Endometriosis

If you suspect you may have endometriosis, know that you are not alone. Endometriosis affects around 10 percent of women — that’s more than six million women worldwide. Most of these women are not infertile.

Although endometriosis is a known factor for thirty percent of women experiencing infertility, there is good news: whether you wish to become pregnant of not, with early detection and diagnosis, endometriosis is treatable.

This is why it’s so important for women who suspect they might have endometriosis to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist as soon as possible.

MaleInfertilityENDOMETRIOSIS TREATMENT: WE CAN HELP

At Boston IVF – The Albany Center, we bring together the world’s leading reproductive endocrinologists with local, accessible care right here in Albany.

Our fertility specialists have over 30 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis at all stages. Whether your goal is to manage and treat your endometriosis, or to become pregnant despite an endometriosis diagnosis, we can help.

YOUR FIRST STEP: MANAGING ENDOMETRIOSIS

If you are experiencing pain related to menstruation, or if you suspect endometriosis may be causing challenges in becoming pregnant, we recommend that you meet with a fertility specialist in order to receive proper evaluation and accurate diagnosis.

At Boston IVF – The Albany Center, our own Dr. Elguero is an expert in endometriosis diagnosis and treatment. Her expert care and treatment for women with endometriosis begins with a comprehensive analysis to ensure your path to parenthood is as seamless as possible.

WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?

The tissue that lines the inside of the uterine cavity is called the endometrium. Normally, this lining is shed through a woman’s cervix each month during menstruation.

Women with endometriosis experience menstruation very differently. Rather than traveling through the cervix and exiting the body during her period, the endometrial lining is shed down and out the end of the fallopian tubes, into other areas of the body, such as surrounding the ovaries.

Whether a woman has endometriosis or not, her endometrial cells behave the same way: they grow and menstruate each month. The key difference for women with endometriosis is that her endometrial cells are in an abnormal location. When the cells grow and menstruate each month, they can cause inflammation and scarring outside of the uterus.

Build-up of scar tissue over time can cause infection and severe pain. Left untreated, endometrial lining has the potential to grow to block the fallopian tubes and ovaries, which then prevents successful pregnancy.

TREATMENT FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS

At Boston IVF – The Albany Center, our goal is to suppress endometriosis, control its progression, and address your symptoms without affecting your fertility.

Your Boston IVF doctor will create a personalized treatment plan based on your diagnostic testing and medical history, with the objective of utilizing the best treatment option for you.

Successful treatment options include:

ORAL MEDICATIONS: For women who do not wish to become pregnant immediately, oral medications successfully stop the growth of endometriosis by reducing your body’s estrogen production.

LAPAROSCOPY: This minor surgical procedure is one of the most accurate diagnostic tools at for endometrial growth. During a laparoscopy procedure, your doctor can also remove any endometrial tissue found on your fallopian tubes or ovaries.

IVF: When endometriosis is causing infertility, IVF is often recommended as a first-line treatment to allow successful pregnancy.

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ENDOMETRIOSIS AND INFERTILITY FAST FACTS

  • Women who are having difficulty becoming pregnant may discover their endometriosis diagnosis through fertility testing.
  • Endometriosis leads to scarring or adhesions in the pelvis and reproductive organs
  • Endometriosis can damage or block a woman’s fallopian tubes, impeding the journey of the egg to the uterus
  • Endometriosis can cause ovarian cysts
  • Endometriosis can cause other problems inside the uterus, impeding embryo implantation and growth
  • Your endometriosis diagnosis may be a temporary roadblock in your journey to building a family, but with early detection and treatment, it does not have to factor into your fertility success.

 

12ENDOMETRIOSIS PAIN AND SYMPTOMS

There’s a reason endometriosis sometimes goes untreated: some women have zero symptoms. For others, an ‘unexplained infertility’ diagnosis is actually caused by endometriosis – in which case their ‘symptom’ of endometriosis is infertility.

Some women with endometriosis experience pain ranging from moderate to severe. Still, some women may attribute the pain associated with endometriosis to regular menstrual cramping and discomfort, delaying the early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Women experiencing symptoms of endometriosis may notice:

  • painful menstrual cramps
  • painful periods
  • low back pain
  • pain after intercourse
  • painful bowel movements
  • abnormal bleeding during menstruation
  • infertility

 

DIAGNOSING ENDOMETRIOSIS

Although your symptoms may lead you to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist for an evaluation, endometriosis cannot be confirmed from symptoms alone.

In addition to a comprehensive medical history evaluation including your history of symptoms, your doctor will need to perform testing in order to confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis. Your doctor will determine an appropriate diagnostic test based on your unique medical history and symptoms. Reliable diagnostic tests include:

pelvic exam: assessing pelvic tenderness or collections of endometriosis, called ‘endometriomas’

pelvic ultrasound: to display the presence of endometriomas

laparoscopy: an outpatient surgical procedure. A laparoscopy is the only sure way of confirming the presence of endometriosis.

After reviewing your medical history, performing diagnostic testing, and speaking with you about your symptoms, your doctor will be able to classify your condition as Stage 1 (Minimal), Stage 2 (Mild), Stage 3 (Moderate), or Stage 4 (Extensive). The amount of scarring and diseased tissue found via laparoscopy designates which stage of endometriosis is present for you.