Endometriosis Awareness Month brings attention to this common disease
that is linked to infertility and often goes undiagnosed
VANCOUVER, March 7, 2013 /CNW/ - This March, during Endometriosis
Awareness Month, the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada (IAAC)
is shedding light on endometriosis, a chronic, relapsing and often
debilitating condition affecting women of reproductive age.
This disease - which is estimated to affect 10 per cent of women - is
strongly associated with infertility. A recent study published in the
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada identified a 39 per cent
prevalence of endometriosis in women experiencing infertility.
"Many women are not getting proper information on endometriosis,
particularly on how it can affect their fertility," says Dr. Christina
Williams, Director of Williams Fertility at the Crossroads Clinic in
Vancouver and Member of the BC Women's Centre for Pain and
Endometriosis. "Each woman experiences Endometriosis symptoms
differently, depending on the location and severity of the condition.
Patients should seek a complete diagnosis with their health provider,
and decide on the best treatment option."
Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial tissue, which lines a woman's
uterus during her menstrual cycle, in other parts of the body - mostly
commonly the fallopian tubes, ovaries, peritoneum and intestines. This
tissue produces inflammatory substances in response to the hormones of
the menstrual cycle that activate immune processes, which can cause
pain or scarring and ovarian cyst formation. It is also associated with
abnormal function of the uterine endometrial tissue, leading to severe
menstrual cramping and sometimes abnormal bleeding.
In advanced cases, scarring of reproductive organs is linked to
infertility. In cases where the ovaries and fallopian tubes are not
affected, endometriosis alters other events necessary for successful
conception - such as egg maturation, fertilization rates and possible
Infertility treatment for endometriosis involves either surgical removal
of endometriotic tissue, typically through laproscopy, or, in more
advanced cases, through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Laproscopy, and
other treatments for endometriosis, are publicly funded through BC's
medical services plan. Unfortunately, despite being the clinical best
practice for treating infertility for many women, in vitro is not
publicly funded and is costly - remaining a largely inaccessible option
for endometriosis sufferers.
A recent survey undertaken by IAAC found that nearly half of British
Columbians have been affected by infertility, either personally or
through family, friends or acquaintances. Many British Columbians are
attuned to endometriosis' consequences on starting a family; forty-one
per cent know endometriosis causes infertility, however the vast
majority were unaware of the underlying physiological causes of
infertility. When it comes to seeking treatment for infertility, 43 per
cent of British Columbians are unable to get treatment due to cost.
"There have been many cases throughout my practice where in vitro
fertilization is the only medical option to enable endometriosis
patients to conceive," says Dr. Williams. "Unfortunately, because of
the cost of in vitro fertilization treatment and the lack of services
across the province, many patients have had to give up on their dreams
of starting or building a family. By both building awareness of
endometriosis and bringing attention to the importance of publicly
funding IVF, IAAC is bringing hope to the hundreds of thousands of
British Columbians suffering from infertility."
To speak to an Infertility Awareness Association of Canada
representative or Dr. Christina Williams, Director of Williams
Fertility at the Crossroads Clinic and Member of the BC Women's Centre
for Pain and Endometriosis, please contact:
About the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada
The Infertility Awareness Association of Canada Inc. (IAAC) was founded
in 1990 and originated from an Ottawa voluntary group called the
Infertility Self Support Group, which began in 1983. IAAC is committed
to providing educational material, support and assistance to
individuals and couples who are experiencing the anguish of
infertility, a reproductive health disease which affects over half a
million Canadian men and women.
Image with caption: "Dr. Christina Williams - Credit: Williams Fertility at Crossroads Clinic (CNW Group/Infertility Awareness Association of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130307_C3165_PHOTO_EN_24362.jpg
SOURCE: Infertility Awareness Association of Canada
For further information:
IAAC website - www.iaac.ca
IVF4BC website - www.ivf4bc.ca
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ivf4bc/122328164594435
Twitter - https://twitter.com/ivf4bc/