Can You Get Pregnant When You Have Endometriosis
Many women worry that endometriosis will affect their chances of getting pregnant.
While it doesnt mean you will struggle with conceiving, theres a chance it may cause complications .
What does endometriosis mean for you and your fertility? What options are available to you if you struggle to conceive naturally?
Below, we answer five pertinent questions you may have regarding endometriosis and fertility, including fertility treatment options like traditional IVF and using donated eggs.
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Endometriosis Diet And Conceiving
Although there are many references in online forums to diet and endometriosis there is little actual research evidence that any foods in particular should be avoid or included in your diet to help with getting pregnant with endometriosis. Reviews of the research that has been carried out have concluded that the results have not shown that diet has an effect. More research into endometriosis and diet has been recommended by NICE.
For your own physical and mental wellbeing however eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is always advised, along with drinking plenty of water.
What Are The Dangers Of Being Pregnant With Endometriosis
Several studies have indicated that endometriosis is a risk factor for complications during pregnancy. Your doctor should advise you on the potential risks associated according to the severity of your endometriosis.
The risks associated with pregnancy in women with endometriosis include increased risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, placenta displacement, spontaneous rupture of the uterus, obstructed labor, postpartum hemorrhage, and preterm birth.
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Pregnancy Planning Requires Patience Perseverance And Positive Lifestyle Strategies
Endometriosis and PCOS are two of the most common reasons behind infertility for some women, but neither condition bars you from pregnancy. To address your concerns, the best suggestion, say the experts, is Be proactive. And while increasing age can be an additional challenge, remember that age also brings wisdom and grit.
For women under 35 years, Dr. Minkin and Dr. Richard-Davis recommend seeing a fertility specialist after youve tried unsuccessfully to conceive for a full year and for women over age 35 years, after trying to achieve pregnancy for six months.
Of course, if you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis or PCOS, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. Its important to know that routine gynecological screenings do not check for PCOS or endometriosis, and often findings by ultrasound or an MRI cannot confirm a diagnosis of these conditions either.
No matter what your circumstances, play an active role in your health. Establish an approach to eating and adjust your physical activity to meet your health goals, and do ask for help if you need it. Equally important, find ways to incorporate stress-busting strategies that fit easily into your day and seek out support from friends, family, and your medical provider. Fertility is something we should all be able to talk about, rather than struggle with.
Staging And Infertility Risk
During the diagnosis of endometriosis, your doctor may refer to the stage of the disease. Staging is a way to describe the severity of your condition based on the location, amount, and depth of tissue overgrowth. The stages of endometriosis run from stage 1 for the mildest form of the disease to stage 4 for the most severe form.
As a general rule, women with stage 1 or 2 are more likely to conceive than women with stage 3 or 4. But that’s not always true.
In some cases, women with stage 1 may have more trouble getting pregnant than someone with stage 3 or 4. The risk depends largely on which organs of the female reproductive system are affected and how.
Where staging does help is with planning. For example, a woman with stage 1 or 2 endometriosis may try to conceive on her own at first, while someone with stage 3 or 4 may proceed directly to fertility treatment.
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If You Havent Been Diagnosed With Endo
If you suspect endometriosis is to blame for your infertility, chat with your doctor. They can diagnosis endometriosis and determine whether surgery or other treatments can help you get pregnant.
Symptoms that might indicate endo:
If youve been knocking boots for 6 months to a year and havent gotten your eggo preggo, surgical options and/or fertility treatments are likely to be your next step.
Your doctor or fertility specialist might suggest the following treatments:
Endometriosis And Its Effects On Fertility
Evidence suggests that about 20 to 30 percent of women with endometriosis experience difficulties with fertility. Another way of looking at it is that 70 to 80 percent of women with endometriosis will be able to conceive naturally.
Scientists dont fully understand the link between endometriosis and its effects on fertility.
Klebanoff says the impact endometriosis can have on fertility likely depends on where the endometriosis is. If the inflammation is occurring inside the pelvis, it can lead to scarring and scar tissue that can damage the fallopian tubes and make it difficult to conceive naturally. Inflammation in the pelvis can also make it harder for an embryo to successfully implant in the uterus.
Klebanoff advises his patients with suspected endometriosis who are trying to become pregnant to try to conceive for three or four months. If they still have trouble conceiving after that, he says its time to figure out if endometriosis may be interfering so that they can begin treatment. Ultimately, the further you delay treatment, the harder it becomes to conceive naturally.
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Does Endometriosis Affect Your Ability To Carry A Baby To Term
Endometriosis can increase the risk for both miscarriage and preterm birth, as well as bleeding problems.
