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The only really reliable way to confirm the condition is to perform a minor surgical procedure, called a laparoscopy. A small incision is made in the belly button and an instrument is then inserted to inspect the pelvic organs. Your doctor will actually be able to see whether or not you have Endometriosis and at what stage the disease is.

If your doctor diagnosis Endometriosis, he can decide to cut the growths out, using a laser

But often a woman would not want to have surgery, so what then? An experienced Gynaecologist should be able to recognise the symptoms, by asking the right questions and taking down a full medical history.

He may also opt to perform an ultrasound, MRI scan and internal examinations. This won’t confirm Endometriosis but will give the doctor a good idea that he may be dealing with the condition.

How will it affect your fertility?

Along with the discomfort and pain associated with Endometriosis comes the very worrying question of whether or not a woman with the condition will be able to have a baby.

Approximately 30 – 40% of patients with Endometriosis struggle to fall pregnant and as they get older, so the battle intensifies. Patients with Endometriosis have a 12 – 36% less chance of falling pregnant, depending on the stage and location of the disease.

Endometriosis can cause infertility because the growths often affect the reproductive organs. This happens when the tissue causes scars and adhesions near or around the fallopian tubes and uterus. Even if you are able to produce eggs, which make their way down the fallopian tubes, Endometriosis may create an unsuitable environment for fertilization to take place.

But it’s not impossible to have that much longed-for baby. Early diagnosis and treatment will make it easier for a woman to fall pregnant and carry the baby to full term.

For more information, contact the Endometriosis Institute of Southern Africa at 011 480 4283