Endometriosis is known for causing pelvic and menstrual pain, yet some women never experience symptoms. Instead, they learn they have endometriosis when they come in for an exam because they can’t get pregnant. Serving the greater Los Angeles area, including Manhattan Beach and Long Beach, Matthew Macer, MD, at Macer Fertility Center is one of the leading experts in endometriosis and infertility. Whether you need relief from painful symptoms or help overcoming infertility, you can’t ask for more compassionate and exceptional care than you’ll receive from Dr. Macer at his practice in Beverly Hills/West LA, Rolling Hills Estates, and Pasadena, California.
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that develops when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus, the endometrium, begins to grow outside the uterus. These patches of uterine tissue are called endometriosis.
The uterine tissue most often grows on the outer wall of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. However, endometriosis can also be found on connective tissues in your abdomen, and in rare cases, even on your bowel or bladder.
Experts in the field have several theories about how these tissues end up outside the uterus. One of the most widely accepted is that some of your menstrual blood flows backward, going through the fallopian tubes, and out into the abdominal cavity.
Inside your uterus, the endometrium goes through changes in response to your monthly hormone cycles. It thickens so it’s prepared to nurture an embryo, then it sheds in the form of your monthly menstrual period if you don’t get pregnant.
The patches of endometriosis outside your uterus also respond to hormonal changes, thickening, breaking down, and bleeding. However, the bleeding stays in your pelvis. As a result, inflammation and scarring develop, leading to the one major symptom of endometriosis: pain.
Many women don’t have symptoms, but if they appear, you’ll experience:
Beyond pain, some women may have abnormal menstrual bleeding, such as heavy or long periods.
Endometriosis is one of the top three causes of female infertility. About 30-50% of women with endometriosis are diagnosed with infertility.
There are numerous ways that inflammation and scarring can lead to infertility. For example, they may affect sperm motility, prevent ovulation, or block the egg from traveling through the fallopian tube. The severity of your endometriosis is directly associated with your risk of infertility.
Dr. Macer may first prescribe hormonal medications to relieve your symptoms. These medications may lighten your periods or stop them altogether. Some medications also help slow the growth of endometriosis.
The next line of treatment is laparoscopic surgery to remove the patches of endometriosis. In addition to alleviating your pain, removing areas of endometriosis often improves your chances of becoming pregnant and carrying the baby full term.
If you’re not pregnant within six months after receiving medical and surgical treatment, it may be time to talk about other fertility treatments. As an expert in infertility, Dr. Macer can explain your options and proceed with assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination.
If you experience pelvic pain or you have a hard time getting pregnant, call Macer Fertility Center or schedule an appointment online.