Today we’re going to talk about endometriosis, which is one of the most common causes of infertility in women today but many women don’t even know that they have it. What is endometriosis and why is it a problem?

What exactly is endometriosis?

Researchers still don’t understand how endometriosis actually starts. Endometriosis is very similar to endometrial tissue, which is the tissue that is found inside of a woman’s uterus, and that’s the part that gets regenerated every month when she has her period. Instead of being inside the uterus it’s found in different areas within the abdomen, and can attach to on the top of the uterus, on the ovaries, on the bladder; and then in response to being irritated, the body forms scar tissue around it. When you get scar tissue formation around the ovary you can actually get an ovarian cyst. When you form scar tissue from the uterus to the bladder, if there is a certain movement that you make, it tugs (because scar tissue doesn’t stretch) and then you get a very painful feeling, especially if it tugs your ovary or uterus and you really feel it.

How would a woman know if she has endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a major cause of infertility in women and the reason why is because it can block the egg from getting from the ovary through the tube and into the uterus where it can, after getting fertilized, implant in the uterus. There are a lot of women who don’t even realize they have endometriosis and the only definitive way to tell is an operation where they go through your belly button and look at the tissues. Often times, with a good physical exam and a good history, a doctor can tell you with pretty good certainty whether they suspect endometriosis or not. So if you’re having pain with deep penetration, or if you make sudden movements and there is a pain in your abdomen, or you get a nauseous feeling after sex that doesn’t go away very easily, then you might want to talk to your doctor and see if endometriosis is what is causing those difficulties.

Can endometriosis be treated?

There’ve been many treatments for endometriosis. One is direct surgery, where they go in and laser the tissues. They can also give you medications to suppress the endometrial tissue and your hormones. Some women just get put on birth control pills, but there are pros and cons to that, and some women had very significant side effects to birth control pills. Some doctors will treat it with high doses of natural progesterone. I’m going to suggest that if your doctor talks about this, make sure it’s natural progesterone and not a synthetic progestin, which does not work in the body the same way and has an increased risk for cancer and blood clots.

Endometriosis can be pretty significant and can impair woman’s ability to have kids as well as the pleasure of her sex life. It’s not worth keeping silent about it and not asking your doctor, so please ask your doctor if you suspect it.

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