Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis both impact female reproduction and have the potential to result in infertility. Endometriosis is brought on by abnormal cell development outside the uterus, while PCOS is brought on by a hormonal issue. Although these two conditions may exhibit similar symptoms, they are actually quite distinct from each other. How does PCOS differ from endometriosis, and what are the treatment approaches for each condition? We will address these questions and more on our blog.
Endometriosis develops when tissue that typically lines the inside of the uterus appears on or near the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue that lines the interior of the pelvis in locations outside the uterus. Pelvic discomfort might occur each month as this endometrial tissue deteriorates and bleeds.
Endometriosis frequently manifests as:
Painful and heavy periods
Pain during urination, bowel motions, or sexual activity
Infertility brought on by the formation of scar tissue
Endometriosis is characterized primarily by persistent pelvic discomfort and intense menstrual periods accompanied by severe menstrual cramps. It can lead to lower back pain and may even affect the digestive system, causing complications. Additionally, it can result in dysfunction of the bladder, bowel, and sexual organs.
Genetics have a critical role in the formation of endometrial cells beyond the uterine lining, despite the fact that the precise origin of this disorder is unknown. This anomaly may be hereditary and run in some families.
- Immune system dysfunction
- Endometrial cells may be transported throughout your body by your blood vessels.
- Abdominal surgery scars, including those from hysterectomy and C-section.
- Excess estrogen, a female hormone, has been associated with endometriosis.
Endometriosis does not currently have a known treatment. However, the symptoms can be treated to lessen discomfort and enhance your quality of life.
For those who are not seeking to get pregnant, this is the first line of therapy. Before recommending a particular birth control method, doctors will evaluate a variety of criteria, including the patient’s age, the severity of symptoms, and history of other illnesses.
This minimally invasive keyhole operation could be the best treatment option for severe symptoms including excruciating pain, heavy bleeding, or trouble becoming pregnant. When alternative forms of therapy are unsuccessful, surgery is advised.
It is a hormonal condition that impacts the functioning of the ovaries. PCOS causes an imbalance in the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The release of an egg from the ovary, known as ovulation, is triggered by LH.
FSH is in charge of promoting the development of follicles in the ovaries so they can develop into mature eggs.
A high amount of LH in comparison to FSH is present in PCOS patients, which interferes with follicle development and can result in the growth of many tiny cysts in the ovaries.
Common signs and symptoms of PCOS include:
Irregular or sporadic menstrual periods
Increased levels of the male hormone androgen (which can lead to acne and excessive facial or body hair growth)
Ovarian cysts of a small size
Insulin resistance—a factor in Type 2 diabetes and obesity
Typical symptoms of PCOS encompass irregular or absent menstrual cycles, anovulation (lack of timely or complete ovulation), excessive hair growth (hirsutism), weight gain, thinning hair on the scalp (androgenic hair loss), as well as oily or acne-prone skin.
Causes of PCOS
The precise reason behind the occurrence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) remains unclear, but experts believe that it arises from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
One important factor contributing to its development is insulin resistance, which refers to the body’s cells not adequately responding to insulin.
Additionally, chronic low-level inflammation has been identified as a potential catalyst for PCOS. There is evidence suggesting a hereditary component to the condition, and certain lifestyle factors associated with obesity may also contribute to its onset.
Options for treatment
Birth control tablets can help manage menstruation and lower the body’s amount of androgens (male hormones).
Losing weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can improve the symptoms of PCOS and reduce the risk of related health issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Women with PCOS who desire to get pregnant may utilize fertility therapies, including ovulation induction and assisted reproductive technologies.
For women with PCOS who develop ovarian cysts, surgery can be an option.
Is it possible to have PCOS and endometriosis at the same time?
It is possible to have endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) together, despite the fact that this is unusual. Each condition individually can have adverse effects on fertility, and research indicates that experiencing both simultaneously can intensify fertility issues.
How are PCOS and endometriosis identified?
The only way to definitively identify endometriosis is through laparoscopic surgery. However, doctors may utilize imaging tests like an MRI and ultrasound to help. In a minimally invasive process known as laparoscopic surgery, the doctor makes a few tiny incisions in your belly and inserts a camera known as a laparoscope to observe the inside organs. Specialized instruments can be used to treat endometriosis by performing excision, which involves removing the lesions when the condition is discovered.
The doctor can evaluate whether a patient displays symptoms of PCOS by utilizing a blood test to analyze their hormone levels. Furthermore, they may request an ultrasound to examine the patient’s ovaries and determine if they exhibit indications of polycystic characteristics.
What is the effect of endometriosis and PCOS on fertility?
Endometriosis can physically disrupt the reproductive organs, potentially resulting in:
- Scarring of the uterine tubes
- Inflammation in the pelvic region
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Impaired immune system functioning
These conditions can all contribute to difficulties with ovulation, fertilization, and the successful implantation of an embryo.
PCOS can lead to a hormonal imbalance that affects the natural process of ovulation. This imbalance specifically affects the body’s ability to:
- Maintain a regular menstrual cycle
- Release an egg successfully
- Facilitate the process of embryo implantation
Without proper ovulation, achieving pregnancy becomes challenging or impossible. Managing both conditions can be difficult, and it’s important to acknowledge that not everything will go as planned. Being prepared for challenging moments is crucial. However, there are various resources available to help alleviate symptoms and reduce suffering. Remembering that each situation is unique and personal, it is essential to discuss the most suitable approach with your healthcare provider. You can also consider consulting with renowned fertility doctors at 9M Fertility for expert guidance.