Those kinds of risks can be hard to deal with. Its important to keep in mind that, overall, endometriosis-related complications are rare. Most experts agree that the condition doesnt have a harmful effect on the majority of pregnancies, and theres no known link between endometriosis and an increased risk of birth defects.
It can be nerve-wracking to wonder how endometriosis might affect your pregnancy. Having the condition might mean you need help conceiving, and you could be at higher risk for some complications during your pregnancy.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
- What to Expect Before Youre Expecting, 2nd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
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Getting Pregnant Withendometriosis: Fertility Facts
Many women with endometriosis are able to conceive, and help is on-hand for those navigating endometriosis and fertility.
One of the most pressing concerns on the minds of women* diagnosed with endometriosis is how the condition might affect their chances of conceiving.
As well as being associated with chronic, and sometimes debilitating pelvic pain, endometriosis is also linked to an increased difficulty in conceiving. Many women only discover they have endometriosis when seeking fertility treatments.
How does endometriosis affect fertility?
Complications caused by endometriosis can include blockages in the fallopian tubes, scarring of the tubes and ovaries, and pelvic inflammation all of which can make conception challenging. But recent figures show that the outlook for women with endometriosis who want to become pregnant might be brighter than previously thought.
Described as “the first ever blueprint seeking to improve the treatment, understanding and awareness of an often misunderstood and crippling condition”, Australias National Action Plan for Endometriosis finds that up to one in three women with endometriosis will face fertility challenges as a result of the disease.
This means two-thirds of women living with the condition can count endometriosis out as an obstacle to the success rate of conception.
It was relieving and daunting at the same time, because I was so not ready to have the family conversation I was still a baby myself.
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Complementary And Alternative Medicine For Endometriosis
Some women may find natural therapies helpful in treating endometriosis. However, as there is no medical evidence to support these claims, you should contact your healthcare provider before considering or using any of these therapies.
The following therapies can help treat some endometriosis symptoms .
- Herbal medicines: Herbs such as Chinese herbs, homeopathy, ayurvedic medicines, and naturopathy may offer relief from endometriosis pain .
- Traditional Chinese massage: Tui Na, the traditional Chinese massage, focuses on grasping and pulling certain muscles and offers relief from pain .
- Nutritional therapies: Diet plans low in fat and high in fiber aid in reducing estrogen .
- Yoga practice: Yoga helps in reducing chronic pelvic pain that arises from endometriosis. Yoga helps women with endometriosis achieve a better quality of life .
How Do You Get Pregnant Naturally With Endometriosis
Even though endometriosis may affect your chances of getting pregnant, most women with mild endometriosis are not infertile. For some people with endometriosis, surgery may increase the chances of pregnancy. However, for others with more severe disease who do not get pregnant after six to 12 months, IVF is recommended.
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Will Your Kids Also Have Endometriosis
There does seem to be hereditary link to endometriosis.
Studies of people with confirmed endometriosis have shown familial clustering. Its estimated that siblings, parents, and children of people with endometriosis are 5 to 7 times more likely to have endo than people who dont have a first-degree relative with the condition.
So if you give birth to a female kiddo , it *is* possible your kid could have it too.
Ectopic Pregnancy And Endometriosis
Statistics show that women with endometriosis typically experience more problems including an ectopic pregnancy.
Mr Tsepov says, Presence of endometriosis increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and risk of early miscarriage and can complicate pregnancy during later stages.
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, often in the fallopian tubes. These tubes connect the ovaries to the womb. So when an egg gets stuck in them, it cant develop into a baby.
According to data analysed and presented by ESHRE European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is increased from 0.6% normally to 1.6% with endometriosis, he says.
The risk of ectopic pregnancy is relatively low in the general population, with 1 in 90 pregnancies in the UK becoming ectopic. However, as consultant gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon, Mr Tsepov, says, this risk is more than doubled in women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis. This is because the condition can produce tissue and even adhesions. These interfere with the journey of the fertilised egg to the uterus.
Unfortunately, the NHS says, its not possible to save a pregnancy thats ectopic. Doctors use medicine or an operation to remove it.
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Tubal Flushing With Oil
Tubal flushing is commonly used as a diagnostic technique to check for blockages in the fallopian tubes. However, tubal flushing with oil can also increase your chances of conceiving naturally in the months following the procedure. In tubal flushing, an oil-based liquid is introduced into the uterus through a tube placed in your cervix. The solution then makes it way through your fallopian tubes, flushing them out and potentially removing blockages.
What Are The Treatments For Endometriosis
If you think you might have endometriosis, start by talking with your doctor. Endometriosis can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions that cause pelvic pain, like pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts or even irritable bowel syndrome . But the right tests can confirm what youre dealing with and help you get the appropriate treatment.
