Written by Tarina Mosley
Have you been suffering from endometriosis? Have you been diagnosed with the condition and are now trying to conceive (TTC)?
There are things that you should know, or have been told, with regards to the condition. Particularly important are ways to manage and preserve your fertility.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic pelvic disorder in which endometrial-like tissue grows outside the uterus. This can include growth on the reproductive structures and the bowels, amongst other tissues. You can learn more in an article from last week.
It is an inflammatory process that's one of the leading causes of pelvic pain, and it is associated with infertility. The condition can be incredibly painful and debilitating and can severely impact quality of life, as well as your fertility.
This condition affects about 10% of menstruators around the world. Diagnosis can occur via ultrasound, but the gold standard of diagnosis is by surgical means. Treatment options can impact overall fertility, and it’s important to be informed in management of the condition to assist in preserving your fertility while TTC.
Conventional management typically comes in the forms of hormonal suppression, surgical removal and/or IUD placement.
How do you know if your endometriosis will cause infertility?
This answer depends a lot on the stage of endometriosis with which you have been diagnosed – with stage four being the most severe. In most cases, people with stage one endometriosis need little support in conceiving, and the endometrial tissue will have less impact on fertility. The more advanced the stage of endo, the more likely you are to require support, medication, and/or surgery.
Should I get surgery to restore my fertility if my endometriosis is advanced?
This is a loaded question, and it depends a lot on personal circumstances and factors. Surgery is an option, but the research suggests that surgery should only occur in the hands of a skilled surgeon, which increases your chances of fertility preservation. Laparoscopy surgeries can impact ovarian reserve (how many eggs are leftover) due to tissue injury, so a skilled surgeon can be beneficial in reducing tissue injury. You can find a network of skilled surgeons at Nancy's Nook.
What are some positive changes that you can incorporate while TTC?
First off, I would like to recognize that endometriosis is a challenging condition, and there is no quick fix! But there are ways you can lessen the pain and/or effects on your overall quality of life and increase your chances of conception.
What are some things I can start doing?
One thing to keep in mind is to take your time and make changes slowly. Don’t overwhelm yourself by starting everything at once. Keep a good record of what improvements have been noted, and slowly make sustainable changes over time. It can be a journey, and I empathize with you. Endometriosis is a challenging condition, and it may take some time to see cycle improvements and achieve a pregnancy.
Tarina Mosley is a certified fertility awareness educator through the FEMM institute and a registered midwife. She first discovered fertility awareness after experiencing a multitude of side effects from the Mirena IUD. Soon after, she herself received instruction - became obsessed with the method and sought education.
She has a passion for providing clients with comprehensive and individualized instruction based on informed choice. She has a keen interest in working with those who are trying to conceive, particularly those with PCOS.
She is based out of Alberta, Canada but provides instruction to clients all over the world. You can find her website www.fertilityfreedom.net or follow her Instagram account @fertilityfreedom.