Can You Have Kids if You Have Endometriosis?

If you have received an endometriosis diagnosis from your physician, your mind is probably racing with concerns about your future. 

One of these concerns might be your ability to conceive a child. You may be asking, “Can you have kids if you have endometriosis?”

The short answer is: 

Yes, you can have kids if you have endometriosis.

BUT, endometriosis can make getting pregnant more difficult.

Knowing what obstacles you might face is important with endometriosis and trying to conceive. In this guide, you will learn what barriers might arise and how you can address them.

What is Endometriosis?

The endometrium is the tissue that makes up the innermost layer of your uterus. The functional layer of the endometrium thickens and sheds (most often monthly) which results in menstruation. 

Endometriosis is a disorder that occurs when tissue similar to the endometrium grows outside of your uterus - most often around your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue surrounding your pelvis.

This tissue acts just as the endometrium would

It thickens and sheds, but, unlike the tissue in your uterus, it has nowhere to go. There is no exit. The tissue becomes trapped, causing irritation and inflammation which leads to the sometimes debilitating pain you experience around your menstrual cycle.

Endometriosis is a common health issue for women. How common?

Researchers believe that in the United States alone, more than 6.5 million women suffer from some stage of the disorder.

Can Endometriosis Stop You From Getting Pregnant?

The inability to conceive is NOT universal in women with endometriosis. In fact, even if you suffer from endo, it is possible for you to become pregnant without any medical treatment

There are different stages of endometriosis. While up to 50% of women with endo might experience trouble conceiving, mild or even moderate presentations of endometriosis should not prevent you from naturally conceiving or carrying a child. 

If you have not been formally diagnosed with endometriosis and are having difficulty getting pregnant, you should speak with your doctor to evaluate the cause.

Endometriosis and Fertility Issues

Although endometriosis has been linked to fertility issues and the connection is well-supported, researchers do not always agree on how the two are connected. 

In a study published by Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, the proposed mechanisms that correlate endometriosis and infertility are reviewed. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Altered ovulation
  • Fallopian tube inflammation affecting embryo transport
  • Implantation failure
  • Luteal phase disruption
  • Inflammation affecting the movement of sperm through the fallopian tubes

Essentially, the inflammation caused by the buildup of tissue outside of the uterus can affect multiple aspects of your reproductive system.

Can You Still Get Pregnant with Endometriosis?

Research has found that 30-50% of women with endometriosis are affected by fertility issues. But, yes, you can still get pregnant with endometriosis. 

As mentioned earlier, there are multiple stages of endometriosis:

  • Stage I: Minimal 
  • Stage II: Mild
  • Stage III: Moderate
  • Stage IV: Severe

Women presenting with stage I or II endometriosis have a higher chance of getting pregnant on their own. While surgery may still be an option in these stages, you are more likely to get pregnant without intervention than women who are living with the more severe stages of endometriosis.

Getting Pregnant with Severe Endometriosis

Stages III and IV endometriosis are more closely aligned with difficulty in getting pregnant.

Most research points to higher stages of endometriosis as having a detrimental effect on a woman’s ability to conceive naturally. Unfortunately, the staging system does not correlate well with a woman’s chance of conception. 

The odds vary greatly from woman to woman.

According to The Center for Endometriosis Care, only one study has been completed which attempted to identify the probability of conception within the different stages of endometriosis. 

Without medical intervention (surgical or assisted reproduction), results showed:

  • 60% of women classified as Stage I and II have a chance of conceiving naturally
  • 15-20% of women classified as Stage III have a chance of conceiving naturally
  • 5% or less of women classified as Stage IV have a chance of conceiving naturally

How to Improve Fertility with Endometriosis

If you are struggling to conceive because of endometriosis, you are likely searching for ways to improve your fertility with endo.

There are many ways to manage the pain and other symptoms that accompany endometriosis and they typically fall into two categories:

  • Conventional treatment
  • Natural treatment

When it comes to improving fertility if you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, your first step should be to consult your physician. Here you can determine what stage your endometriosis falls into. 

Then you can make a holistic plan to address your fertility issues or concerns. 

