Many couples from across the globe face a common problem of not being able to enjoy parenthood even after unprotected sex for more than a year. Data suggests that about 10% of couples in their reproductive age face this problem and out of them about 30% of the problem is due to female infertility cases. Many of the cases are also left unexplained and involve problems with both the partners. It is always advisable for such couples to refer and consult a genetic counselor which can counsel both for problems related to female fertility and also the possibilities of the baby acquiring any such condition. In rarest of the cases, a couple may have multiple fertility problems.
One of the major causes of female infertility is endometriosis. It is an abnormal growth of the cells and tissues lining the endometrial wall of the uterus to which the embryo attaches and which is shed during menstruation. The cells of the endometrium attach to a location other than the uterus which may be ovaries, fallopian tubes or the abdominal-pelvic region. A number of studies have been done on this but the exact cause of endometriosis is still unknown. The possible symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Very painful menses along with menstrual cramps
- Painful intercourse, and the pain may not recede
- Pain in the bowel movements and during urination
- Some women may also experience blood in urine
It is also a major reason for infertility in majority of infertile females. The depositions of the endometrial cells on the regions outside the uterus are known as endometrial implants. The exact cause of these implants is unknown but many theories have been suggested for the same. One theory states that during menstruation, there is a back flow of the blood in the uterus. This condition is known as retrograde menstruation, but, however not all females with retrograde menstruation develop endometriosis. Another theory says that the organs in the abdominal pelvic region have some form of primitive cells which outgrow in a different manner and result in endometrial implants. Approximately, 20-50% of women who are treated for infertility have this problem.
Endometriosis is most common in women who are tall, slim and have a very low body mass index (BMI). But this kind of problem is uncommon in post menopausal women. The pain associated with endometriosis varies from time to time and also from one female to another. Not all, but in some females the pain may resolve automatically even without a prescribed treatment. The endometrial implants may inhibit the entry or passage of egg in the fallopian tube and also releases hormones which have a negative impact on ovulation of the egg, fertilization of the sperm and implantation of the embryo.
With improved IVF procedures and state of the art techniques, we are capable to cope up with this infertility problem and help such females to become pregnant and enjoy motherhood with a success rate of about 45-50%.
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