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Endometriosis: Why Don't I Get Pregnant?

by Julia Seiffert
More and more women are professing endometriosis. Ex-GNTM candidate Anna Wilken is one of them. In an emotional Instagram post, the model recently admitted how much the disease affects her desire to have children. GALA spoke to a specialist and clarified the most important questions.

Former GNTM participant Anna Wilken, 24, has endometriosis and speaks publicly on Instagram about the difficulties of getting pregnant. She is not alone in this. Every year around 40,000 sexually mature women develop the chronic disease. But how does endometriosis develop? How does it affect fertility and what can sufferers do about it? GALA spoke to Professor Ludwig Kiesel, Director of the Clinic for Gynecology and Obstetrics at M√ľnster University Hospital, and answered the most important questions on the subject.

Endometriosis: what is it?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition. The lining of the uterus, which is usually removed during the monthly period, is deposited outside the uterus. Cysts and inflammations (so-called endometrial foci) can develop that settle on organs such as the ovaries or intestines. The endometrial foci can grow and bleed with the monthly cycle.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

A very common symptom of the disease is severe menstrual pain.
Further Endometriosis Symptoms can be:

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort (bloating, painful bowel movements and urination)
  • exhaustion

Endometriosis often has a different course

In many cases, it takes years for endometriosis to be diagnosed. The reason: As Professor Ludwig Kiesel explains, there are several degrees of severity and different forms of endometriosis. These cause different symptoms. Some patients have hardly any symptoms, others have very severe symptoms, in which the endometrial foci must be removed. The exact causes for the development of the disease have not yet been clarified with certainty. There is no cure for endometriosis. This diagnosis can therefore be particularly stressful for women who want to have children.

Why does endometriosis make pregnancy difficult?

Professor Ludwig Kiesel says:

In severe forms of endometriosis, various organs that are involved in the desire to have children can be impaired.

A possible obstacle to getting pregnant is the infection of the ovaries, the outer uterus or the fallopian tubes with endometriosis. "It causes inflammation, adhesions and scarring on the organs," said the expert. The uterus could also be affected from the inside on the wall. This not only affects getting pregnant, but also staying pregnant, thereby increasing the risk of premature births. Nevertheless, Professor Kiesel emphasizes: "This is only one of the factors that can make getting pregnant more difficult. About 15 percent of couples generally do not get pregnant easily or not at all. And this risk is increased from 15 to 20 percent by endometriosis."

Desire to have children despite illness: which therapy options help?

"By far the best thing to do is the operation itself, that is, the removal of the endometrial foci," says the expert. Another therapeutic method is taking medication. According to Professor Kiesel, however, the problem is that almost all preparations "have a preventive effect" and are therefore unsuitable for those wishing to have children. So far, surgery has always been recommended. However, as the former head of the Endometriosis Research Foundation (SEF), Ludwig Kiesel gives hope:

The disease has come more into focus and the specialist societies are in the process of researching more therapy options.

Source used:own interview, www.endometriose-vereinigung.de, Instagram

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