Endometriosis is a harrowing condition that can result in both physical and emotional pain while causing difficulty conceiving.
Fortunately, the symptoms of endometriosis can often be managed, and patients who wish to conceive have options.
Houston Fertility Center in Houston, TX, can provide endometriosis treatment so your dreams of becoming a parent can become a reality.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the inner lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. The endometrial-type tissue looks and acts like endometrial tissue, and can spread to your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvis, irritating the structures it touches.
In a healthy uterus, the uterine tissue thickens throughout the menstrual cycle and then breaks down and exits during menstruation. When tissue develops outside the uterus, it can't be shed monthly through menstruation, causing uncomfortable symptoms.
In the United States, an estimated 2% to 10% of women ages 25 to 40 are affected by endometriosis. The condition typically develops several years after beginning menstruation, but the symptoms can be debilitating for people of all ages.
The Symptoms of Endometriosis
The most common side effects of endometriosis occur during the menstrual cycle and can include:
- Pelvic pain
Other symptoms associated with endometriosis include:
- Painful periods
- Abnormal or heavy periods
- Intermittent bleeding between periods
- Pain when urinating
- Pain during bowel movements
- Pain during intercourse
Why Endometriosis Causes Infertility
Though it's not completely understood how endometriosis causes infertility, doctors have come up with a few hypotheses. They believe endometriosis can lead to a variety of conditions that can cause infertility, such as:
- Distorted pelvis
- Scarred or obstructed fallopian tubes
- Altered egg quality
- Damaged sperm or eggs
- Impaired implantation
Endometriosis Treatment Can Improve Your Fertility
The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that patients seek advanced infertility treatments from someone who is board-certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI), like Dr. Sonja Kristiansen. Our doctor has treatment options for patients who wish to manage the symptoms of endometriosis, as well as options for patients who want to become pregnant. She can help prevent complications and improve your chances of having a safe pregnancy and smooth delivery.
Safe and effective endometriosis treatment is available at our Houston, TX, practice. To explore your options, reach out to us by completing this form or calling:
"They always made me feel special." Reviews of Our Houston Practice
Going through infertility is one of the most difficult things a family could go through. Dr. Kristiansen and her staff, Melissa, Mayra, Blanca and Lana helped to ensure the most positive experience. They were always professional and friendly and I always felt like I could call them anytime with all my questions (which I did). They never made me feel like I was just a patient or a number they always made me feel special.View on Google
I am so beyond greatful to have found a Doctor and a office staff to help me through one of the hardest things I have every went through in my life mentally , physically , emotionally and especially spiritually. I am so greatful for the honesty and compassion that has always been shown by Dr. Kristiansen... Dr, kristiansen always made me feel like she truly cared and that means the world in those hard moments.View on Google
Endometriosis and Pregnancy
As the endometrial-like tissue continues to thicken and spread, it causes irritation, scar tissue, adhesions, and abnormal bonding between tissues and organs. This can result in tubal damage or blockage, ovarian cysts, and damaged eggs, which can negatively affect your fertility.
Though it can be difficult, most women with endometriosis are able to have children, but we advise you not to delay. Endometriosis can worsen over time, making it harder to conceive. Factors like your age and the stage of your condition can also lower your chances of conceiving over time.
The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that patients try to get pregnant through natural means for three, six, or twelve months, depending on the patient's age. If you've been trying to get pregnant with no success, it may be time to explore assisted fertility options.
Assisted Fertility Options
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
During this procedure, sperm are placed directly into the uterus at the time of ovulation. IUI is usually the first assisted fertility option endometriosis patients try because it is less invasive.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF is a procedure in which eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilized in a lab. An embryo is then transferred into the uterus. If you have severe endometriosis, you may benefit from IVF.
Conceiving With Endometriosis
If you have endometriosis, conceiving may be more difficult, but you have options that can improve your chances of getting pregnant. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen in Houston, TX, can allow you to explore these options and make your dreams of being a parent a reality.
If you're ready to explore assisted fertility options, we invite you to reach out to us by filling out our contact form or calling:
You're Not Alone
An estimated 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis experience infertility. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Because the symptoms of endometriosis can be nonexistent or mistaken for other conditions, such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), it is often misdiagnosed.
To get an accurate diagnosis you should:
Discuss Your Symptoms
When meeting with your gynecologist during routine exams, it is important to review any symptoms you may be experiencing to ensure a proper diagnosis. Your gynecologist may refer you to a specialist like Dr. Kristiansen in Houston if they believe you may have endometriosis.
Undergo Transvaginal Ultrasound
If Dr. Kristiansen suspects endometriosis, she will perform a transvaginal ultrasound to view the inside of your uterus and ovaries. During testing, Dr. Kristiansen will insert a small device called a transducer into your vagina. This tool uses high-frequency soundwave technology to capture images and display them on a nearby computer screen. These scans can be used to identify any uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts causing complications.
Receive Laparoscopy Evaluation
If further testing is required, our Houston doctor may recommend an advanced laparoscopy evaluation. This procedure involves the use of a special camera inserted through a small abdominal incision, which will allow her to determine the location, size, and extent of the endometrial growth. Removal of the endometrial tissue can sometimes occur during this procedure.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Over-the-counter pain medication taken during the menstrual cycle may be enough to alleviate the symptoms associated with mild endometriosis, like pelvic pain. This may be used in combination with hormone therapy like birth control in patients who aren't trying to get pregnant.
Endometriosis requires estrogen to develop. Birth control pills, patches, intrauterine devices, and vaginal rings that lower or block estrogen can help manage the condition.
Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormones (GnRH)
GnRH therapy can lower estrogen levels and prevent menstruation, causing endometrial tissue to shrink. It can also reduce pelvic discomfort.
A doctor can remove endometrial tissue while preserving your uterus and ovaries to alleviate your symptoms and increase your chances of conceiving if you have mild to moderate endometriosis. Most surgical procedures can be performed by laparoscopy, during which our doctor will make small incisions in the abdomen to insert a laparoscope, a viewing instrument. Our doctor can then remove endometrial tissue through the incisions.
The removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and sometimes the cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries (oophorectomy) won't completely cure endometriosis, but it can alleviate the symptoms. This method is used as a last resort.
Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is board-certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Our doctor has treatment options for patients who wish to manage the symptoms of endometriosis, as well as options for patients who want to become pregnant.
Risk Factors for Endometriosis
Some factors may increase your chances of developing endometriosis, such as:
- Starting your period at an early age
- Having a first-degree relative with endometriosis
- Having a low BMI
- Having short menstrual cycles
- Having heavy periods that last longer than seven days
- Having higher levels of estrogen
- Never giving birth
- Going through menopause at an older age
- Certain medical conditions
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The team here are the most amazing, caring, and genuine group of people you could ask for. Especially when dealing with such an emotional experience such as infertility. Their facility is extremely clean, the girls are always smiling and helpful with any questions you need answered and from the very beginning of the process they provide you all the information up front! From start to finish the team will be there.View on Google
Dr. K is amazing - Right away in the consultation I noticed she is very straightforward she isn't going to sugar coat anything. Which I HIGHLY respect... I could go on and on about how amazing all the women are here. Melissa, Myra, Rita, Lana, Blanca, Maria the list goes on. ALL of these ladies are so extremely helpful and understanding... I enjoyed my experience with the office and Dr.K and will come back over the years as needed. Thank you team !!View on Google