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does endometriosis affect fertility

How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility and Pregnancy?

As we continue our series about endometriosis, today we address how endo might affect fertility and pregnancy.

Endometriosis Does Not Equal Infertility

Having endometriosis does not automatically mean that you will never have children. What it does mean is that you might have more trouble getting pregnant. About 30% of those with endometriosis have trouble with fertility and struggle to get pregnant. Others with endometriosis have no difficulty getting pregnant, or eventually get pregnant after utilizing medical interventions including surgery to remove endometrial growths, or reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization to help with conception.

Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?

An estimated 5-25% of women with infertility have endometriosis (Fadhlaoui, Bouquet de la Jolinière, & Feki, 2014). Although the exact ways in which the disease may affect fertility are not fully understood, they may include:

  • Causes pelvic pain that makes sex uncomfortable or painful
  • Inflammation of the uterus that impairs fertility
  • Problems with the quality of the egg cells
  • Environmental changes that negatively affect sperm and the ability of a fertilized egg to implant in the uterine wall
  • Pelvic adhesions and endometrial growths that prevent egg cell release and travel along the fallopian tube
  • Adhesions and growths that can physically block the movement of sperm

When to See Your Doctor

If you have endometriosis and are concerned about fertility, go see your doctor or get a referral to a doctor that specializes in fertility. Fertility specialists can help determine how healthy your egg supply is and help determine which procedures that might benefit you.

Endometriosis, Pregnancy & Delivery

Once pregnant, those with endo might worry about how the disease might impact their pregnancy and delivery.

Endometriosis is a risk factor for the following pregnancy complications:

  • Pre-term birth: the baby being born before 40 weeks
  • Bleeding after the 24th week of pregnancy and complications with the placenta
  • Pre-eclampsia, or high blood pressure
  • Delivery by caesarean section

So, it’s very important to receive ongoing maternal care throughout the pregnancy to help monitor these risks.

Does Pregnancy Cure Endometriosis?

Pregnancy does not cure endometriosis. In some cases, symptoms may improve during pregnancy due to higher levels of the progesterone hormone in the body can help suppress endometrial growth. These effects may only be temporary and many experience a return in symptoms after delivery.

How Does Pelvic Floor Therapy Fit in?

Pelvic floor therapy will not cure endometriosis or reverse endometrial growths. What we can do is help alleviate pelvic pain, making sex and medical visits easier. Whether you plan on conceiving naturally through sexual intercourse, or with the help of reproductive procedures like intra-uterine-insemination (IUI) or in-vitro-fertilization (IVF), your pelvic floor should be able to accommodate and not cause you more undue pain. Pelvic floor therapy can also help reduce pain during pregnancy and help the body prepare for labor and delivery.

For More Information

Endometriosis Foundation of America: https://www.endofound.org/infertility
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656

Click here for more great articles on endometriosis.

 

Resources

Sanders, W.B., (1999). WHO Scientific Group Report. Philadelphia, PA: WB Sanders; (1999). 249 p.

Fadhlaoui, A., Bouquet de la Jolinière, J., & Feki, A. (2014). Endometriosis and Infertility: How and When to Treat? Frontiers in Surgery, 1, 24. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsurg.2014.00024

Stephansson O, Kieler H, Granath F, Falconer H., (2009). Endometriosis assisted reproduction technology, and risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Human Reproduction. 24(9): 2341-7.

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I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

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My husband and I were married for 5 years before we were able to have intercourse due to my vaginismus. There was nothing traumatic in my past but for some reason, even though I wanted sex, I mentally avoided "that area" of my body and didn't even admit to myself that there was a problem for a long time, even though I was never able to put tampons in. Once I finally opened my eyes up to the fact that I had a problem, I had a surgery that was supposed to fix the issue.

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I wish i could give this place 10 stars!! 
I have been suffering from vaginismus for 5 years and never found the cure to it. I had seen an ob/gyn and he diagnosed me with vaginismus and told me i needed a surgery to cure my condition, which i refused to do. He also referred me to a PT that he works with, i had given them multiple calls and they never responded back to me, so i started searching yelp for another PT. I am SO HAPPY I found Heather's office! I was working with Laureen, and with her guidance and techniques i was able to be cured from vaginismus in only 2 1/2 short months!!! I couldn't believe how quickly their program worked for me! I am forever grateful and thankful from Heather, and Laureen! They are the absolute best at what they do!

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My husband and I were married for 5 years and unable to have intercourse, but I never knew why. After numerous awful experiences at doctor’s offices (where many doctors told me I “just needed to relax”), a surgery that didn’t fix the problem, and a year of owning dilators that didn’t get me anywhere, someone finally referred me to Heather for Physical Therapy. I finally had answers and information from someone who knew exactly what I was dealing with!

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Before I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat I was living in a nightmare. I had been married to my husband for three years and I was suffering from Vaginismus. That all changed when I visited my OBGYN and she said she knew of someone with a great success rate. To be honest I was hesitant at first because my first doctor had already told me that all I needed to do was order dilators from the internet and I should overcome my problem. She was wrong because I had followed the book on how to use the dilators with absolutely no advancements in my condition. However, that all changed when I went in for my first visit and Heather took the time to explain my condition and how we were going to work together to overcome it.

I remember leaving her office with a glimmer of hope that I could live a normal life. As my sessions continued I began to see immediate results. With only four sessions and a strict dedication to my home programs I was cured of Vaginismus. In the beginning of this process I was made aware that my health insurance company might not cover the costs, which was disappointing but today I can say one hundred percent that it was the best money I ever spent. Now thanks to Heather I am finally enjoying my life to the fullest with my husband. Thank you Heather, I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate all that you have done for me. I will never forget it. Those who are suffering from these types of conditions don’t be afraid because she makes you feel so comfortable and the end result is worth it. Good luck to you all and I hope you experience the success I have.
-- A.B.

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