Today kicks off Endometriosis Awareness Week (March 3rd-9th) so I thought I would share a little bit about what endometriosis is and how it effects fertility. I had a small amount of endometriosis removed when I had my laparoscopy done back in October. I had no idea that I had it. I was diagnosed with Stage I mild/moderate endometriosis.
Endometriosis can be a very painful, chronic disease affecting 6.3 million American women. It occurs when the tissue that that lines the uterus (the endometrium) is found on the outside of the uterus. The displaced tissue grows into lesions which can lead to internal bleeding, and inflammation. It can cause, pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems. Yeah, it's a bitch. The real kicker is that the cause is unknown. via
It can have a devastating effect on the quality of life due to the painful symptoms, and it is the leading cause of infertility in women. It carries a huge personal and societal cost. Awareness to highlight these issues--and to call for investment into research is happening within local communities regionally and nationally and provides and opportunity to raise funds for research into better treatments. You can visit www.endometriosis.org to learn more about raising awareness of "the invisible disease".
This is actually a picture taken during my surgery. That small purple/blue lesion is endometriosis. It really doesn't look like much, and it really doesn't look like that little blob is the reason I haven't been able to have a baby, but it is. It's a huge reason. I'm very lucky that I am only Stage I mild/moderate. Dr. G was able to remove it pretty easily, and I have never had any painful symptoms, but there are many women out there who do experience chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that can keep them from functioning normally.
According to Endometriosis.Org there really is little research to support that endometriosis causes fertility problems, but it's the general consensus that women with endometriosis may have a harder time becoming pregnant.
There's a lot of theories, there's a lot of research, but I am a strong supporter of awareness. I feel like I'm raising awareness to endo and infertility every time I blog about our journey. Throughout the month of March (and all year long!) you can wear yellow to show your support for Endometriosis Awareness! Be sure to post your pics to Instagram (follow me! @lenaridley) and Twitter using hashtags #endometriosis #endendo #endometriosisawareness2014 #endoMarch2014 and any other hashtag you can come up with! Let's kick infertility's ass!