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Endometriosis and pregnancy outcomes

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Can endometriosis affect the chances for a successful pregnancy?

A new study from Scotland suggests that it may. It has been known for years that endometriosis can cause infertility, but it was less clear was whether it might affect the outcomes of those who do successfully conceive.

For those who are unfamiliar, endometriosis is a condition in which tissue resembling the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) grows in places where it does not normally belong such as as on the ovary, near the fallopian tubes or in other parts in the peritoneal membrane that lines the pelvis. Besides affecting fertility, endometriosis can result in painful menses (dysmenorrhea) and painful intercourse (dyspareunia). The symptoms of endometriosis are often cyclic, fluctuating along with a woman's reproductive hormones.

In a large study presented at the ESHRE meeting in Lisbon, the group from Edinburgh in the UK, reported that women who with known endometriosis were more likely to have miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies that those who did not. While this does not prove that endometriosis causes poor pregnancy outcomes, it does suggest that women with endometriosis are more likely to experience an early pregnancy loss or ectopic pregnancy.