Many of the patients I see at the American Institute for Reproductive Medicine have endometriosis.
Endometriosis is thought to be caused by retrograde menstruation. Cells within the menstrual flow can set up micrographs behind the uterus, on the ovaries, and on the fallopian tubes causing cytotoxic reactions and even leading to adhesive bands that restrict the fallopian tube from having complete access to the ovaries on either side.
This means that the endometrium, the lining within the uterus, is growing outside the uterus. When you go through a normal menstrual cycle, this lining breaks down and is removed from your body. However, with endometriosis this cleansing process cannot happen as intended, leading to potential complications.
The potential symptoms of this condition can include cyclic pelvic pain, which occurs around the time of menstruation [dysmenorrhea], or pelvic pain throughout the menstrual cycle. Some people experience painful intercourse [dyspareunia]. However, sometimes the only symptom of endometriosis is simply the inability to conceive. Although these symptoms are often indicative of endometriosis, they could be linked to other pelvic or reproductive problems.
There are several procedures used to diagnose endometriosis, including pelvic ultrasound and laparoscopic exams.
Patients often ask me how endometriosis might affect fertility. Endometriosis manifests itself differently in every patient. However, a diagnosis for endometriosis is often associated with trouble conceiving. Endometriosis causes immunologic type reactions similar to having a foreign body in your skin like a splinter. So, over time, the body tries to corral and get rid of the “splinter.” Similar reactions occur regarding endometriosis because these cells are not supposed to be in body. These immunologic hemotoxic reactions can affect the sperm, the egg, or the embryo.”
If you think you may have endometriosis or want to talk to a doctor about your diagnosis, we recommend you make an appointment to see one of our practitioners. AIRM would love to serve you and help you in your journey with endometriosis.
Cecil A. Long, MD is a Board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, and is the co-founder of America Institute of Reproductive Medicine (AIRM).
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