What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which
the cells that are normally found in the lining of the
uterus escape the uterus through the fallopian tubes
into places like the intestines and the ovaries. During
the period, these cells try to bleed out in the same
way that the rest of the utering lining does, but they
can't get out, so they can cause serious pain. The tissue
can become irritated and tissue of organs surrounding
the uterus can become bound together by adhesions. There
can also be scarring and and cysts on the reproductive
What Causes Endometriosis?
There is some debate about what causes endometriosis,
but one theory is that sometimes during her period a
woman may bleed into her fallopian tubes and that rarely
some of that blood may escape into the pelvic cavity.
Another theory is that endometriosis happens much earlier
in a woman's life, when she is still an embryo and the
cells are still capable of assuming any task.
How is it Diagnosed?
A definitive diagnosis can only be made with a laparascopy,
which is a very minor operation. In a laparascopy, the
surgeon makes a very small incision and inserts a tube
with a camera into the pelvis to look for adhesion and
endometrial implants. Endometrial implants are groups
of endometrial cells or cells of the type that line
What Does it Mean in Terms of Fertility?
While some women with endometriosis will be able to
get pregnant with no difficulty at all, some women will
have fertility problems. Medical professionals estimate
that around 70% of women with endometriosis will get
pregnant within three years even without treatment.
There are two causes of infertility in women with endometriosis.
The first is structural: adhesions or scar tissue can
block the fallopian tubes. The second is hormonal: the
hormones secreted by the endometrial tissue disrupt
the regular hormone balance in the body. Hormonal treatment
may help in some cases.
If there is a structural blockage, doctors may be able
to perform what is referred to as conservative
surgery to repair the damage. Success depends
upon the level of damage.
If the ovaries respond to hormonal stimulation, often
artificial insemination works. If the fallopian tubes
are badly damaged, though, IVF
is a better option. Generally, doctors will move to
IVF if artificial insemination is unsuccessful for several
cycles even if they cannot discern any visible damage
to the fallopian tubes. IVF success rates are very good
for women under forty who suffer from endometriosis,
if they produce eggs well when given hormones to stimulate
Stories by women diagnosed with endometriosis:
* Success story
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