What is endometriosis, and can it affect fertility?
Endometriosis is an increasingly common disease that affects a woman’s reproductive organs; ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic cavity, although the cause is not fully understood. It’s estimated that endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years.
The most common symptoms are painful menstruation or ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, or fertility issues. Symptoms can range from mild to very painful. Some women will develop adhesions, where “sticky” areas of endometrial tissue implant outside the uterus, or endometriomas, which are ovarian cysts that can become very large and painful. Surgery can help to remove lesions and scar tissue, but they may come back in the future.
Although it’s associated with fertility issues, endometriosis does not necessarily cause infertility. Even with severe endometriosis, natural conception is still possible. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 70% of women with endometriosis are able to get pregnant without any type of medical treatment.
Presently, there’s no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatment options for the related pain and infertility issues.
Endometriosis and Diet
Given that endometriosis is an oestrogen-dependent inflammatory disease, it’s essential to have a healthy diet and lifestyle. In the case of endometriosis, limiting your intake of foods with a high oestrogenic load can help to relieve the discomfort related to inflammation.
A balanced diet rich in fruits, fresh vegetables, olive oil, gluten-free cereals, etc., will contribute to relieving the symptoms caused by endometriosis, thanks to its anti-inflammatory potential. It’s also important to consume foods rich in vitamin E, fatty acids rich in omega 3, and increase foods rich in vitamin D.
- Oily fish, such as salmon or sardines
- Green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage or spinach
- Onions, leeks and garlic
- Seeds, such as pumpkin, flax, hemp or chia
Similarly, a reduction is recommended in alcohol, caffeine, dairy, refined sugar and carbohydrates, red and processed meats, and unhealthy fats.
To sum up, following a correct diet can help you minimize the hormonal imbalance, abdominal pain and swelling, or the digestive issues caused by endometriosis. Also remember that stress, or a lack of quality sleep can also be triggers for an endometriosis flare-up.
What should I do if I’m having trouble conceiving?
If you’re struggling to get pregnant, it may be recommendable to make an appointment with an infertility specialist. Thanks to IVF treatments, many women who suffer the symptoms of endometriosis are able to conceive. Others only discover they have the condition when they start to investigate why they cannot get pregnant.
IVF is an established and successful treatment for endometriosis-related infertility, and it works just as well for women with this diagnosis as for those who don’t have the condition. For women whose ovaries have been affected by endometriosis, egg donation offers a possible solution, and can prove to be a promising path towards achieving their dream of having a family.
Because OvobankID egg donors are thoroughly screened for health, fertility, and genetic issues before being accepted into our egg donation programme, prospective parents can rest assured that they will receive high-quality eggs and improve their chances of having a healthy baby.