Did you know that on average it takes around 7.5 years for a woman living in the UK to get the correct diagnosis of having endometriosis?
This is a condition that affects 1 in 10 women and is where tissue similar to that of the lining of the uterus grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes but can affect other areas of the body too. This tissue goes through the same cycle as the uterus lining but when breaking down it cannot exit the body as with menstruation and so can cause inflammation, adhesions, scarring, cysts and debilitating pain.
Many women (often from as early as in their teens) suffer with endometriosis thinking their symptoms (which can include pelvic pain, painful bowel movements/urination, pain during intercourse, painful and/or heavy periods, extreme tiredness) are normal.
For some, when they do seek help the medical professionals don’t take them seriously or try to plaster over the issue by sending them away with painkillers or the contraceptive pill. For some there are no symptoms at all and some don’t realise endometriosis could be a possibility until they try to get pregnant and can’t.
Endometriosis can be present in up to 50% of couples who struggle to conceive. It is not to say that pregnancy won’t ever occur when you have endometriosis but for many, conception can take far longer to happen as adhesions, scarring and cysts associated with this illness can reduce your chances. Those with mild endometriosis may not have any problems conceiving but there are some who cannot conceive at all.
I am yet to know if I have this condition, but I have been referred to see a specialist who will perform a laparoscopy to look for patches of endometriosis (which is the only way to confirm for sure if you have the condition).
It took 5 years for us to conceive our beautiful twin babies. We know that selecting fertile days using the Creighton Model FertilityCare System increased our odds after over 4 years of nothing, yet it still took 9 months (when those of normal fertility selecting fertile days have a 98% chance of conceiving in 6 cycles using the Creighton Model System) – so we know we need some extra help.
This year (after trying for quite some time again after losing our girls) with the help of our NaProTechnology Consultant we have finally had some answers to why we may have issues. Being over 40 can itself be a factor as egg quality and progesterone levels decrease the older we get. My blood progesterone levels were found to be far too low in the second half of my cycle meaning there would be a higher risk of early miscarriage. Biomarkers on my chart also suggested low progesterone.
Note that the NHS claim my blood results are within normal range, however years of NaProTechnology Studies to specifically look at progesterone levels in maintaining a healthy pregnancy show a different scale of what is considered optimum. Follicle scanning to confirm if I ovulate successfully (not something offered by the NHS) also showed that I grew a lovely big follicle but it wasn’t actually rupturing as it should to release an egg!
So many women’s cycles can look text book regular as mine did, but all this can silently be occurring behind the scenes. I am now so glad to be on a treatment plan to restore my fertility to what it should be in the most natural way possible using bio-identical hormone therapy (which is helping me ovulate properly without over stimulating my ovaries) as well as following a special diet and taking supplements for optimum fertility.
It is reassuring to know when you go through the diagnosis phase with a NaProTechnology Consultant that no stone is left unturned. It was suggested we look into whether endometriosis could be a factor alongside the hormone tests and follicle tracking scans especially as certain biomarkers on my chart and a few symptoms suggest this could be the case.
Endometriosis is not easy to treat and is rarely curable. A usual approach is to remove the tissue through surgery. Hormone therapy can also help, pain relief does have its benefits to manage any pain and diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce the inflammation. From my FertilityCare Practitioner training and from many accounts from women who have experienced going through surgery I have learned that it is vital to ensure removal of endometriosis tissue is carried out by a specialist who has had NaProTechnology surgery training or similar high standard training.
These surgeons know how to scrupulously search and identify all affected areas (which can be missed by other surgeons) and then to carefully and thoroughly remove as much of the tissue as possible and reduce adhesions in such a way that lowers the risk of bleeding and further scarring /adhesions and the need for repetitive surgery. They use a technique called excision which restores and protects your fertility and gives longer relief from the condition rather than ablation which burns the areas and can cause scarring and impede your fertility. I am certainly not going to take any risks when it comes to any necessary treatment.
Unfortunately, none of the diagnostic techniques or treatment for infertility that is being offered by our NaProTechnology consultant were suggested to us when we went down the NHS route. We were left in a lonely category known as ‘unexplained infertility’. As much as I appreciate the amazing NHS service we have in this country it is a terrible reality that there is just not enough funding for studies for NHS health professionals to know any different or to be able to offer alternatives to minimal diagnostic tests. There is usually a huge jump to artificial reproductive technologies (such as IVF) that bypass any kind of restorative approach and don’t result in finding or treating the cause for infertility.
It is awful to think that it has more or less taken that 7.5 years I first quoted to even begin to see if I have endometriosis. If we hadn’t found out about the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and now be on this Napro Journey as a result, I doubt we would now be in a position to check this out and it could have been much longer.
My husband and I are yet to conceive again with a brother or sister for our babies in heaven but we have tremendous hope and far above all else we can trust that the restorative path we are following is providing us with answers and taking good care of my health!
Are you suffering from possible symptoms of endometriosis? Are you struggling to conceive and unsure of the cause? Or maybe you have no symptoms but would like to learn a system that helps you to monitor your gynaecological and reproductive health and know what is normal vs abnormal in your cycle?
Please contact me today on 07793 350 882 for a free 15 min consultation to see how I may be able to help your situation.