Endometriosis and infertility
Endometriosis is the leading cause of infertility in women. About a third to half of women with endometriosis struggle with conceiving. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts (endometriomas) can form. These cysts damage the ovaries and can lead to infertility. They often require surgical treatments. Additionally, scarring and tissue damage to the fallopian tubes can prevent the fertilization of an egg or the movement of a fertilized egg to the uterus.
However, many people who have endometriosis can successfully conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy. If you suspect you have endometriosis and want to get pregnant, you should talk with your gynecologist to explore your risks, options, and ways to maximize your chance of success.
Endometriosis and pregnancy complications
A miscarriage is when there is a spontaneous pregnancy loss prior to the 20th week of the pregnancy. Endometriosis may increase the risk of a miscarriage, although the exact reason for this is not clear. There is no way to prevent a miscarriage.
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy is a dangerous and sometimes life-threatening medical condition. Embryos cannot successfully grow outside of the uterus and may rupture the fallopian tube or damage other organs. Endometriosis increases the risk for an ectopic pregnancy. This is because scar tissue in the fallopian tubes can prevent the movement of a fertilized egg to the uterus. There is no way to prevent or save an ectopic pregnancy. They require immediate medical attention.
Endometriosis can also increase your risk for preterm or early labor, or labor that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature birth can impact the baby’s health, as critical organs like the lungs are still developing.
In general, having endometriosis increases your risk for complications during pregnancy. If you have endometriosis and you are trying to get pregnant, you should talk to your doctors about your risks, options, and concerns. If you do become pregnant, be sure to see your doctor so that you can monitor the pregnancy closely.