“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Learning you have endometriosis is not only physically painful but emotional taxing as well. Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue similar to that which lines the interior of the uterus but in a location outside of the uterus. It affects one in ten women and often manifests during the reproductive years.
Endometriosis happens when parts of your uterus lining and endometrium end up growing where it shouldn’t like blocking your fallopian tubes, creating extra layers on your uterus or bowels usually around your period. When someone suffers from endometriosis, they do not shed the tissue that has built up and develops cysts or lesions or scar tissue. Normal endometrial tissue usually sheds each month during a women’s menstruation cycle. In addition, cysts on the ovaries can be a common condition that affects women of all reproductive ages too. Endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, or cysts can make pregnancy harder to achieve, but if you are able to get pregnant could relieve the symptoms as well for a perfect catch twenty-two scenario.
About one-third of women with endometriosis has troubles with fertility and struggle getting pregnant. Endometriosis can cause infertility unless proactive treatment is taken. Getting pregnant can be an uphill battle for those suffering from endometriosis. Even if you don’t face infertility now, it could affect your chances for pregnancy down the line. For reasons doctors don’t fully understand endometriosis causes inflammation inside the abdominal cavity causing painful lesions, forming blood-filled cysts, and adhesions.
As modern medicine advances, it now offers women with endometriosis many treatment options. Endometriosis symptoms can be treated with either medications or surgical treatment. Medications can help but are generally not used long term due to possible side effects. Surgery can also be helpful in reducing pain by removing endometriosis lesions and scar tissue. A laparoscopy may improve your chances of pregnancy.
Egg or embryo freezing is an option for women who are suffering from endometriosis to prevent complete infertility. Reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialists suggest that patients with the disease can use hormone drugs like Lupron in conjunction with IVF or egg freezing. The brave and proactive Kathryn McKeever is trying Lupron to help with her endometriosis. Since starting college she has suffered from severe pain and complex version of endometriosis. Kat who was under 21 when she froze her eggs at the clinic of Utah Fertility Center wanted to relieve her symptoms and also have the possibility of a family someday in the future, without having to get pregnant right away as she finishes her undergrad degree.
Fertility coach and advocate, Kym Campbell of Smart Fertility Choices who struggled with PCOS since she was a young girl and infertility since 2011, speaks openly about her struggles to conceive. She recently posted a podcast episode on egg freezing and strategic family planning along with an educational blog post about cysts, endometriosis, or other infertility issues. Kym provides a free 30-day PCOS Diet Challenge to assist with meal plans, recipes, shopping lists, nutritional video lessons and more (deadline to sign up is July 18th). Check out the one-stop resource fertility checklist plan.
Even Bethenny Frankel from the Real Housewives of New York got personal as she described her own health scare regarding uterine fibroids. She suffers from endometriosis and had laparoscopic surgery in her early thirties to alleviate unbearable cramps and excessive bleeding. Read more about Bethenny’s story on her blog post where she explains her endometriosis and recent health issues.
Knowing the symptoms of endometriosis is key to getting diagnosed sooner and properly. Endometriosis can cause pain, inflammation, menstrual cramps, chronic back pain, pain during sex (and in some cases, after sex), pain when using the bathroom, bleeding or spotting, infertility, digestive problems. While most cases of endometriosis are diagnosed in women aged 25 to 35 years, endometriosis has been reported in girls as young as 11 years of age.
Some studies have postulated that women with endometriosis have an increased risk for development of certain types of ovarian cancer, known as epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), according to some research studies. This risk is highest in women with both endometriosis and primary infertility (those who have never conceived a pregnancy). Finally, there is evidence that some women with endometriosis have an altered immune response in women with endometriosis, which may affect the body’s natural ability to recognize ectopic endometrial tissue.
If you are suffering from endometriosis or health issues, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Check out this new medical company called CiceroDx who offers a new test called ReceptivaDx for detection of endometriosis. ReceptivaDx is the only non-surgical biopsy that provides patients and healthcare providers an assessment of uterine receptivity and detects endometriosis. The test is currently not covered by insurance, but maybe able to use your flex savings plan or apply the cost to your deductible.
ReceptivaDx is $800 cash-pay or out-of-pocket, but use code EGG CLUB for $75 off. Visit receptivadx.com to order the test and find doctors near you. Also, check out podcast Eggology Club Episode 3 talking about how to improve your health before egg freezing or seeking fertility treatments.
Now is the time to reach out to family or friends for support and be your own health advocate. Never be afraid to ask questions or seek multiple doctors opinions. Your health comes first. Most importantly listen to your body, it is trying to send you messages or tell you when something is wrong; stay in tune with yourself and rest if you need it. You are not alone, so do not be ashamed if you are going through these tough issues, as it is okay to talk about it.