Medfem Supports #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth this March

Every year in March, #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth is observed around the world to raise awareness about this medical condition that affects an estimated 10% of women during their reproductive years. That’s approximately 176 million women in the world!

In this article, we share crucial information about endometriosis in support of #EndometriosisAwarenessMonth; consider the impact of endometriosis on fertility; and find out where you can get treatment for this common medical condition.

Around the world, March is recognised as Endometriosis Awareness Month, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of this medical condition that is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility in women, and affects around 176 million women today!

Raising awareness is crucial because, due to a “normalisation” of symptoms, there is a general lack of awareness about endometriosis among both women and healthcare providers. This often results in a significant delay from when a woman first experiences symptoms until she eventually is diagnosed and treated.

Here in South Africa, our team at Medfem Fertility Clinic supports efforts to increase awareness of endometriosis globally, as well as locally through organisations such as Endo SA – you can visit their Facebook page here.

Important facts about endometriosis

The important facts about endometriosis below are provided by The World Endometriosis Society and The World Endometriosis Research Foundation, and are available through, a global platform linking stakeholders in endometriosis around the world.

* Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrium (tissue which is similar to the lining inside the uterus) grows somewhere outside the uterus. It is primarily found on the pelvic peritoneum, on the ovaries, in the recto-vaginal septum, on the bladder, and bowel, and in rare cases even on the diaphragm and in the lungs.

* Endometriosis induces a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in scar tissue. However, although endometriosis is associated with inflammation and immunological dysfunctions, it has not been proven itself to be an autoimmune disease.

* Endometriosis affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years, usually between the ages of 15 to 49.

* Endometriosis can start as early as a girl’s first period, and menopause may not resolve the symptoms of endometriosis, especially if there is scar tissue or adhesions from the disease and/or from surgery.

* There is no known cause of endometriosis. However, certain genes are likely to predispose women to the disease and women whose mothers and/or sisters are affected, have a higher risk of developing endometriosis. Whether a woman is affected may also be influenced by the age when her menstrual period started, other gynaecologic factors, and environmental exposures, including for example environmental pollutants such as dioxin.

* Endometriosis causes symptoms ranging from painful periods, painful ovulation and pain during or after sexual intercourse, to heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and even infertility, and can impact on general physical, mental, and social well-being.

* There is no known cure, but endometriosis can be treated effectively to help relieve symptoms and improve a woman’s quality of life.

* Treatments include medication and surgery. Finding the right solution for you requires means consulting with a medical professional about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life, and whether you want to have children now or in the future.

* Hormonal treatments for endometriosis temper oestrogen production and suppress the menstrual period to prevent the monthly bleeding, but many of these treatments have side-effects. There are several types of medications that act by shrinking the lining of the uterus and the endometriotic lesions, including the oral contraceptive pill; progestins/progesterone and the Mirena.

* Surgery can be effective to remove endometriosis lesions and scar tissue. In fact, laparoscopic surgery (keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery) is the only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis, and in most cases the disease can be diagnosed and treated in the same procedure. The success of surgery is, however, dependent on the skill of the surgeon, so make sure you find a specialist experienced in the surgical removal of endometriosis.

* Hysterectomy, with surgical removal of all the endometriosis at the same time, may relieve symptoms, but may not be a “definitive cure” either. Removal of the ovaries at the same time as a hysterectomy is performed increases the chances of pain relief but also results in an immediate menopause.

Endometriosis and fertility

Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. In fact, around 30% of women with infertility problems have endometriosis.

There are many ways in which endometriosis can affect fertility. Endometrial tissue can cause an inflammatory reaction in the pelvis, which has been shown to affect the reproductive process at every stage, from egg development to implantation in the uterus. Scarring and adhesions caused by endometriosis can also distort the anatomy of the pelvis; or cause scarred, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes or damaged ovaries. Endometriosis can also change in the hormonal environment of the eggs; affect egg quality; and impair the implantation of embryos.

However, having endometriosis does not invariably mean that you will be infertile. In general, it is believed that the likelihood of fertility problems increases with the severity of the disease, but up to 70% of women with endometriosis are still fertile. In addition, about half the women who have difficulties with getting pregnant do eventually conceive with or without treatment.

There are well established and effective medications and procedures available to assist you in falling pregnant even if you have endometriosis.

Where can I get treatment for endometriosis?

If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, or if you are affected by the symptoms such as infertility, and especially if you need treatment that will ensure you can still conceive in future, we would like to invite you to meet one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic.

We use safe and proven methods to establish a clear diagnosis of endometriosis and the treatment we recommend is highly individualised for each patient.

Medfem Fertility Clinic is also one of the first medical facilities in South Africa to have developed a fully comprehensive operating theatre with all the necessary equipment to perform procedures such as laparoscopies.

Laparoscopy is an operation performed on the inside of the abdomen (tummy) and pelvis in with the aid of a camera. It only requires a few small cuts in the abdomen and for this reason, the procedure is also known as keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery.

In fact, our facilities at Medfem Fertility Clinic are a centre for advanced laparoscopy. Our state-of-the-art theaters are specially designed and fully equipped and our specialists have also all undergone extensive training abroad and are experts in performing laparoscopies.

At Medfem we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:

* World-Class Fertility for Everyone – we believe in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone

* A Positive Fertility Journey – It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey

* Delivered With Empathy & Caring – So you may have a fond memory, of a feeling of empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem family.

Simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!


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