I have endometriosis, am I infertile?

Written by: Mr Arvind Vashisht
Published:
Edited by: Laura Burgess

How is endometriosis detected?

Unfortunately one of the biggest problems that women with endometriosis face is a delay in diagnosis, and this is a common complaint. Therefore it is important to establish a diagnosis, and an understanding of the symptoms, treatment options and make a treatment plan for the short and medium term.

 


The symptoms of endometriosis are related to its location in the body, whether it's detected or affecting the uterus, ovaries, the pouch of Douglas, or the bowels. The symptoms can include cysts, a pain felt during sex, pain in the bowels, and pain when passing urine. The condition can affect any woman in reproductive age. 

 

Complete removal of the disease may be impractical or unnecessary in the short term, and yet knowledge of options will be important for the future. It is also important to be aware that there is no crystal ball that can accurately predict the progression or development of the disease or symptoms, and doctors remain unclear as to the best medical or surgical treatments for endometriosis. That is why individualised plans are important for each woman depending on her own individual circumstance at the time.
 

Can endometriosis affect fertility?

For many women, there are concerns about fertility. Some studies have shown a reduction in a woman’s ability to fall pregnant because of endometriosis and it is therefore important to ensure that there is an objective pragmatic assessment of this for each woman.

 

Many women who have endometriosis have absolutely no problems whatsoever in falling pregnant.


There are other conditions that often cause similar concerns in this regard such as polycystic ovaries (PCOS). In this condition, there may be some reduction in a woman's ability to fall pregnant but many are able to fall pregnant successfully without interventions. Successful pregnancy is often due to a multiple array of factors, including male factors, so it is important to consider the whole picture when the time is appropriate.

 

How does endometriosis affect my pregnancy?

For many, pregnancy offers a welcome respite from their monthly symptoms. The pregnancy itself is usually treated as a normal pregnancy without the requirements for any particular special interventions, unless the woman had undergone particularly complicated surgery, or was known to have very severe disease affecting particular organs or structures.

 

For expert advice, do not hesitate to book to see a specialist.

By Mr Arvind Vashisht
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Arvind Vashisht is a highly-respected, leading gynaecologist based in London. He is the Clinical Lead for Gynaecology at University College Hospital and is an Honorary Associate Professor at University College, London. He is the Chair of the Endometriosis Centres for the British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE) and a member of the Governance committee for the British Society for Urogynaecology (BSUG). He sits on the council of the Royal Society of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology section.

He specialises in the treatment of women with pelvic pain and endometriosis, post-childbirth problems, menstrual and hormonal disorders and pelvic floor problems including prolapse and bladder symptoms.

Mr Vashisht has a particular interest in laparoscopic as well as vaginal surgery, and runs surgical workshops for consultants and trainees demonstrating complex surgery and techniques. He is co-director of a national training program for teaching advanced minimal access surgery, and has written an updated curriculum for the training program for advanced laparoscopic surgery in the UK  He practises at clinics at University College Hospital and King Edward VII's Hospital. As well as specialist national referral services he runs general gynaecology clinics.

He is dedicated to passing on his expert knowledge and has held various educational posts. He has active research interests and supervises several students completing higher degrees in gynaecology. He has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.

Mr Vashisht lectures nationally and internationally and is an invited expert for conferences.

He writes expert witness medicolegal reports in his specialist areas.

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