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Another Painful Period…or a Problem? Understanding Endometriosis
Date:3/25/2013

ometrial tissue grows in areas without nerve endings that activate pain signals.

Common symptoms of endometriosis include painful menstruation, pain during sexual activity, and painful urination or bowel movements during menstruation. Endometriosis may also cause fatigue, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, recurrent yeast infections, chemical sensitivities, and allergies.

For many women, infertility is also a common symptom. Scarring and adhesions from endometriosis can restrict movement of the ovaries, change the position of the fallopian tubes and ovaries, as well as block the fallopian tubes. Endometriosis can also increase production of prostaglandins, the hormones that affect fertility.

Roughly 35 to 50 percent of women diagnosed with endometriosis also have infertility, with endometriosis being one of the top three causes of infertility.

How is endometriosis treated?

Endometrial tissue only forms in women with active ovarian hormone production, restricting diagnoses to women of reproductive age. By regulating hormone production with medication or birth control, symptoms can be greatly reduced, minimalizing scarring and adhesions.

To improve fertility, doctors can surgically remove adhesions and scar tissue in the female reproductive system. Surgical options are not always necessary to achieve pregnancy, however. Stimulation of the ovaries with fertility medications and in vitro fertilization will often overcome the impact of endometriosis on fertility. IVF allows doctors to bypass any damaged tissue due to endometriosis. Using medications such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRH–A) can help improve pregnancy rates as well.

Not all individuals with endometriosis are infertile. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of women with endometriosis conceive. While this is a p
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