis can link to infertility in a variety of ways. For one thing, women with endometriosis may find intercourse too painful. Right off the bat, a policy of no intercourse tends to limit the possibility of conception.
But another link between endometriosis and infertility is the scar tissue caused by the condition which can form around the reproductive organs such as the ovaries. The scar tissue acts as an obstacle that can make it difficult for an ovary to release its eggs. Similar adhesions affecting the fallopian tubes can block them from picking up the egg as it is released by the ovary so that it won't be transported to the uterus. In other cases, endometriosis can form scar tissue inside the fallopian tube. Such a blockage can make fertilization a bygone dream.
Other endometriosis-causing factors that can bring on infertility include the disruption of the cycle of egg development and release as well as the scavenger cells contained in the peritoneal fluid of women with endometriosis. These scavenger cells attack and destroy sperm cells making fertilization mission impossible.
The conception rate for women who undergo treatment for endometriosis spans a wide margin of from 35%-65%. It's important to note that in the case where endometriosis is mild, medical and surgical treatments don't seem to improve the odds of conception. On the other hand, the greater the severity of the endometriosis, the less likely it is that a woman will conceive after undergoing treatment. In other words, there is a very wide range in the severity of individual cases of the disease. In mild cases, treatment will not raise the rate of conception. In very severe cases, treatment will not raise the rate of conception. However, there appears to be a gray area in which treatment will cause a slight rise in the rate of conception in severe, but not very severe endometriosis.
It has been found that the rates of conception are highest in the first two years after treatment for endometriosis. Better rates of conception have been achieved in cases where the synthetic male hormone danazol is administered in conjunction with and prior to surgery. Danazol interrupts the hormonal cycle that stimulates the swelling of the endometrial tissues. This medication also prevents the pain that would otherwise be aggravated by the monthly cycle.
It is accepted that women who have mild cases of endometriosis with no pain do not increase their chances of conception by treating their condition. But where there is no other identifiable cause of infertility, most physicians will suggest treatment to stop the progression of the disease. Sometimes laparoscopic surgery is favored over other treatments.
In those patients who suffer from moderate or severe endometriosis as well as infertility, physicians find it prudent to treat the condition, even if the patient isn't experiencing great pain. Half a year's treatment with danazol or GnRH agonists, which serve to suppress the activity of the pituitary glands, followed by laparoscopic surgery is the standard treatment. In some cases, a physician chooses to treat with laparoscopic surgery as a stand-alone measure.