Endometriosis is a condition that causes the development of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, and may lead to severe pelvic and abdominal pain, heavy periods, and infertility. This condition affects between six and seven percent of women in the U.S., and nearly half of the women diagnosed with endometriosis suffer from infertility.
Fortunately, our expert team offers a wide range of conservative therapies and surgical procedures to help women with endometriosis. Drs. Martin, Neal and Retzloof can provide medications and effective treatment for patients with endometriosis in San Antonio, TX, offering assisted reproductive technologies to help you and your partner conceive. Contact our office to learn more about our state-of-the-art treatments.
Although endometriosis can make conception more challenging, our doctors possess the expertise and advanced technologies to greatly increase the likelihood of pregnancy.
Endometriosis and Your Ability to Conceive
Endometrial tissue is the lining that builds up in the uterus and is shed during menstruation. Endometriosis can result in excess tissue within the uterus, in addition to the growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, which may affect the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other organs. During menstruation, displaced endometrial tissue bleeds as it normally would; however, there is no way for the body to dispel the tissue. This may result in inflammation and the formation of scars or cysts. It can also cause severe pain during menstruation and intercourse, and affect your ability to become pregnant.
Although endometriosis may cause infertility, most women with this condition can successfully conceive and carry a child to term. However, endometriosis can make getting pregnant much more difficult. Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly impact your ability to conceive. In more severe cases, especially with a delayed diagnosis, surgery may be necessary to make conception possible.
Conservative Treatments for Endometriosis
Treatments for endometriosis will depend largely on the severity of the condition, the pain it is causing you, and your fertility goals. To combat pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are usually recommended. Additionally, hormonal therapy may reduce or eliminate pain, as well as slow the growth of tissues and prevent new growths.
Our highly trained specialists have extensive knowledge and experience in treating endometriosis, and helping women with endometriosis conceive.
Hormonal therapy is ideal for women who want to have children in the future but are not yet ready to do so. The most common treatment option is hormonal contraception, such as a birth control pill, patch, or vaginal ring. Other options include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and drugs that induce artificial menopause. With these options, your ability to get pregnant will return as soon as you cease treatment. However, your symptoms of endometriosis will likely return.
Surgical Procedures for Endometriosis
For women who have endometriosis and wish to become pregnant in the near future, we may recommend a surgical procedure to remove as much displaced endometrial tissue as possible. Depending on the severity of your condition, we may perform the procedure laparoscopically, or through a traditional abdominal incision.
With laparoscopic surgery, a small incision is made and the laparoscope and surgical instruments are inserted to remove excess tissues. This procedure, combined with in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technologies can greatly increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Our doctors are some of the few in the nation to offer laser ablation of endometriosis, another minimally invasive technique to treat, often getting you back on your feet sooner than more traditional surgical approaches.
Risks and Benefits of Endometriosis Treatments
For many women, the benefits of treatment far outweigh any risks. While there is no cure for endometriosis, these treatments can help you manage the condition to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Hormonal treatments can reduce or eliminate pain and significantly slow the growth of endometrial tissue. Doing so will greatly increase your odds of becoming pregnant when you are ready.
For women who desire to get pregnant in the near future, surgery can make that possible. It is important to discuss your full medical history with your doctor, as well as any questions or concerns you may have about the side effects of treatment.
The highly trained specialists at the Fertility Center of San Antonio have extensive knowledge and experience in treating endometriosis and helping women with endometriosis conceive. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.