Those of us who dedicate our time to treating endometriosis frequently discuss how to reduce the time from onset to diagnosis, which is estimated to average anywhere from 4 to 11 years.1-3 In addition to patients who have never been told about endometriosis, we also see patients who have been placed on hormonal suppression for years based on their probability of having the condition.
Statistics show 1 in 4 pregnancies miscarry and 1 in 6 couples will struggle conceiving. Despite the frequency of these challenges, needed multidisciplinary care to support those who struggle remains elusive for the majority of patients. Pregnancy loss and infertility not only take a physical toll on the body, but they also impact mental health, especially if there are underlying, chronic conditions.
Reflecting back on infertility, pregnancy loss, and the impact of not having access to a reproductive immunologist.
How many incomplete surgeries and rounds of “medical management” need to occur until an endometriosis patient gets a diagnosis and the expert, multidisciplinary treatment they need to improve quality of life and fertility? How many pregnancy losses does a patient have to endure for their doctor to change course?
When I first meet with patients who have endometriosis, they often cry. It’s usually the first time a doctor has really listened to them, validating complaints that have been brushed off for years or explaining why hormone treatments and surgeries haven’t worked in the past. After I’ve listened, I offer a clear plan to help.
Why might an individual experience unexplained infertility, IVF failure, or recurrent pregnancy loss? Why might someone with endometriosis not be able to conceive even after expert excision? What can help someone have a baby, even when they have tried everything and still don’t know what’s happening?
Structural racism and implicit bias permeates many institutions throughout America, devastating the lives of African Americans. Healthcare, made of the medical institutions that reign under its umbrella, is no exception. The field of gynecology has an especially egregious history of horrific crimes of racial nature.
As leaders among our worldwide – yet so closely knit – endometriosis community, we recognize the importance now more than ever of upholding our shared commitment towards fostering a welcoming, supportive and inclusive space for all. We are so fortunate to have the privilege of providing care to a beautifully diverse patient population between us, one comprised of individuals from every race, religion and background from around the globe.
This week marks National Infertility Awareness week, a time devoted to bringing awareness to and educating the greater community about a struggle that impacts millions of individuals in the United States alone. Although not all patients with endometriosis will struggle to conceive, some studies suggest that up to 50% of women with infertility also struggle with endometriosis.