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Conceiving with Endometriosis: Increase your chances for a baby today

July 02, 2021

Conceiving with Endometriosis: Increase your chances for a baby today

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. 

Woman in pain from endometriosis

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?

1 – Start charting your cycle
Using a fertility awareness method to chart your cycle is a great place to start, especially when you are planning to conceive. You can use the method to chart your bleeding length (quality and quantity – heavy bleed, large clots, etc.), confirm ovulation, and to record when in your cycle the pain occurs. There are many methods available, but if you are using it to strictly track your endo, then a symptothermal (cervical mucus and basal body thermometer) method is a great option! Tempdrop can be a great addition to tracking your basal body temperature versus using a standard conventional thermometer. The method is key to confirming ovulation and timing intercourse correctly to increase your chances of conceiving every cycle. 
2 – Find a Naturopath who specializes in the condition
Seek out a naturopath who specializes in the condition and is well-versed in reading a chart. They can assist you in making changes to improve fertility, including hormone analysis and supplement support. Eat healthy, balanced meals when trying to conceive with endometriosis
3 – Implement evidence-based dietary recommendations 
There has been some research to suggest that increasing your omega-3 and fish intake can result in a reduction of endometrial implantations. Other recommendations include reducing your intake of trans fats and red meats, as well as increasing overall intake of vegetables. Regardless of whether TTC, omega-3s are a valuable addition during pregnancy and the pre-conception period. Find other dietary recommendations here.
4 – Consider Vaginal Steaming
Vaginal steaming is an ancient tradition and more recently has been re-popularized by the Steamy Chick institute. In fact, the institution completed a fourth trimester study that had promising research to support the use of vaginal steaming in the postpartum period. Although no study has been completed on its effect specifically for endometriosis, it may be a reasonable option for improving overall pain and the quality of menstrual blood flow and increasing your chances of conception. 

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

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.

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