Did you know? March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition that occurs in the reproductive system – it causes endometrial tissue, which is tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus, to grow outside of the uterus (where it definitely does not belong). Endometriosis can cause many painful symptoms, like abdominal cramps, pelvic pain, bloating, constipation, and irregular and heavy periods. With so many debilitating symptoms, you might be surprised to learn that it is estimated that 1 in 10 women have endometriosis.
What does endometriosis have to do with infertility?
Unfortunately, endometriosis and infertility have a long history together. Since endometriosis can cause tissues to grow outside the uterus, that tissue growth can be seen in places like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other organs in the pelvis. This tissue can grow and bleed, resulting in inflammation and scarring in the affected areas.
This inflammation and scarring can be the source of some people’s fertility struggles. The inflammation and scarring caused by endometriosis can impair the function of the ovaries, preventing them from releasing an egg, which is needed for ovulation. Endometriosis can also affect the quality of the eggs that are produced, leading to lower chances of successful fertilization. Endometriosis may additionally cause imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels, which can impact ovulation and the ability of the uterus to support a pregnancy.
Endometriosis can even cause structural changes in the pelvis, such as the formation of cysts, which can block the fallopian tubes or impede the movement of sperm and eggs. This can make it harder for sperm to reach the egg or for the fertilized egg to travel to the uterus for implantation.
Spreading awareness and education about endometriosis
Endometriosis affects millions of people around the world. Despite its increasing prevalence, the condition is still frequently misdiagnosed or (eyeroll) dismissed as regular ol’ menstrual pain. This lack of understanding and awareness of endometriosis can greatly affect reproductive health, including fertility, making spreading the word about it a priority.
One of the main reasons why endometriosis awareness is important is because the disease can be pretty difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of endometriosis, like painful periods, pelvic pain, and even infertility, can be similar to other conditions, making it hard for healthcare professionals to identify the underlying cause. This can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, which can worsen the symptoms and complications associated with endometriosis.
Supporting #EndoMarch with EndoFound
EndoFound is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate the world about endometriosis and promote policies focused on endometriosis funding and research. Their priorities include spreading awareness about endometriosis, advocating for policies that invest in funding and research toward the disease, and speaking up about the policy needs of the endometriosis community. You can learn more about EndoFound at endofound.org.
Raising awareness of endometriosis can help improve early diagnosis and treatment, reducing the physical and emotional burden on those with it. Participating in advocacy efforts for endometriosis can also help increase research into the causes and treatments of the condition, leading to more effective and targeted therapies.
Equally important, endometriosis awareness helps to break down the stigma surrounding menstrual pain and reproductive health issues. Advocating for endometriosis awareness can help encourage open and honest conversations about the condition and what it’s like to have it, which further helps reduce the shame and isolation many people with endometriosis experience.
By promoting a better understanding of what endometriosis is and advocating for political change, we can work towards better diagnosis, treatment, and support for those with endometriosis.
How can I get involved today?
EndoFound has many volunteer and advocacy opportunities available for people who want to support endometriosis awareness:
- Become an EndoAlly today!
- Make a donation
- Share your story with endometriosis
- Run for the Endometriosis Foundation of America
- Start a fundraiser
- Find an event near you
Diagnosed with endometriosis? We may be able to help you.
Are you a person with endometriosis who is interested in pursuing gestational surrogacy? We may be able to help you. We can help talk you through your options. We can assist in answering questions about topics like using your own eggs when you have endometriosis, how endometriosis can impact IVF, and more.
Contact us today to see how we can help you reach your family-building goals.