Endometriosis is a common gynaecological condition which affects an estimated 10% of the women of reproductive age and is associated with infertility, menstrual pain, pelvic pain, and ovarian cysts (endometriomas). Between up to 50% of the women presenting with infertility have underlying endometriosis. The exact reason as to how the endometriosis develops is unknown.
Endometriosis can only be diagnosed with a laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) although it may be suspected from symptoms and on an ultrasound scan if a cyst is identified.
Endometriosis is painful and often simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may help with pain. Hormonal treatment such as the combined oral contraceptive pill, Mirena coil, or contraceptive injections may improve pain symptoms but are not useful for women trying to conceive.
Studies suggest that laparoscopic surgery on mild to moderate endometriosis, or removal of uncomplicated endometriomas may be beneficial in improving endometriosis-associated pain and in increasing spontaneous pregnancy. IVF/ICSI will provide you with the best chance of conceiving if you have endometriosis-associated infertility.
If you have symptoms suggestive of endometriosis and are trying for a baby, speak to your GP and get a referral to see one of the specialists at Leeds Fertility.
You can also visit www.endometriosis-uk.org for more information.