Struggling to get pregnant? You might have endometriosis.
Here’s a not-so-fun fact: roughly 30% to 40% of women with endometriosis are infertile, which makes endometriosis one of the leading causes of infertility among Singaporean women.
Don’t know exactly what endometriosis is? In a nutshell, it’s a condition where cells from the lining of your uterus grow outside the uterus. These growths, termed endometriosis implants or lesions, can occur anywhere from your ovaries and fallopian tubes to your intestines and pelvic cavity. You might even find them on your bowels or bladder!
On the bright side, these lesions are benign, and not cancerous. That having been said, they can wreak havoc on your body, especially when it comes to fertility.
What causes endometriosis? Doctors believe that the condition can be attributed to retrograde menstrual flow (which refers to the backflow of blood into the pelvis during menstruation). When this happens, the cells of the lining in the uterus get implanted outside of it, and these develop into lesions.
Retrograde menstrual flow aside, endometriosis also seems to be linked to genetic factors. For one thing, the oestrogen hormone appears to promote the growth of endometriosis. On top of that, women who have never given birth are at higher risk of the condition, and the same goes for women who have previously experienced pelvic infections.
This begs the question – how do you know if you have endometriosis? Are there any tell-tale signs? While there are certain things which you can look out for (painful or heavy periods, irregular bleeding between periods, chronic pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse), a good portion of women with this condition say that they don’t experience any symptoms at all. In fact, most of these women only suspect that something is amiss when they try (and fail) to get pregnant repeatedly.
If you experience any of the symptoms above, or if you haven’t been able to get pregnant despite trying for over a year, the best course of action is to visit your gynaecologist, and discuss this with them.
If you do have endometriosis, and you’re trying to get pregnant, your gynae might recommend that you try in vitro fertilization (IVF), or that you undergo surgery to remove the endometriosis implants. For women who aren’t trying to conceive, endometriosis treatment may simply involve usually hormone therapy and pain medication.
Fertility consultation with BeNatural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka
If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, BeNatural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!