What to Expect for Your Fertility After Endometriosis Surgery
March is a time for renewal, and those dealing with fertility issues can find comfort in knowing that the month also stresses the importance of Endometriosis Awareness.
On average, nearly 50% of all women who experience infertility have endometriosis, and unfortunately, the disease often leads to severe complications involving not just the uterus, but other parts of the reproductive system.
Along with infertility, some of the most common symptoms that women face are heavy or irregular periods, pain during sex, and intense menstrual cramps. To make matters even more challenging, relieving the symptoms of endometriosis typically requires surgery.
Although it may seem like an uphill battle, the good news is that endometriosis is highly treatable with the right guidance and proper fertility procedures, if necessary. If you're curious about the changes that can affect your fertility after endometriosis surgery, then here are a few things you should know:
How Does Endometriosis Disrupt Fertility?
Endometriosis impacts fertility in several ways depending on where the endometriosis tissue spreads. For example, most cases of endometriosis occur in the ovaries and fallopian tubes, but severe instances may include the bowels, liver, lungs, and even the brain.
In any situation, the growth is subject to the same hormonal changes that take place each month. This means that during the menstrual cycle, the endometriosis tissue will break down and bleed, causing pain and discomfort in various areas of the body. Over time, adhesions and scar tissue can form, impairing normal function and causing infertility.
What Does Endometriosis Surgery Entail?
To alleviate symptoms of endometriosis, a skilled surgeon will typically recommend a laparoscopy (minimally invasive) procedure to remove the endometriosis and scar tissue.
A laparoscopy procedure entails a narrow, fiber optic scope (laparoscope) that's placed through a small incision close to the navel. During a laparoscopy, a range of issues may be addressed including removing cysts from the ovaries, repairing blocked fallopian tubes, removing fibroids, or adhesions.
After the surgery is complete, the recovery process is approximately 2-4 weeks. Throughout that time, it's a good idea to have regular appointments with your doctor to ensure that the incision is healing properly and that you aren't experiencing any pain.
In addition, there are many precautions you should take after surgery before resuming your normal, day-to-day activities.
Before getting back into the swing of things, here are a few rules and tips to follow:
- Use a heating pad to keep swelling down after surgery
- Short walks or light movements 24-hours after surgery are fine, but don't over-exert yourself
- Check your incisions regularly and follow up with a doctor
- Your first period after surgery may be painful
- Prescription medications or pain relievers can help reduce gas buildup and body aches
- Drink plenty of fluids after surgery and eat a light diet, avoiding spicy foods
- Refrain from driving for 1 week
- Avoid using tampons, douches, or sexual intercourse for 2 weeks
- Contact your doctor if 72 hours have passed without a bowel movement
- Vaginal bleeding may last up to 2 weeks after surgery
What Changes May Occur to My Fertility After Endometriosis Surgery?
When gauging the changes to fertility post-surgery, studies have shown that the conception rate of infertile women with endometriosis found substantial success after their first year of recovery. Out of 43 women who were diagnosed with endometriosis and underwent surgery between the years of 1991 and 2009, 18 of them (41.9%) achieved pregnancy during their first year of natural ovulatory cycles. Plus, this was done without the use of hormone treatments or Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
Although increasing fertility after endometriosis surgery isn't a guarantee, the action of removing damaging, access tissue from vital parts of the reproductive organs is an essential step to repairing reproductive health.
As a rule of thumb, if pregnancy does not occur after 6 months post-surgery, additional fertility treatments can be introduced to increase the odds of pregnancy.
With that in mind, it's important to remember that the chances of endometriosis resurfacing after surgery are just over 20% for the following 2 years, and nearly 50% after 5 years. The likelihood of regrowth means that only a small window of opportunity is available in many cases, so choosing the best team to carry out your surgery will make all the difference when it comes to starting the family of your dreams.
Plan Your Future with Kofinas Fertility Group
The family you've always wanted is certainly a possibility, and Kofinas Fertility Group is here to help level the playing field.
During your initial appointment, a fertility specialist will walk you through a pelvic exam to better understand your condition. Next, a transvaginal ultrasound is done to inspect what areas are affected by endometriosis, as well as to see if surgery is a necessary step.
If a laparoscopy is required, you can discuss the procedure with a specialist to see if it's right for you or they can introduce you to other alternatives to relive symptoms.
No matter what route you choose, trust that you have a supportive team standing by at all times. Whether you have questions to ask or concerns to discuss, your needs are handled with the utmost care to ensure that you have total peace of mind before and after your surgery.
To learn more about endometriosis and treatment procedures, feel free to request an appointment today!