Endometriosis is an incredibly common condition in women.
In fact, Fertility SA specialist Dr Jodie Semmler says that up to 10 per cent of women may have endometriosis, with your chance of having the condition even higher if a close relative has it.
In this Fertility SA podcast series she explains what endometriosis is and the symptoms, how to manage the condition and the impact of endometriosis on fertility and conceiving.
Endometriosis occurs when endometrial-like tissue, similar to the tissue normally found lining the uterus, is found in other parts of the body, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, peritoneum and the outside of the uterus.
These tissues are collectively known as endometriosis and, like the endometrial tissue lining the uterus, they respond to hormones released by the ovaries, causing bleeding. This leads to inflammation and scarring, which can cause painful ‘adhesions’ joining together pelvic organs which are normally separate.
“The symptoms range greatly,” explains Dr Semmler.
“Warning signals or symptoms that make us think of endometriosis include pain with periods, pain just before and leading up to a period, pain with intercourse, pain with having your bowels open during a period, and pain at other times of the cycle as well.
“For some women, their symptom of endometriosis is their inability to conceive.”
For women with endometriosis who want to have children, Dr Semmler recommends they see a specialist at a clinic that can offer them treatments for their endometriosis, as well as treatments for fertility.
“Women with endometriosis may be able to conceive on their own quite easily, or they may need assistance.
“If a woman has a known diagnosis of endometriosis, then she should be seen or referred to a fertility specialist sooner rather than later.”
Listen to the full podcast.