Can I Still Get Pregnant if I Suffer From Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside your uterus (the endometrium) starts to grow outside your uterine cavity. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 11% of women in the United States have endometriosis. But knowing that you have company doesn’t make the diagnosis any less unsettling.

If you have endometriosis, your endometrium may grow on your:

In rare cases, endometriosis can appear in other areas of your body. At OBGYN Care of Houston, board-certified OB/GYNs Dr. Sharon Smith and Dr. Jennifer Whitelock determine the extent of your endometriosis with imaging studies. They may conduct ultrasound studies or MRIs and take a biopsy of the endometrium.

The why and when of endometriosis

You’re most likely to get a diagnosis of endometriosis if you’re in your 30s or 40s, especially if you’ve never had a child. Although nobody’s been able to pinpoint a definitive reason why the condition develops, you’re more likely to develop it if you:

Having endometriosis can impair your fertility. The abnormal endometrium may prevent the sperm from being able to reach your egg to fertilize it. But depending on the extent of your endometriosis and your overall health, you may still be able to get pregnant.

Medications give your body a rest

During a normal menstrual cycle, the hormone estrogen signals your uterine lining to build itself up in anticipation of nourishing a fertilized egg. If you have endometriosis, all of your endometrial tissue —including that outside your uterus — engorges with blood and grows. The tissue blocks the sperm’s passage and can prevent implantation, too.

When it’s time for your period, your body can’t shed the excessive tissue that grows outside your uterus. That’s why you may experience extreme pelvic pain and discomfort.

To break up this cycle and give your body a break from estrogen, we may prescribe hormonal therapy with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist. The GnRH agonist prevents ovulation so that your endometrium doesn’t grow and thicken. Essentially, this hormone therapy puts you into temporary menopause.

Once your uterine lining has normalized, you stop the medication so that you can ovulate again. When your menstrual cycle returns, you have an increased chance of becoming pregnant.

Surgery removes abnormal tissue

If medication doesn’t help you become pregnant, you may need surgery to remove the patches of endometriosis. Both of our doctors are experts at minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries, including robotic surgery, to correct gynecologic problems.

They only need to make small incisions — through which they thread a miniature camera and small, highly flexible surgical instruments — to perform the operation. By watching a monitor and using highly precise movements, your doctor removes the excess tissue from your pelvic area.

After your recovery, your chances of getting pregnant increase. You should also experience less pelvic pain and other symptoms during your menstrual cycle.  

Don’t give up on becoming a mother after a diagnosis of endometriosis. Contact us for a consultation today by phone or use the online form.

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