Endometriosis is a painful condition where your uterine lining, or endometrium, goes a bit “haywire” and grows beyond your uterus. Nearly 10% of women live with endometriosis.
If you suffer from endometriosis, you’ve likely worried about how these symptoms could affect your ability to get pregnant. When you’re dealing with the cysts, scar tissue, and organ issues that come from endometriosis, can your body support the healthy growth of a fetus?
Dr. Peter Khamvongsa has valuable expertise in diagnosing and treating endometriosis, as well as helping patients with concerns about endometriosis and fertility issues. He not only offers relief from the pain and other unpleasant symptoms of endometriosis, but he also provides options that can give you hope for having a baby.
Let’s talk about the symptoms of endometriosis, how they can affect pregnancy, and what you can do about it.
The physical and emotional pain of endometriosis
The symptoms of endometriosis can be debilitating, and if they go on long enough, your emotional health is certain to be affected. Symptoms include:
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Heavy bleeding during your period
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain when you urinate or defecate
- Persistent pelvic pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Fertility problems
The longer you live with these symptoms, the more anxious and discouraged you might feel about whether you’ll be able to have a baby.
How endometriosis affects pregnancy
It’s an understandable worry to have, as endometriosis does affect fertility, but there’s treatment available that can help. First, let’s talk about how endometriosis poses an obstacle to getting pregnant.
The uncontrolled growth of your uterine lining can impact the integrity of the organs that allow you to become pregnant: your ovaries, your fallopian tubes, and the lining of your pelvic cavity.
Endometriosis might make it harder for your egg to successfully be released each month or end up in the right place, for example. Additionally, the inflammation that’s a hallmark of endometriosis is thought to make it more difficult for implantation to be successful.
If you’ve had the condition for a while, scarring can actually cause changes in your fallopian tubes that also make it harder for the sperm to fertilize the egg.
What treatments are available for endometriosis?
It’s important to have a highly skilled urogynecology specialist, like Dr. Khamvongsa, evaluating your condition if you hope to have a baby. Some treatments can ease your symptoms and stop tissue overgrowth, but they also impede pregnancy, like certain hormonal medications.
Minimally invasive surgery
What seems to be the most effective solution for endometriosis sufferers wishing to get pregnant is surgery to remove the endometrial tissue surplus. Dr. Khamvongsa is highly skilled in many surgical procedures, but his emphasis on using minimally invasive surgery sets him apart.
Two of the minimally invasive methods that Dr. Khamvongsa favors are laparoscopic and robotic surgery. These advanced types of surgery make for:
- Faster healing
- Less blood loss
- Lower risk of infection
- Likelihood of less internal scarring
- Less pain
- In certain instances, less anesthesia
- Reduced number of postsurgical complications
- Shorter hospital stays
With laparoscopic surgery, he simply makes one or two very small incisions so he can insert the laparoscope. This device is a thin tube that has a very small fiber optic light and camera on it. Dr. Khamvongsa inserts his surgical tools through the laparoscope to facilitate tissue removal.
The camera sends images of what’s going on during surgery. Amazingly, all this can be done without the need for a large or damaging incision.
Dr. Khamvongsa also frequently uses another type of minimally invasive surgery called robotic surgery.
During this procedure, Dr. Khamvongsa uses a console equipped with two sets of robotic arms and a screen that broadcasts a high-definition, 3-D image of the surgical site. This allows him to perform very finely tuned movements and work with unparalleled precision.
To ensure the success of your minimally invasive procedure, our office adopted a postsurgical model of patient education and case management that’s associated with very low rates of complications called “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery,” or ERAS.
With Dr. Khamvongsa’s help, you can maximize your chances of getting pregnant, even if you have endometriosis. And when you get pregnant, you’ll want to take advantage of his obstetrics services!
To learn more, book an appointment online or call us at 786-220-8664.