Pregnancy can be a joyous event that many women aspire to and long for. However, when pregnancy is complicated by endometriosis, joy is quickly replaced by fear and anxiety. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that endometriosis occurs in almost half of women experiencing infertility. This situation is indeed difficult; however, there is hope for sufferers.
Why Pregnancy can be Difficult with Endometriosis
Many women with endometriosis may also have trouble conceiving. Infertility problems could be caused by inflammation triggered by chemicals called cytokines.
The release of these chemicals occurs when the immune system perceives a threat. In the case of endometriosis, this threat is the endometrial tissue that grows outside of the uterus.
In fact, since endometriosis can grow on the ovaries, cytokines can affect the ability to produce healthy eggs, which are less likely to become fertile.
Medical Treatment Options
With any case of endometriosis, you should seek your doctor’s council, especially if you plan to get pregnant. Unfortunately, the worse your endometriosis the harder it is to conceive. However, in these cases, your gynecologist may recommend a laparoscopic procedure to remove any excess endometrial tissue. It may sound scary, but this procedure has lower risks than traditional surgery.
- Instead of creating a large opening in the pelvic area, the surgeon makes small incisions.
- The surgeon then inserts a tiny camera in order to locate the renegade endometrial tissue.
- If needed, one or two very small additional incisions are made to better remove as much excess tissue as possible.
- The procedure is done on an outpatient basis.
- Recovery time is usually about one week, depending on the severity of the endometriosis. The patient can expect to return to normal activity in no time.
Unfortunately, this surgery is only recommended for women with mild to moderate endometriosis. Laparoscopic surgery along with post- surgery medication may improve an endometriosis sufferer’s chances of getting pregnant.
If a woman with endometriosis is infertile and fails to conceive after laparoscopic surgery, the next step may be super ovulation with intrauterine insemination. Usually, Fallopian tubes in these cases are usually open.
If this isn’t successful the next step is usually IVF.
The process of IVF (in vitro fertilization) involves combining a man’s sperm with his partner’s egg. This is done in a laboratory environment to produce an embryo, which is then put back into the womb after spending several days in an incubator. This procedure will then hopefully lead to a normal pregnancy.
Sometimes it is OK for women with mild cases of endometriosis to continue to try to get pregnant and your doctor may recommend an oral medication such as clomiphene citrate, which is specifically prescribed for women who do not ovulate regularly.
Research studies have found that anti-inflammatory treatment has a positive effect on endometriosis and infertility.
Natural Treatment Options
One of the best things a sufferer can do is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, healthy weight and eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid as much gluten as possible because gluten contributes to inflammation. This doesn’t mean you have to give up pizza, pasta or bread. Gluten-free foods are widely available and more accessible than ever.
Everyone knows that exercise gets you in shape, but it will also lower stress, anxiety, blood pressure and remove toxins from the body. Keep physically fit by exercising on a regular basis. Aim for at least three days of moderate aerobic activity each week.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Ladies, drink apple cider vinegar to detox your body and especially your liver. A possible contributing factor to endometriosis is estrogen dominance, a condition where the body produces excess estrogen.
Since the liver assists the body in detoxification of excess hormones, it is most beneficial to drink ACV on a daily basis. In addition, ACV can lower inflammation in the body, producing a more alkaline system. Make sure you get organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which can be purchased in health food stores.
Another option to consider is acupuncture. Once perceived as fringe medicine, this eastern method has become more popular over the years. Only seek treatment from a licensed acupuncture practitioner.
Acupuncture helps to free the flow of energy through the body and break up stagnation to stop pain and to rebalance the body’s systems.
Nowadays there are more and more treatments available to women suffering from endometriosis. Discuss the best options with your doctor, infertility specialist, or alternative treatment therapist.
Effects of Endometriosis and Pregnancy
Endometriosis and Pregnancy
Endometriosis and Trying to Conceive
What is IVF?
Malpani, A and Malpani, A
How to Have a Baby: Overcoming Infertility
Laparoscopic Surgery for Endometriosis