Endometriosis is a condition when the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. Sometimes it grows into the ovaries and the fallopian tubes or other organs in the pelvic region.
During menstruation, the lining left in the uterus sheds (as it is supposed to), but with endometriosis, some of this tissue has migrated to other areas and can not be flushed out.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
It remains and builds up over years, resulting in painful periods, lower back pain, severe cramps, lesions, inflammation and internal bleeding. Symptoms usually start in the early teens.
The results can be scar tissue, blockages, ovarian cysts, lesions, internal bleeding and inflammation. All these problems not only cause your symptoms but will likely make pregnancy much more difficult.
Up to a few years ago, very few doctors even heard of this condition, and assumed that this severe menstrual pain was a “normal” part of having a period. It is most definitely not, and patients have the right to a second opinion.
Diagnosis is done mainly through a laparoscopic procedure, a minor surgical intervention during which the surgeon locates the growths with a tiny camera and assesses their size and numbers.
Can I Still Get Pregnant?
In most cases, yes! The extent and location of the growth will help determine whether or not it will interfere with conception. It may take longer to get pregnant (try for two years instead of the usual one), but seventy percent of women with mild endometriosis will have few problems getting pregnant.
For the other thirty percent, there are a number of other options.
Treatment Options For Endometriosis
There is no cure, but there are treatments to alleviate the pain and slow the growth. Treatment options include:
Surgery: You can go through a laparotomy, where a high-powered heat source like a laser can burn away the growth to alleviate blockages and inflammation.
Birth Control Pills: Yes, you are trying to have a baby, but to slow the progression of endometriosis, birth control drugs and hormonal therapy can slow or even stop ovulation. The uterine lining will remain in stasis, preventing further growth. This isn’t a long term treatment, though, but is mainly used to lessen the pain.
Holistic Approaches: There has been a lot of focus on natural therapy, such as diet, acupuncture and herbs. This is because there is growing evidence that many of the symptoms are caused by a toxic auto-immune response and inflammation, decreasing fertility and increasing pain, ultimately lowering your quality of life.
To combat this, first try an anti-inflammatory diet – this means reducing dairy, wheat and red meat, and increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, healthy fats and tea.
Herbal teas with dandelion leaves, ginger and vitex is also important. See diet and fertility for more information on what to eat – that page is mainly concerned with fertility-boosting foods, but it is a great meal plan for purifying your entire system. Look for a licensed nutritionist familiar with your condition to help you.
There is also a pregnancy guide with a section on endometriosis, and the proper holistic approach to increase fertility. Click here to view it.
How to Successfully Have a Baby
After surgery, most women can proceed in trying to conceive. To be safe, some doctors will recommend doing so at the beginning with the use of Clomid, a common fertility drug that stimulates ovulation.
In severe cases, artificial insemination is the most successful way to ensure both the egg and sperm end up in the uterus.
However, most women benefit from following a healthy lifestyle of exercise, diet and acupuncture. Since this condition is life-long, controlling your symptoms and keeping yourself healthy and toxin-free is of the utmost importance.
If you are in your early twenties, try to have a baby as soon as possible. It will be much more difficult when you are in your thirties and forties.
Endometriosis is an obstacle to you raising a family, but it can be overcome. With other fertility methods and a holistic lifestyle, you will be able to bear children.