Endometriosis and Infertility
Endometriosis is one of the most common conditions that affect women of childbearing age.
It occurs when cells similar to those that line the inside of the womb, called endometrial cells, are found in other parts of the women’s body. Those cells are most commonly found in the pelvis, near the Fallopian tubes and ovaries, but can grow virtually anywhere, including lungs, brain, large and small intestine and appendix.
Endometriosis affects 10 percent of all women. More importantly, it can be found in up to 50 percent of women with infertility. It is generally more common in women with conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS) and fibroids.
Symptoms vary from woman to woman, and typically include heavy and painful periods, abdominal and pelvic pain and pain during intercourse. Some women can also experience pain when passing urine or bowel motion.
A number of women can experience gastrointestinal symptoms, similar to those that occur in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Some women however will have no symptoms other than the inability to fall pregnant. Endometriosis should be considered in all women with otherwise unexplained infertility, and those women who have failed fertility treatment.
The best way to look for and treat endometriosis is Laparoscopy (keyhole surgery). Ultrasounds, CT and MRI scans will provide additional information, but are not sufficient to diagnose the disease. Once endometriosis has been treated, some women will conceive naturally. Other women will have better results from their fertility treatment.
Clinical experts in Europe have recently developed a guideline on management of Endometriosis to improve clinical practice and quality of life for women with endometriosis.
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Dr Kretowicz consults at two locations in Brisbane: the Alexandra Building on Wickham Terrace and at the Ramsay Consulting Suites at North West Private Hospital.
“Laparoscopic excision of endometriosis plays an important role in management of patients with infertility. A number of women will conceive spontaneously once their endometriosis has been treated.”
DR EVA KRETOWICZ