, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 441-447
Date: 25 Jun 2010

Endometriosis and infertility

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Abstract

Endometriosis is a debilitating condition characterized by high recurrence rates. The etiology and pathogenesis remain unclear. Typically, endometriosis causes pain and infertility, although 20–25% of patients are asymptomatic. The principal aims of therapy include relief of symptoms, resolution of existing endometriotic implants, and prevention of new foci of ectopic endometrial tissue. Current therapeutic approaches are far from being curative; they focus on managing the clinical symptoms of the disease rather than fighting the disease. Specific combinations of medical, surgical, and psychological treatments can ameliorate the quality of life of women with endometriosis. The benefits of these treatments have not been entirely demonstrated, particularly in terms of expectations that women hold for their own lives. Although theoretically advantageous, there is no evidence that a combination medical-surgical treatment significantly enhances fertility, and it may unnecessarily delay further fertility therapy. Randomized controlled trials are required to demonstrate the efficacy of different treatments.

Capsule

Endometriosis has a profound impact on quality of life, and developing a therapy that also improves fertility remains a challenge for clinicians and basic scientists.