Your provider will conduct a preconception checkup or a pelvic exam to screen for the condition. If your practitioner suspects that endometriosis is a possibility, he or she will recommend a minimally invasive surgical procedure called a laparoscopy to get a better look inside the pelvic area and confirm the diagnosis. Ultrasounds and pap smears may also give your doctor a heads-up about abnormal growths.
Theres no cure for endometriosis. But addressing your symptoms can increase your odds of conceiving, not to mention reduce your pain and improve your quality of life. So its important to get treated.
Practitioners will use medications like gonadotropin-releasing hormone , oral contraceptives and synthetic forms of progesterone to treat symptomatic endometriosis. Stopping the patches from growing could make it easier to conceive after you stop taking the medication.
Your doctor might also recommend surgery to remove existing growths and improve youe odds of getting pregnant. If surgery isnt effective in helping you and your partner conceive within six months, your doctor might recommend IVF or IUI.
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What You Dont Eat Is As Important As What You Do
As weve discussed, preventing inflammation in a womans body is essential for improving fertility if you have endo.
So it makes sense that, though there are foods you should eat plenty of to help with this, there are also a few foods you should minimise or avoid.
- Sugar and processed foods these significantly increase inflammation in your body , so minimising your intake may improve your chances of falling pregnant.
- Trans fats found in foods like fast food and fried food, these fats have been shown to increase the risk and severity of endometriosis .
So the bottom line is, prioritise nourishing, whole foods, and a healthy and active lifestyle, and consider limiting inflammatory, processed foods. Remember, while endo has been linked to an increased risk of infertility, these are simple things you can do to help yourself and improve your chances of falling pregnant!
Need more support with your fertility nutrition whilst managing endometriosis? Get on the waitlist for my new program, Get Pregnant with Endo, today.
This blog was co-written by Emily Smith, a Nutrition and Dietetics student at The University of Sydney. You can find Emily on Instagram and on .
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How Quickly Can Endometriosis Grow Back After Surgery
We all want to know how quickly endometriosis can come back after surgery, and the latest research shows that it happens at a rate of 20% or higher within five years. If you have been using oral contraceptives with good success for many years before your diagnosis of stage IIIB disease , then I would recommend talking about transferring this knowledge into treatment options like Norplant® which may be more suitable than hysterectomy since they also provide protection against pelvic pain during intercourse- something no other form does!
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I Have No Pain And Im Trying To Get Pregnant
The puzzling part of endometriosis is that the degree of disease does not always correlate with the degree of pain that a patient experiences. Some women only have infertility as a consequence of endometriosis, and do not have any pain at all. For these women, the benefit of surgery is less clear, but fertility treatment can be very helpful. This could be either medication to stimulate the ovaries combined with an IUI or IVF.
To watch our On-Demand Webinar on Getting Pregnant with Endometriosis, . During this free, on-demand event, viewers will learn about the causes and symptoms of endometriosis, and the treatments that are now available to help women conceive. With proper counseling and care, the chances of getting pregnant with endometriosis are high for most women.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of March 2018.
For more information about getting pregnant with endometriosis, or for more information about egg freezing to help preserve your family-building options for the future, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 1-877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment.
Can You Get Pregnant With Adenomyosis
Adenomyosis is common among people who have given birth before, and studies confirm that it has an effect on infertility as well. Some of these women also experience pregnancy complications like preterm delivery which can be concerning because their babies are born with less time to develop in utero than normalThe recent study published by Fertility And Sterility reports one-quarter out 80 pregnancies suffered from preterm deliveries due to this condition affecting 24% all pregnant woman tested
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Underlying Causes Of Infertility In Endometriosis
The underlying causes of infertility in endometriosis vary from person to person. Some women simply experience difficulty conceiving due to hormonal imbalances caused by endometriosis. Others suffer from tubal blockage, which prevents sperm from reaching the egg. Still others have problems with implantation.
Endometriosis Can Make It Challenging To Conceive Naturally
While natural pregnancy is possible, many women with endometriosis struggle to conceive naturally.
Endometriosis can make it very challenging for some to conceive, Talebian said. And the mechanism is not always the same in everyone. In severe cases, endometriosis can cause significant scarring of the fallopian tubes making it nearly impossible for egg and sperm to meet naturally in the body.
Talebian shared that even in milder cases where a womans tubes are not impacted, other factors associated with endometriosis can inhibit fertilization.
Endometriosis is a highly inflammatory condition, she said. Inflammation in the pelvis may negatively impact the health of the egg, the sperm and create a hostile environment preventing fertilization and implantation. There is a very strong association between endometriosis and difficulty conceiving and the exact mechanisms are not entirely known and are likely not the same in everyone.
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