Your questions answered on endometriosis

Mr Shaheen Khazali, consultant gynaecologist and endometriosis surgeon at The Lister Hospital, answers some of the most common questions asked about the conditions endometriosis

Can You Get Pregnant With Endometriosis?

It is true that endometriosis can affect fertility in some women. It is also true that around 40% of infertile women suffer from endometriosis. But most women with endometriosis can get pregnant. How endometriosis affects a person’s fertility depends on your age, severity of the disease and whether or not endometriosis has affected ovaries or the fallopian tubes.

Is Endometriosis Genetic? Is Endometriosis Hereditary?

Genes certainly have a role to play but this is not the same as endometriosis being hereditary. first degree relatives of endometriosis sufferers are more likely to have endometriosis than their say, next door neighbour but this does not mean that they will necessarily have the disease.

What Does Endometriosis Look Like?

Endometriosis has many different appearances. Sometimes the lesions look like blisters with clear fluid inside, sometimes they are brown/black lesions on the lining of the pelvis (these are called burnt match lesions), sometimes they are white (fibrotic lesions) and sometimes they are stony hard lumps invading into various organs such as the bowel or the bladder.

Can Endometriosis Be Cured?

Yes, but I don’t like the word “cure” in this context as it is usually used for cancer and means that there are no cancer cells present in the body anymore. With good treatment, many endometriosis sufferers can lead normal lives and get their quality of life back and have a family. In my books, that means they are cured. 

How To Test For Endometriosis?

Diagnosing endometriosis can be challenging. There is no blood test for its diagnosis. Ultrasound scan can often miss less severe endometriosis and even MRI may not show smaller endometriosis lesions. Listening to the patients history and symptoms along with a careful clinical examination can give an experienced endometriosis specialist a good idea of the likelihood of endometriosis being present. In some cases, the only way to be sure, is a laparoscopy to look inside the pelvis.