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What is endometriosis?

What is endometriosis?

This week is Endometriosis Awareness Week which aims to increase awareness of a condition that is often unrecognised and therefore untreated in women. There are over 1.5 million women in the UK who suffer from endometriosis. It's a delibitating condition that can have a massive impact on the sufferer's life and getting pregnant with endometriosis isn't alway straight forward.

Endometriosis and infertility

Endometriosis not only causes chronic pain, loss of energy and depression, but it can also cause problems with conception. Although endometriosis is a very unpleasant condition, there are ways to help women manage the pain and options available to help them conceive.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to those in the endometrial lining (lining of the womb) are found elsewhere in the body. As we all know, every month females go through hormonal changes whereby naturally released hormones cause the lining of the uterus to increase in preparation for a fertilised egg. If the egg does not become fertilised the lining breaks down and menstruation begins as the lining is released.

Women with endometriosis may require medical assistance to help them conceive. 

How does endometriosis affect fertility?

The endometriosis is stimulated when the hormones are released which then causes it to grow, break down and bleed. But unlike a period, this blood remains internal as it can’t leave the body. This can lead to pain, inflammation and the development of adhesions, otherwise known as scar tissue. This can sometimes be found in the ovaries and can form cysts. When impacting the fallopian tubes, endometriosis can negatively impact fertility.

Where is it found?

Endometriosis is commonly found around the reproductive organs – including the pelvis, around the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, on the outside of the womb, or in the pouch of douglas (the area between the rectum and uterus). It can also grow in existing scars from previous surgeries, such as a cesarean scar. Endometriosis is rarely found in other body parts such as the spine, lungs, eyes and brain.

Endometriosis symptoms

Endometriosis is difficult to diagnose because not all sufferers have symptoms and those that do will have symptoms of endometriosis that vary in their intensity. The most common endometriosis symptoms are painful and heavy periods, irregular periods, painful sex, pain after sex, infertility and fatigue. All these symptoms can indicate other problems as well so it is vital you get some medical advice if you experience any of them. The amount of pain does not always match the amount of endometriosis. In fact, the pain is usually dependent on where the endometriosis is actually located.

Here at the LWC we’ve been helping women with endometriosis symptoms for many years through our specialist fertility treatments. For more information please call 020 7563 4309 today to speak to a member of our team. 

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