“Silent endometriosis” refers to a condition that shows no obvious symptoms but may cause infertility. Below are some symptoms of silent endometriosis that physicians use to identify the condition. Knowing these can help guide you to asking more specific questions to your gynecologist or fertility specialist.
Symptoms of Silent Endometriosis
Also known as ovarian endometrioma, an ovarian cyst is a lump that attaches itself outside the uterus. It mainly forms in the ovaries and contains a thick, syrup-like fluid similar to that on the uterus lining. Ovarian cysts affect anyone who menstruates, but it’s most common in women between the age of 25-40.
The methods a physician uses to diagnose an ovarian cyst include:
- Imaging procedures: The use of medical imaging helps doctors know the position and size of ovarian cysts. Imaging procedures are carried out using transvaginal ultrasound, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- Pelvic exam: Your doctor can physically palpate the area around the lower abdomen so they can identify any abnormalities. If they feel a mass indicating the probability of a cyst, they will do further tests to confirm.
- Cell examination: Cell examination is done during a laparoscopy procedure. A specialist makes an incision below your belly button and inserts a laparoscope. A sample is removed and tested for the presence of stroma cells and endometrial glands, indicating silent endometriosis.
Abnormal Hormonal Levels
An imbalance in hormones could signify endometriosis. It is characterized by an increase in estrogen and a decrease in progesterone levels. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent condition. When endometrium grows out of the uterus, it produces estrogen, which escalates the overall estrogen levels in the body. This hormonal imbalance condition can lead to infertility.
The doctor may recommend hormone therapy to stabilize your hormone levels, thus increasing the chances of conception and IVF success.
Other chronic diseases
Silent endometriosis contributes to other diseases, including multiple sclerosis, thyroid, lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have any of these chronic diseases, consult your gynecologist for further examination.
Infertility is a significant indicator of silent endometriosis. In fact, about of women with endometriosis have infertility problems. The likelihood of infertility in a woman with endometriosis increases with time. It is progressive, hence blocking the uterine organs as it grows. The ways that endometriosis affects fertility include:
- Scarring fallopian tubes
- Causing hormonal imbalance
- Hinder egg growth
- Prevent embryo implantation
- Inflammation of the pelvis
How to Diagnose Silent Endometriosis
After unexplained infertility or other endometriosis’ signs and symptoms, fertility doctors recommend further testing to confirm or deny the presence of symptoms. The methods for testing include:
Laparoscopy involves inserting an instrument called a laparoscope into a surgical incision on the belly. A sample is then removed for testing. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia by a gynecologist or a surgeon.
The pelvic examination involves manual palpation of the lower abdomen to determine if there are any abnormalities. While this method is not accurate especially if the inflammations are small, it can detect cysts and scars behind your uterus.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) employs a magnetic field and radio waves to provide doctors with comprehensive images of the body’s tissues. It can trace the location and size of the endometriosis; hence, doctors use it in surgical planning and operation.
Treatment For Silent Endometriosis Infertility
When you get a positive test after diagnosis, your doctor will create and administer a treatment plan, tailored to your needs to increase your chances of conception. The most effective treatment for infertility caused by silent infertility is “in vitro fertilization” (IVF).
This is a method of assisted conception, in which the egg is fertilized by sperm cells in the lab and then attached to the mother’s womb. Other treatments that enhance the likelihood of conception are hormone therapy and laparoscopy.
Visit a Fertility Doctor Today
Visit your gynecologist for a check-up when you identify a sign of silent endometriosis. Early diagnosis helps save extensive endometriosis complications. If you get tested due to infertility, there is a chance for conception after diagnosis and treatment! Positive advances in medical treatments have proven to be impressively effective in reducing or eliminating the detrimental symptoms of conditions like endometriosis.