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Can Endometriosis Affect Fertility?

Endometriosis is a condition that affects many women worldwide, characterised by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. While it can cause various symptoms such as pelvic pain and irregular periods, one of the main concerns for women is whether endometriosis can affect fertility.

Understanding Endometriosis And its impact on Fertility

It is a chronic and often painful condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This tissue, known as endometrial implants, most commonly affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining of the pelvis. It can cause inflammation, scarring, and the fibrous adhesions.

What is Endometriosis?

It occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body. Each month, this tissue responds to hormonal changes, causing it to thicken, break down, and bleed. However, because this tissue has no way to exit the body, it becomes trapped in the body. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and the formation of scar tissue.

How Does Endometriosis Impact Fertility?

The relationship between endometriosis and fertility is complex and not fully understood. However, there are several reasons to explain how it may impact fertility.

The Link Between Endometriosis and Infertility

Impact on Ovulation

It may disrupt the ovulation process, making it difficult for the ovary to release the egg. This can result in infertility or difficulty conceiving.

Effects on Fallopian Tubes

Endometriosis can cause inflammation and scarring in the fallopian tubes, hindering the passage of sperm to the egg or the fertilised egg to the uterus. This can interfere with conception and increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Changes in Uterine Environment

The presence of endometriosis can alter the uterine environment, making it less conducive to implantation and pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels and inflammation may affect the ability of the embryo to implant and grow properly.

Diagnosing Endometriosis


Common symptoms include pelvic pain, painful periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, and difficulty getting pregnant. As a result of the proximity of endometrial tissue to the bladder and bowel, some women may also experience severe bloating, diarrhoea and symptoms similar to an urinary tract infection. However, some women may experience no symptoms at all.

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnosing endometriosis often requires a combination of medical history, pelvic exams, imaging tests such as ultrasound, and minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopy.

Treatment Options for Endometriosis


Medications such as pain relievers, hormonal contraceptives, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists can help manage symptoms and slow the growth of endometrial tissue.


You may require laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial implants, scar tissue, and adhesions; and potentially even a hysterectomy if your symptoms are severe.

Alternative Therapies

Some women find relief from symptoms through alternative therapies such as acupuncture, dietary changes, and supplements.

Managing Endometriosis to Improve Fertility

Lifestyle Changes

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management, can help manage symptoms and improve fertility outcomes. Eating foods and supplements that boost a healthy immune system and reduce inflammation can also help.

Fertility Treatments

If you have endometriosis and are struggling to conceive, fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended.

It is a complex condition that can have a significant impact on fertility. By understanding the link between endometriosis and infertility and exploring treatment options, women can take steps to manage their condition and improve their chances of conceiving.


Is endometriosis the same as infertility?

No, it is a medical condition characterised by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, while infertility refers to the inability to conceive after a year of trying.

Can endometriosis be cured?

While there is no cure, various treatment options can help manage symptoms and improve fertility outcomes.

Can pregnancy help with endometriosis?

Some women find that pregnancy temporarily relieves their symptoms, but it is not a guaranteed treatment.

Does endometriosis always cause infertility?

No, not all women experience infertility. The severity of the condition and other factors can influence fertility outcomes.

Can endometriosis come back after treatment?

Yes, it can recur after treatment, especially if all of the endometrial tissue is not removed during surgery.

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