Endometriosis, a Common Cause of Female Infertility
Endometriosis, a common cause of female infertility, affects approximately 10 percent of women of reproductive age. Endometriosis causes tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) to form outside the uterus: in and on ovaries, fallopian tubes, the peritoneal lining of the pelvis, the bowel, bladder and other organs.
Dr. Mark Rispler investigates endometriosis as a possible cause for female infertility by initially inquiring about pelvic pain and menstrual cycle patterns. Unfortunately, endometriosis is often symptomless, and the first sign of trouble is the inability to get pregnant.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The classic symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Pelvic pain (this can result in cramping during the follicular phase, first two weeks, of your menstrual cycle)
- Painful intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
- Urinary pain
Dr. Rispler may suspect endometriosis after hearing your family history and description of symptoms. A physical exam or sonogram may also provide further evidence of endometriosis.
Causes of Endometriosis
The disease of endometriosis is benign but usually progressive. In advanced stages it can cause severe scarring of the ovaries and/or tubes, which can result in infertility. Even milder forms of the disease may lead to infertility. The cause of endometriosis is not known with certainty, but several mechanisms are involved.
Immunological causes. Some scientists believe that the body’s exaggerated immune response to the presence of endometrial cells outside the uterus classify endometriosis as an autoimmune disease.
Retrograde menstruation. When a menstrual period flows backward into the pelvic cavity rather than forward through the vagina, it is called retrograde menstruation. Retrograde menstruation happens in nearly all women, but only causes endometriosis in some cases.
Dr. Rispler specializes in disease and disorders of the female reproductive tract and endocrine system, and can offer your best chance at overcoming infertility caused by endometriosis.
Contact Innovative Fertility Center to learn more about effective treatment options for endometriosis and other causes of female infertility.