Does Endometriosis Mean I Can’t Get Pregnant?

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If you have endometriosis you may think it’s not possible to get pregnant. Fortunately, this is not true. While some women with endometriosis may find it harder to conceive, many can get pregnant on their own or after receiving the right fertility treatment. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common condition many women face during their childbearing years. According to UpToDate, an evidence-based clinical information resource, approximately 10 percent of reproductive-age women globally have endometriosis.

Endometriosis happens when the tissue that lines your uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside your uterus, usually in the area of your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the ligaments that support the uterus.

For some women, endometriosis can be extensive. Others may just have a few “spots” where the growths occur. A woman’s fertility may be affected by endometriosis in different ways. For instance, endometriosis can lead to pelvic adhesions or scarred fallopian tubes, making it more difficult to become pregnant.

While endometriosis can cause pain and other symptoms, for some women, the only symptom is difficulty getting pregnant.

When to See a Fertility Specialist

If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and are having difficulty getting pregnant, you may want to consider seeking help from a fertility specialist.

Treatment for Infertility Caused by Endometriosis

A fertility specialist can determine how endometriosis is influencing your fertility and help guide your treatment plan.

To begin, we may order a variety of tests. One evaluation can check the amount of scarring or blockage in your fallopian tubes—factors that can make it difficult for your eggs to travel to the uterus.

Depending on the extent of disease, treatment options may include oral medications, a laparoscopic surgery procedure, or more advanced treatments like in vitro fertilization.

The spectrum of treatment options depends on many factors, including your age, reproductive history, overall health, and the results of your infertility evaluation. Your provider will tailor your treatment to your individual needs.

Medical Advances Bring Hope

Medical science has come a long way in understanding endometriosis, how it affects fertility, and how to treat it. If you are having difficulty conceiving or are concerned about your fertility, talk with your health-care provider to discuss the best plan for you.

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Alisha Pinkerton, MPAS, PA-C

Alisha Pinkerton, MPAS, PA-C, is a certified physician assistant at Penn Fertility Care – Lancaster General Health, Lancaster General Health Physicians. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham College. Alisha has practiced in both infertility and OB-GYN, and is dedicated to providing compassionate care to her patients.

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