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Endometriosis: What is it and how does it affect fertility?

Endometriosis, also referred to as ‘endo’ occurs when endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus, usually on the ovaries, fallopian tubes or ligaments that support the uterus. The condition affects at least 5 million women in the United States.
Endometriosis is more common in women who:
·      Are between 30-40 years old
·      Have not had any children
·      Have periods lasting longer than 7 days
·      Have cycles shorter than 28 days
·      Have another family member with the condition
If Dr. Sharara suspects a woman may have endometriosis he will perform a pelvic exam to check the ovaries, uterus and cervix for any abnormalities.  An exam may reveal a cyst or internal scarring due to endometriosis. In some cases an ultrasound, or MRI will be used to help with diagnosis. A Laparoscopy is the only sure way to determine if a patient has endometriosis. The procedure consists of inflating the abdomen with gas through a small incision in the naval. Dr. Sharara will take small pieces of tissue for a biopsy.
The symptoms of Endometriosis are:
·      Above average pain before and during a menstrual cycle
·      Pain while having intercourse
·      Infertility
·      Fatigue
·      Painful urination and bowel movements during a menstrual cycle
·      Gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
Women can live their whole lives with endometriosis and not be aware they have the condition until they have difficulty getting pregnant. Infertility affects about 1/3 of women with endometriosis but the reasoning is not completely understood. Luckily there are medical treatments available to overcome fertility and pregnancy can even relieve some of the symptoms of endometriosis. Because hormones cause endometriosis, hormone treatments like birth control pills, or GnRH agonists are effective at treating the symptoms of endometriosis. For women trying to conceive, a laparoscopy may be performed to remove or vaporize the tissue as a way to improve fertility in women. However, in most cases a laparoscopy can be avoided and treatments such as ovulation induction/IUI or IVF are recommended instead.
Virginia Center For Reproductive Medicine (VCRM) is a world renowned fertility clinic led by Dr. Sharara – a highly regarded, published and awarded specialist. To learn more about VCRM, please visit
If you have specific questions, please contact Contact VCRMED at info@vcrmed.comor call 703-437-7722 to schedule a personalized consultation. Dr. Sharara will gladly answer any questions you may have.

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