What is endometriosis?

As most people are aware endometriosis is an amorphous disease that can be found in higher numbers in infertility patients.  Endometriosis is a condition when an anatomically abnormal site of tissue that resembles endometrium occurs.  Endometrium is tissue that lines the uterine cavity.

How does endometriosis affect fertility?

Obviously, if this tissue is found within the pelvis, outside of the uterus, a situation may arise where every month abnormal physiology occurs including inflammation.  This can lead to pain and infertility and anatomical changes such as scarring and obstruction of fallopian tubes and other structures found in the pelvis. 
In the first instance, endometriosis may cause pain with intercourse, which reasonably will cause a decrease in fertility. Otherwise, interference in fertility may be due to other factors such as inflammation. Suffice to say inflammation and the chemical and cellular changes that can occur is likely to be hazardous for the egg, sperm, and any embryo that is conceived.

How is endometriosis diagnosed and treated?

Endometriosis is considered amorphous as it may present with pain or not, it may present with infertility or it may remain silent.  The bottom line is that it can only be diagnosed and treated with a laparoscopy.  It is very important that the surgeon attending to this has the appropriate skills. 
However, often we will use ART (Artificial Reproductive Technologies) as a first line treatment for infertility in women that we suspect or that we know have endometriosis.  This is complex and review by an appropriately trained fertility specialist with advanced laparoscopic skills is advised. Treatment must be tailored to each individual.
All of the skills needed to diagnose and manage endometriosis are available within Tasmania. Thankfully, that means that there is no need for patients to be sent interstate. The aforementioned skills include advanced imaging, surgical and fertility services offered by doctors and their teams experienced in endometriosis. Specialists may include gynaecological, colorectal and urological surgeons. 
If you are concerned about this condition make an appointment at TasIVF with one of our specialist fertility gynaecologists, all of whom have the skills and experience to help with fertility and/or surgical solutions.