How Does Having Endometriosis Impact Fertility and What Can You Do About It?


Welcome to POPSUGAR Uninhibited: The Fertility Edition, a space where anyone who ovulates can come for information, advice and support. Here, we’ll tackle topics like fertility in your 20s, conception and egg freezing. You can find all of the stories here.

In recent years, we’ve become more aware of endometriosis, a medical condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It’s often characterised by extreme period pain, along with other exacerbated hormonal symptoms that often come with PMS like nausea, dizziness, changes in body temperature, lightheadedness and sore breasts.

In terms of long-term side effects, though, a common one is, sadly, infertility, which can be devastating for people with endo who dream of starting a family.

“Endometriosis affects all aspects of fertility from egg quality, uterine environment to affect implantation, hormonal functioning and receptivity, libido, sexual function and desire and many others,” says fertility clinician, naturopath, author and educator, Leah Hechtman.  

“It’s a multi-factorial condition and needs people to work with a health care team to get the best support.”

So, if you have endo and are therefore at risk of infertility, what can you do about it? From finding the right experts to getting the best emotional support, Hechtman shares five ways people can navigate through possible infertility caused by endometriosis.

Find the Right Experts

“Endometriosis is a multi-factorial and complicated condition,” Hechtman tells POPSUGAR Australia. “It affects many areas of your health — not just reproductive function or period pain. It’s important to see clinicians that specialise in this area so that you can create a team that support you collaboratively and holistically.”

With endo still being quite an under-researched condition, GPs and reproductive health specialists often don’t have the specific knowledge that is needed to treat fertility issues in people who have endometriosis. In order to get the best medical care, feel understood, seen and heard, it’s important to find an expert who specialises in endometriosis. With the right team by your side, you’ll have the best chance at addressing any issues with fertility head on and getting the best outcome.

Get the Correct Testing

“Given the above, it’s important to know exactly what endometriosis is doing to your body,” says Hechtman.

There are varying degrees of endometriosis, and it will impact each person differently. While in some, it may cause internal damage without physical symptoms, others may have excruciating side effects and minimal internal damage.

“The difference between being tested properly and knowing your situation is profound and will significantly affect how you’re treated and what treatments will be right for you,” she says.

“Endometriosis is not just pain,” she explains. It may affect digestive health, sleep, emotional wellbeing, pain and pain perception, urinary function, microbiome, hormonal symptoms and others.”

There are several ways doctors can test for endometriosis. While some endometriosis can be diagnosed by an internal ultrasound or blood tests, other diagnoses may require undergoing a laparoscopy, in which a surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen and insert a thin tube with a tiny light called a laparoscope. This will enable them to find any abnormal tissue growing outside the uterus.

If the surgeon finds endometriosis during the laparoscopy, they will often perform excision surgery and remove as much of the endometriosis as possible at the same time.

The results of these tests will offer more clarity on how severely the endometriosis is likely to impact fertility, and with that information, your medical team will be able to figure out the best path forward. Your individual experience with endo will determine which method of testing is right for you.

Eat Well, Sleep Well and Exercise

As Hechtman says, endometriosis is a multi-system condition and can impact many areas of your health outside of your reproductive system. It’s all linked, babes! So, it’s important to look at the foundations of your health.

“Do you eat well? Sleep enough? Exercise daily and give yourself self care support?” These are all questions we should be asking ourselves — always! — but especially if we’re struggling with endometriosis, says Hechtman.

“A healthy diet is shown in multiple ways to make a significant difference and can make enormous difference to your health and well-being.”

By implementing these factors into your life and making sure that they’re consistent, you’re setting yourself up for success when it comes to strengthening fertility.

Tidy Up Your Environment

“Countless studies correlate environmental toxins to exacerbating endometriosis,” says Hechtman.

“Ensure your personal care products are free from chemicals (especially BPA and phthalates); check your home and car for mould; reduce exposure to dietary sources and choose organic food choices; switch cleaning products to toxin-free choices.”

Find Emotional Support

According to Hechtman, there’s a strong correlation between endometriosis with prior trauma and emotional distress, and often, endometriosis will flare up when you are stressed or tired.

Like other reproductive conditions, endo is dictated by hormonal imbalances, which are often regulated by our emotions.

And, while some of us have a natural hormonal imbalance, by centring ourselves and bringing emotional support and balance into our everyday lives, we can help alleviate some of that extra instability.

“Ensure you have appropriate support to help heal past traumas and experiences as well as support to help you on your healing journey,” recommends Hechtman. 

This may mean seeking out therapy — which is always a good idea regardless — or being more conscious when it comes to who you surround yourself with. It may also look like asking for the help you need from the people closest to you, and finding the right experts to help you and support you along the way.

Related Posts
Latest Fitness
The End.

The next story, coming up!