Endometriosis and Miscarriage
Research from fertility doctors is now saying that women having endometriosis are more likely to suffer a miscarriage from complications of the condition and need to be extra careful during their pregnancy. A recent study in Scotland at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary conducted on 15,000 women found that having endometriosis increased the risk of a miscarriage by nearly 76%. So why don’t women suffering from endometriosis take the necessary precaution needed during the pregnancy? The basic issue is that endometriosis is quite difficult to identify and diagnose and it is believed that nearly 10 % of women suffer from endometriosis without ever being aware of the condition. Symptoms of endometriosis include stomach pain and painful periods, which are both very common symptoms and are common to a variety of conditions. Apart from a miscarriage, endometriosis also increases the risk of having a wide range of complications such as ectopic pregnancy, low birth weight in babies, etc.
Endometriosis and Miscarriage: Can Endometriosis Cause a Miscarriage?
Yes, endometriosis increases the risk of miscarriage in pregnancy. Earlier it was assumed that endometriosis will not affect a woman’s pregnancy. However, new research has shown that there is a strong link between endometriosis and miscarriage. While the exact reason why endometriosis may cause a miscarriage is not properly understood, it is thought that the scar tissues which form due to endometriosis may have a role to play.
Recently two major studies have explored the link between endometriosis and miscarriage. Both studies found that endometriosis heightens the risk of having a miscarriage. While one study found that there has been significantly increased the risk of miscarriage in previous pregnancies of women having endometriosis, the other found that the risk of miscarriage increases by nearly 80% in pregnant women having endometriosis. These studies were carried out as recently as 2016 and 2017. Why endometriosis causes miscarriages is not very clear and more research is needed in this area.
Other Than Endometriosis, What Other Factors Increase the Risk of a Miscarriage?
Apart from endometriosis, there are many other factors that increase the risk of miscarriage. One of the most common factors, of course, is age and being above the age of 35 years is likely to put you at a higher risk of having a miscarriage. For women, some other potential risks include:
- Previous miscarriages.
- Blood-clotting disorders.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Bacterial or viral infections during pregnancy.
- Exposure to certain medications or chemicals during pregnancy.
- Heavy smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
- Substance abuse during pregnancy.
- Abnormalities in the physical structure of the uterus.
- Excessive consumption of caffeine while pregnant.
Most miscarriages happen due to the abnormal development of the fertilized egg in the uterus and not because of anything you have done. Exercise, sex, and stress are not likely to cause a miscarriage.
Does Pregnancy Cure Endometriosis?
It is believed that you get a temporary relief from the symptoms of endometriosis once you become pregnant, but they tend to return after the pregnancy is complete.
What are the Common Signs of a Miscarriage?
There are several symptoms that indicate you are having a miscarriage. You need to seek immediate medical help if you experience any of these symptoms in your early pregnancy:
- Bleeding from the vagina.
- Cramping followed by pain in the lower abdomen.
- Fluid or tissue releasing from the vagina.
- Cessation of the common pregnancy symptoms.
While bleeding is not always an indicator of a miscarriage as before 12 weeks many women do experience some light bleeding. However, even if you experience light bleeding, you should still consult your doctor as a precaution. Your doctor is the best person to advise you on your situation and they will assess your symptoms and if required, carry out an ultrasound to determine the status of the fetus.
What to do if Miscarriage has been Determined?
If your doctor does determine that you are having a miscarriage, then there really is nothing further they can do to prevent it from happening. Knowing the cause of the miscarriage helps many women come to terms with the situation and also prevent it from happening again.
Even during a miscarriage, your doctor will still need to monitor you to ensure that tissue from the fetus is not retained in the uterus. This can often lead to complications and infections can follow.
Having endometriosis may make it difficult for you to conceive. After conception also you are at a higher risk of a miscarriage. According to studies, there is supporting evidence that shows that women having endometriosis have a higher chance of having a miscarriage. Because of the fact that doctors do not clearly understand why a miscarriage happens because of endometriosis, there is really nothing your doctor can do to lower your risk of a miscarriage. However, if you suffer from endometriosis you are deemed to be a high-risk pregnancy and your doctors will monitor your pregnancy very carefully.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the common risk factors for miscarriage during your pregnancy will help you reduce the chances of a miscarriage with endometriosis. If you feel you are experiencing any signs of a miscarriage, then you need to seek medical help immediately. Your doctor will be the best person to guide you through a pregnancy if you have endometriosis.
- Rajesh, S., Sibi Thomas, & Amita Suneja. (2020). Endometriosis and Miscarriage. Journal of Gynecology and Women’s Health, 17(2), 555927. doi:10.19080/JGWH.2020.17.555927
- Rajesh, S., Sibi Thomas, & Amita Suneja. (2019). Endometriosis and Pregnancy. Gynecology and Perinatology, 3(1), 1-2. doi:10.31031/GP.2019.03.000551
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Miscarriage. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/symptoms-causes/syc-20354298
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Endometriosis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021). Endometriosis. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/endometriosis