Endometriosis as a cause of infertility
Endometriosis is a common pathogenic condition of women that, in the past, it has been associated with infertility. But is endometriosis a cause of infertility? Quite often women diagnosed with infertility happen to be diagnosed endometriosis with as well. Scientists ponder however whether there is indeed a link between the disease and infertility or endometriosis is a coincidental discovery made during the examination for infertility.
Endometriosis is the pathogenic condition where the womb tissue lining grows outside of the womb and attaches to other organs. It is a painful, chronic condition and because of that thousands of women visit fertility clinics for treatments. Nowadays, it is estimated that the number of women diagnosed with the disease has greatly increased since 1940 with millions of women affected worldwide. A higher prevalence of the disease is found among women with infertility.
But, endometriosis, is it a cause of infertility itself? According to a new study, the answer tends to be negative. As the main author of the study, Stacey Missmer – director of Epidemiologic Research in Reproductive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s hospital, reported most of women diagnosed with endometriosis do not have fertility problems and they are able to achieve pregnancy. She added however that women with the disease have increased chances for suffering from infertility compared to healthy women.
For the study, published in Human Reproduction, the researchers analyzed data from 58,427 women in order to establish the association of endometriosis with infertility incidents. One of the study findings was that only women aged <35 with endometriosis are at a greater risk of infertility.
Surprisingly, it was found that previous estimates of infertility incidents in women with endometriosis were overestimated in terms of numbers probably due to studies’ artifacts. More specifically, researchers reported that the infertility risk linked to endometriosis is approximately 50% lower compared to other studies’ results.
The major need now for fertility specialists is to further investigate this relationship between the disease and infertility and to become able to identify the specific group of women with endometriosis who are in greater risk for infertility in order to be treated properly and in time.