Causes of Infertility

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common health issue that affects around 10% of women worldwide. Its link with fertility issues makes it an important topic for women looking to get pregnant. Understanding the nature, symptoms, and treatment options for endometriosis can potentially increase your chances of conceiving and ensuring a healthier pregnancy.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside of it. This abnormal growth can happen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, it may occur in other parts of the body.

This displaced tissue continues to act as it would if it were inside the uterus: thickening, breaking down and bleeding with each menstrual cycle. But because this tissue has no way to exit the body, it becomes trapped which can cause irritation, scar formation, adhesions and, at times, severe pain.

Affecting an estimated 176 million women globally, endometriosis is especially common among women in their 30s and 40s but can occur in any woman who has menstrual cycles.

4 Symptoms of Endometriosis

Painful Periods

One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is dysmenorrhea or painful periods. The pain usually starts a few days before menstruation and continues throughout the period. It can be characterized as severe cramping that may be accompanied by lower back and abdominal pain.

Pain with Intercourse

Pain during or after sex is another common symptom of endometriosis. It's often described as a "deep" pain, which is different from the pain felt at the entrance to the vagina during intercourse.


Endometriosis is often discovered in women seeking treatment for infertility. As per estimates, about 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms can include fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.

Connection Between Endometriosis and Infertility

The exact link between endometriosis and infertility isn't fully understood. However, it's believed that the inflammation and scarring caused by the endometriosis can distort the pelvis and obstruct the tube, potentially making it more difficult for the egg and sperm to unite.

Some studies suggest that women with mild to moderate endometriosis are up to twice as likely to experience difficulty getting pregnant, while those with severe endometriosis may be up to four times as likely.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Endometriosis

The only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is through a surgical procedure called laparoscopy. This involves your doctor inserting a thin viewing instrument into your abdomen and pelvis to look directly at the outside of your uterus and surrounding organs.

In terms of treatment, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Treatment options depend on the extent of your disease, your symptoms, and whether you want to have children.

Hormonal therapies can help slow endometrial growth and prevent new adhesions, but they are not a cure. Pain medication helps manage symptoms but doesn't treat the underlying disease.

Surgery can be effective at removing endometrial growths and scar tissue, but recurrence rates can be high. For women looking to get pregnant, fertility treatments like IVF may be an option.


Understanding endometriosis is crucial for women looking to get pregnant. If you have painful periods, pain during intercourse, or are experiencing difficulty conceiving, it's important to seek medical advice. There are treatment options available which can help manage the condition and improve fertility. Remember, you are not alone in this fertility journey - support and help are available.

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