The impact of endometriosis on a woman’s fertility
Simonne is a volunteer helpliner and has been affected by endometriosis for twenty-five years. She was diagnosed by laparoscopy and discusses the impact of endometriosis and fertility below.
“As a young teenager I saw several GPs about the heavy, extremely painful periods I suffered, but most brushed it off as “women’s problems” and offered painkillers or suggested I go on the pill. It was only when I was 18, and after the first of many laparoscopies that I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I was devastated. Ovulation, having sex or going to the toilet was very painful and I begged the consultant to control the pain. He told me that my chances of conceiving were none existent, I should have a hysterectomy. I was twenty-two years old.
I could not give up on the idea of having children, so from then on I read up everything I could to try to manage the endometriosis myself. Although I knew that endometriosis can cause infertility, I was not going to give up. Finally when I was 32, I was referred to a gynaecologist who specialised in endometriosis. For the first time I felt someone was really listening to me, and, during two more laparoscopies, he removed varying amounts of endometrial tissue which had covered my fallopian tubes and ovaries, and cemented my uterus to my bladder and bowels. The adhesions can affect the movement of sperm or the ability of a fertilised egg to implant, and so this gave me hope, as studies show removing the tissue can give you a window in which you can get pregnant.
I was very lucky that after several laparoscopies, I was blessed with the arrival of my first son. After five more years, my second son was born. As well as the success of the surgeries, I believe that researching ways in which I could manage my endo symptoms helped me and I made some changes to my diet, including giving up alcohol and coffee, cutting down on dairy and watching my sugar intake. I still suffer with the impact of endo on my health but I am glad every day that I did not give up on having children.”