Endometriosis Awareness Month: Expert shares how the disease can affect women’s fertility

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Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can lead to women experiencing extreme pain during the menstrual cycle, sexual intercourse and urination. Infertility, chronic pelvic pain, nausea, abdominal bloating, fatigue, depression and anxiety among others are some of the common issues associated with endometriosis.

“The disease is estimated to affect roughly 10 per cent (190 million) women and girls, globally, who belong to the reproductive age, according to World Health Organisation. While very few women are aware of this condition,” Dr Aswati Nair, fertility consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Delhi said.

To spread awareness about the same, Endometriosis Awareness Month is observed in March, every year. Started in 1993 by Endometriosis Association, it seeks to provide support for families affected by endometriosis and spread education about the disease.

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Dr Nair shared that the symptoms of endometriosis do not come as serious concerns to individuals and are, hence, usually missed by many. “This causes a delay between noticing the onset of symptoms and diagnoses of the disorder.”

According to the expert, this disease can also lead to infertility in women. She said, “If a woman has endometriosis, it becomes difficult for the woman to become pregnant due to the lining around the uterus. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, around 30 per cent to 50 per cent of women face infertility in this condition.”

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Endometriosis influences fetility in the following ways, as shared by Dr Nair.

*Adhesions
*Distorted anatomy of the pelvis
*Scarred fallopian tubes
*Inflammation of the pelvic structures
*Altered immune system functioning
*Changes in the hormonal environment of the eggs
*Impaired implantation of a pregnancy
*Altered egg quality

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Explaining the treatment, she added, “At the time of surgery, your doctor or fertility expert will evaluate the endometriosis and the depth of the disease that you have with its size, location and amount. With this you would get to know the stage of the disease which can be considered minimal – Stage 1, mild – Stage 2, moderate – Stage 3, or severe – Stage 4. Based on the stage of the endometriosis you and your doctor will get to know how it will affect your pregnancy.”

“Women who have severe endometriosis can experience considerable scarring, damaged ovaries and blocked fallopian tubes and also difficulty becoming pregnant. Such women should consult fertility experts as they might require advanced fertility treatment,” the fertility expert suggested.

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