Infertility - Endometriosis is closely linked to infertility. Nearly half of all patients with Endometriosis may experience infertility. Alterations in prostaglandin secretion (a hormone-like enzyme which can cause inflammation), the inability of the ovaries to function normally as a result of the disease, the inability of the sperm to move properly towards the egg caused by adhesions or scar tissue, the body's own impaired immune response (which can result in rejection of the early implanted embryo), and anatomic distortions have all been linked to Endometriosis-related infertility. It is important that you follow-up with an infertility specialist or with your OBGYN after you have been treated.
Endometriosis has been found to have an immune component that can lead to miscarriages even after surgical debulking. While the surgery greatly improves the outcome, any patients who have gone on to become pregnant and miscarry, or those who have failed to conceive at all, should arrange for a reproductive immune profile. I highly recommend seeing the world authority on Reproductive Immunology, Dr. Jeffrey Braverman, with whom we have worked with great success with these types of patients.
Adhesions - these fibrous bands of tissue are commonly associated with Endometriosis and can cause significant pain and organ dysfunction. Formed by the body in response to the inflammatory trauma of the disease, they typically require surgical removal (called "lysis"). During Laparoscopic surgery for Endometriosis, lysis of adhesions can afford the patient increased symptomatic relief and allow for normal pelvic restoration.
Other Disorders - A growing body of research has documented the strong link between Endometriosis and fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, and asthma, as well as autoimmune inflammatory diseases such as thyroid disease, systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome, Meniere's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Additionally, some studies have linked Endometriosis to certain cancers, such as melanoma, breast and ovarian cancer, as well as malignant transformation of the disease itself.
Endometriosis may also be linked to other estrogen-dependant pelvic conditions such as fibroids (muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus, known as "leiomyoma"), Interstitial Cystitis (often called "Endo's Evil Twin"-a urinary bladder syndrome characterized by significant pain and urinary frequency) and adenomyosis (the presence of diffuse Endometriosis throughout the muscular lining of the uterus).