Like an unavoidable monthly ritual, 32-year-old IT professional, Mrs. Rashi Garg, had to take leave from work every month, just because of her awfully painful menses. A period is an inevitable nuisance in any woman’s life, but for Mrs. Garg, it was lot more than that, although she was unaware that they had still more in offering until she and her husband met a gynecologist for altogether different reason, the childlessness.
In the five years of married life, the couple spent last two trying for a baby and when after being unsuccessful they consulted the doctor Mrs. Garg diagnosed with endometriosis, the reason behind her infertility and painful periods both.
Endometriosis is fairly common condition. Endometriosis is a problem affecting a woman’s uterus – the place where a baby grows when she’s pregnant1. Endometriosis is when the kind of tissue that normally lines the uterus grows somewhere else. It can grow on the ovaries, behind the uterus or on the bowels or bladder1. Rarely, it grows in other parts of the body.
Symptoms of endometriosis includes2,
• Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days during period and may include lower back and abdominal pain.
• Pain during bowel movements or urination. Most likely during the period.
• Excessive bleeding. Occasional heavy periods (menorrhagia) or bleeding between periods (menometrorrhagia).
• Pain during intercourse. Pain during or after sex is common with endometriosis treatment.
• Infertility. Endometriosis is first diagnosed in some women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
“Apart from painful menstruation and intercourse, the potential problem associated with endometriosis is infertility,” says Dr. Manika Khanna, IVF Expert, Gaudium IVF centre, JanakPuri, an IVF Treatment clinic, Delhi (renowned for female and male infertility treatments)
According to data, 25% to 50% of infertile women have endometriosis, while 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis are infertile. There is higher prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women (48%)3. In general, endometriosis accounts for 10% of infertility in couples4.
“In spite of the fact that endometriosis is a painful condition; women often get diagnosed with it when they face the problem of infertility,although not all cases of endometriosis leads to infertility but it accounts significantly tothe reasons of childlessness, an appendto the patient’s turmoil” adds Dr. Manika Khanna, pioneer KOL, Infertility solutions India.
The problem of infertility and the social stigma attached with it can put immense psychological pressure on couples, which not only hampers their health and efficiency but can also bring acrimony in their personal relationship.
It is important to understand that life does not end here; rather medical science has plenty of options to make it worth living again. Novel medical advents like IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) are nothing short of a boon for such couples.
In IVF, an egg is surgically removed from women’s ovaries and fertilized with male sperm in laboratory. The fertilized egg (now called an embryo) is again returned to women’s womb to nurture and develop. The success rate of this treatment is as high as 30-40%.
“Even after treating endometriosis at first hand with surgery or medication, if a woman fails to bear a child in that case IVF brings an excellent solution,” says Dr. Manika Khanna, Director, of IVF Treatment Centre Delhi.
In the meantime, it is important to consider excruciating periods and painful intercourse seriously and one should not wait to see gynecologists until something grim comes up. This will not only ensure a healthy and stress free life but would also help in avoiding heartbreaking situations like infertility.
1. U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
2. Mayo clinic
3. Blastocyst Implantation Biology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, November 2009.
4. Indian Journal for the Practising Doctor, Vol. 4, No. 6 (2008-01 – 2008-02)