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Endometriosis is often the cause of infertility - the desire to have children can be met by appropriate therapy
Endometriosis is a chronic but benign disease that can affect women of reproductive age. Women's suffering, which is accompanied, among other things, by severe menstrual pain, often leads to infertility. Estimates assume that up to 50 percent of women with an unfulfilled desire to have children are affected by endometriosis. Appropriate therapy can help those affected to become pregnant.
Millions of women in Germany suffer from endometriosis
Over 30,000 women develop new endometriosis every year. It is estimated that ten to 15 percent of all women of sexually mature age suffer from it. That is two to six million women in Germany. The course of the disease differs from case to case. The disease is one of the most common causes of infertility. However, suitable therapy can sometimes help those affected to become pregnant.
Severe, cycle-dependent pain
Endometriosis is a benign but often painful chronic condition in which the endometrium (uterine lining) settles outside the uterus.
Endometriosis growths spread to the woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, bladder, or peritoneum, sometimes in other organs.
The disease almost always disappears on its own with the mostly severe, cycle-dependent pain in the menopause. The exact origin is still unclear.
Illness usually remains undetected for years
Endometriosis usually remains undetected for years. "On average, it takes six years for a woman to get the correct diagnosis," explains Professor Dr. Gerald Gitsch, Medical Director of the Clinic for Gynecology at the University Medical Center Freiburg in a message.
During this period, patients often suffer from pain during menstrual bleeding, sexual intercourse, back pain and less often pain during urination or bowel movements.
Chronic abdominal pain can also indicate endometriosis.
“It is typical for endometriosis that the symptoms increase with the menstrual cycle and then subside again. Half of the women with endometriosis are symptom-free, ”explains private lecturer Dr. Michaela Bossart, senior physician at the clinic for gynecology at the university hospital.
Just a safe diagnostic option
The only sure way to make a diagnosis is surgery under general anesthesia.
With a laparoscopy, called a laparascopy, a tissue sample is taken and examined.
Abdominal mirroring can also be used to determine the location, severity and type of growth of the endometrial focus.
Many women want to have children
The pain caused by endometriosis is often treated with pain medication, but such medication has no influence on the course of the actual disease.
In many cases, the only option is surgery, especially if endometriosis prevents the desire to have children.
And it is precisely this wish that is the focus of many women. "About every second woman with an unfulfilled desire to have children has endometriosis," explains Dr. Jörg Woll, Head of the Endometriosis Center, Clinic for Gynecology, University Hospital Freiburg.
"That is why we also offer an appointment for fertility therapy for diagnosed endometriosis, at which women or affected couples can make an appointment."
Good treatment success
There is currently no therapy that can cure endometriosis, i.e. eliminate its causes. However, various treatment options can help to temporarily or permanently alleviate the symptoms.
Usually, laparoscopic surgery followed by medication with hormones or pain relievers leads to freedom from symptoms.
"It is always a great pleasure when many patients who were unintentionally childless become pregnant after the treatment," said the expert Dr. Bossart.
Positive experiences with alternative healing methods
In addition to conventional medical treatment methods, alternative healing methods are also conceivable, especially after an operation.
The focus is on "reducing symptoms, reducing pain and restoring or strengthening the physical and psychological well-being of women", the Endometriosis Association Germany writes on its website.
According to the association, there are already positive experiences with acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), homeopathy and herbal medicine (phytotherapy).
The disease can also be positively influenced by a sensible change in diet, the reduction of stress and moderate exercise. (ad)