Endometriosis is a common yet often misunderstood condition that affects around one in ten women of reproductive age. Known for causing pain and fertility issues, it’s characterized by the growth of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. This disease can exist without the hallmark symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose and often leaving women unaware of their condition. This is known as silent endometriosis. The ReceptivaDX team aims to shed light on this elusive variant by introducing five things you might not know about silent endometriosis. Despite the lack of obvious signs, it is important and knowledgeable to understand its presence, potential implications, and the subtle clues it might leave behind.
Endometriosis is a condition in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus, causing pain and often infertility. Silent endometriosis, also known as asymptomatic endometriosis, is a type of endometriosis that does not cause any noticeable symptoms. Here are five facts you may not know about silent endometriosis:
- Just because there are no noticeable symptoms such as pain and discomfort, doesn’t mean it won’t cause infertility. Endometriosis can cause scarring and inflammation in the reproductive organs, making it harder for sperm to reach the egg and for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.
- For women undergoing fertility testing, it may be discovered here. However it is often overlooked. The only real symptom is recurrent pregnancy loss or failed IVF. If a woman is having trouble conceiving, her doctor may recommend an ultrasound or laparoscopy to check for endometriosis or order a test called ReceptivaDx which looks for a protein marker, BCL6 highly associated with endometriosis.
- It can be treated: Even though silent endometriosis does not cause pain, it can still be treated. Treatment options may include surgery to remove the endometriosis, hormonal therapy, or a combination of both. In the fertility setting, the most common treatment after detecting likely endometriosis through BCL6 is hormone suppression therapy which increases the probability of a successful IVF transfer 5 fold.
- It may be more common than we think: It is estimated that up to 70% of women with endometriosis do not experience any symptoms. This may explain why it takes anywhere from 7-10 years for women to get diagnosed with the disease.
- It can still be linked to other health issues: Silent endometriosis has been linked to other health issues, such as ovarian cancer and autoimmune disorders. This highlights the importance of early detection and treatment of endometriosis, even in cases where there are no noticeable symptoms.
If you suspect that you may have endometriosis, there are many centers that specialize in it. One is Icarebetter where their only focus is endometriosis. If you are going through or thinking about IVF, ask your doctor about ReceptivaDX. It may provide the answer you are looking for.