Refer to our guide on the best way to treat endometriosis as a starting point.

Can Endometriosis Cause Infertility?

While researchers do not know exactly what causes endometriosis, the disease has been connected to infertility. There are several hypotheses as to why endometriosis can cause infertility:

  • Inflammation
    • Produces molecules called cytokines
    • Cytokines have a debilitating effect on both sperm and egg which ultimately prevents fertilization
  • Distortion of pelvic anatomy
    • Inflammation can cause adhesions and scarring
    • Fallopian tubes and ovaries become blocked
  • Ovulation inhibition

Not only can these issues prevent conception, but they can also trigger a miscarriage.

Is Difficulty Having Kids With Endometriosis Common?

You have received an endometriosis diagnosis and now you’re wondering if difficulty having kids with endometriosis is common. 

There is no strict answer to this question.

Up to 50% of women diagnosed with endometriosis will experience difficulty getting pregnant.

Do not let this discourage you. There are treatment options for endometriosis that can increase your ability to conceive and have a child with endo.

At Chiavaye we do not claim to be doctors. Before you choose these treatment options, we highly recommend that you visit your doctor.

Why Is Having Kids with Endometriosis Difficult?

Endometriosis can have an adverse effect on the ability to conceive and, according to some research, affect your body’s ability to carry a baby to term.

Inflammation and fertility obstacles created by adhesions, cysts and scar tissue can distort your pelvic anatomy. This makes it difficult for your body to function at levels optimal for conception.

Treatment for Having Kids with Endometriosis

At this time, there is no cure for endometriosis and the treatment of endo requires life-long management specific to your body. 

Your symptoms, age, and fertility will all play a role in determining the plan you will create with your doctor when deciding upon your best treatment options.

Conventional Treatment for Having Kids with Endometriosis

There are three main types of conventional treatment for endometriosis:

  • Medical therapy
    • Generally accepted to help manage symptoms
    • No evidence that supports an improved fertility outlook
    If endometriosis is determined to be the cause of your infertility, the most common conventional methods for treatment will include:
        • Surgical therapy
          • The type of surgery your doctor will recommend depends on the stage of your endometriosis. They include:
            • Simple puncture
            • Ablation
            • Laparoscopy
            • Laparotomy 
          • Assisted reproduction
            • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
            • Superovulation
            • In vitro fertilization (IVF)

          Natural Treatment for Having Kids with Endometriosis

          Natural treatment for having kids with endometriosis revolves around improving your overall health and fertility health. 

          Maybe your doctor does not think surgery is the best option for you. Or maybe you want to supplement medical intervention with natural remedies.

          Either way, a natural treatment plan includes:

          • An endometriosis-friendly diet
          • Caring for you and your partner’s emotional, physical, and mental health
          • Avoiding environmental toxins
          • Supportive herbs and supplements
          • Managing pain associated with endometriosis
            • Including pain experienced during intercourse

          Research shows that improving your diet and lifestyle choices can have a positive effect on your fertility. 

          For example, an endo-friendly diet can:

          • Reduce chronic inflammation - hands-down your body’s biggest hurdle when trying to conceive with endometriosis
          • Increase antioxidant levels in your body
          • Minimize refined carb intake

          Endo symptoms can be addressed naturally. Diet and lifestyle choices are things you truly have control over. 

          Take the wheel and do what you can to give your body a fighting chance against endometriosis.

          Endometriosis Surgery and Still Getting Pregnant

          Surgery is sometimes necessary, but it is critical to meet with your doctor to create a treatment plan. Once you understand the severity of your endo, then you can work toward managing it.

          From the American Society of Reproductive Medicine:

          “Removing or destroying endometriosis can increase your chances of becoming pregnant can help restore your normal pelvic anatomy to allow the ovaries and fallopian tubes to work better. Surgery to remove large endometriomas may also improve fertility rates.”

          The goal for surgical treatment for endometriosis depends on your body and your specific struggles with endometriosis. Research suggests it can be highly effective in improving infertility, especially in women with stages III and IV endometriosis. 

          At Chiavaye we do not claim to be doctors. Before you choose these treatment options, we highly recommend that you visit your doctor.

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