Women's Health Last updated on 2022-03-25 18:49:33
Endometriosis and Pregnancy
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 2 Min Read
- Fact Checked
IntroductionEndometriosis is a common condition that affects 1 in 10 women of the reproductive age group. The condition affects menstrual cycles and can lead to complications like infertility. About 30-50% of women affected with endometriosis face infertility issues. Not only this, but endometriosis can also cause complications in already pregnant women. Treatment for this condition most often involves the prevention of ovulation.
What is endometriosis?The uterus is lined by endometrial tissue that sheds every month during the menstrual cycle. In endometriosis, this tissue is present in abnormal locations like the ovary and the fallopian tubes. In every cycle, these tissues also undergo shedding leading to local inflammation. And like endometrial tissue in the uterus, they respond to hormones and cause period pain. And this monthly process leads to scarring and structure formation.
Getting pregnant with endometriosisEvery month, one of the two ovaries releases the ovum, which is transmitted through the fallopian tubes and reaches the uterus. Endometriosis does lead to infertility in some women. Ovaries are affected, which can lead to problems in conceiving. There can be kinks or constriction in the tubes, which interferes with the normal movement of the ovum. Endometriosis also directly affects the sperm and ovum, which can be in the form of oxidant damage.
What should one do when planning for pregnancy?
(1) Get a doctor's opinion: each patient's treatment plan is formulated based on the age and severity of endometriosis.
(2) Surgery: one of the treatment options for endometriosis is removing the extra tissue, and this, in turn, can help in getting pregnant.
(3) In-vitro fertilization: one of the effective management options for endometriosis is in-vitro fertilization in affected patients.There are some complications of endometriosis in pregnancy, such as the incidence of preeclampsia, placenta previa, preterm labor, and miscarriages are high.
Endometriosis and pregnancy: when to speak to a doctor?It is advised to see a doctor before you plan for pregnancy. There might be a need for blood tests and radiological investigation, which will help understand the extent of the condition. Few medications can induce ovulation if the woman finds it hard to conceive. Even after getting pregnant, if there are any symptoms of pain, bleeding or decreased baby movements, or restlessness, the doctor has to be approached immediately to rule out any complications.
How to improve the chances of conceiving with endometriosis?Unfortunately, there are no natural ways to treat endometriosis. And the condition itself is unpredictable and may regress. Following a healthy lifestyle like maintaining a healthy body weight, physical activity, and a nutrient-rich diet can also help in increasing the chances of getting pregnant with endometriosis. One might wonder why medications don't help. There is no scientific evidence that drugs can increase the chances of pregnancy. Most of the medications suggested are to prevent ovulation which in turn affects the fertility status of the individual. So medications are not much of choice in endometriosis.
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