Nearly 25 to 40% of women in India have endometriosis, a debilitating reproductive disorder leading to infertility. It is a painful disorder diagnosed through excessive bleeding and digestive disorders during the menstrual cycle accompanied by pelvic and abdominal pain. As a result, women cannot function normally during their menstrual cycle.
Dr. Himali Maniar of Nisha Women’s Hospital, Ahmedabad, agrees that life with endometriosis is difficult and causes stress as it can lead to infertility. She explains that endometriosis refers to a condition in which the endometrium, a tissue located within the uterus, grows outside the uterus while it thickens throughout the month. It is the thickest before ovulation and menstruation. As a result, the endometrium is swollen and bleeds in the abdominal cavity, urinary bladder, and pelvis, leading to an unhealthy condition.
Dr. Himali Maniar is one of the leading urogynecologists in Ahmedabad and an expert in treating patients with endometriosis and other complex gynecological issues. Endometriosis affects the emotional and physical health of the women in this condition. Also, it is one of the reasons leading to infertility does cause distress in women and their families.
Endometriosis causes infertility in nearly 35% of the women with this condition in three distinct ways, viz. fallopian tube blockages on account of abnormal cell growth, which prevent the egg from traveling normally during the ovulation period. Ovarian cysts cause damage to the ovaries and also act as barriers to egg passage. Finally, endometriosis can cause pelvic toxicity, i.e., changes in the pelvic environment even if there are no cysts or blockages.
However, she assures that endometriosis is not the end of the road as reliable options help women conceive successfully. Initially, they can try to conceive naturally for a few months as it is possible before seeking a consultation with an IVF expert.
The IVF expert could suggest various options such as egg freezing, fertility medication, and IVF depending upon the health condition and the stage of endometriosis diagnosed. If required, the IVF specialist recommends laparoscopy to diagnose and remove the scar tissue and endometriosis-related growth. After nearly 6 – 7 months of the laparoscopic procedure, the woman can start the IVF cycle.
Egg freezing is recommended if the patient has mild endometriosis condition and is relatively young as there will be no or fewer cysts and other abnormal tissue growth present. These frozen eggs can be used through IVF when they wish to proceed with the pregnancy, even if they have endometriosis.
It is possible to manage the endometriosis condition and reduce the extent of pain and suffering. However, there is no definite cure for endometriosis. Therefore, painkillers and birth control pills in hormone therapy are recommended whenever necessary. The birth control pills help to regulate the estrogen levels during the ovulation cycle and relieve the patient’s pain.