Staging Endometriosis With EFI

If you have endometriosis, it's probable that you went through many years of painful periods before a doctor finally diagnosed you as having endometriosis. You're not alone. According to the Endometriosis Association, endometriosis affects over 7 million women throughout the world.

Errant Tissue

But now that you know what you've got, you want to know how it will affect your fertility. What are your chances of becoming pregnant? The truth is it's been very hard to predict how endometriosis will affect a woman's ability to become pregnant. Endometriosis is not an easy disease process to understand, since it involves the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus. It is this errant tissue that causes the terrible pain. Besides the pain, there is irregular bleeding and fertility issues. While there's no real cure for the condition, endometriosis can be treated with surgery, hormone therapy, and pain medication.

The medical community has continued to express its frustration at finding a way to stage the clinical presentation of the disease. This difficulty has made it hard to calculate the impact of endometriosis on the associated symptoms such as infertility and pain. Because it has been so hard for doctors to pin down a way to stage the condition, they've been hampered in their ability to relieve the effects of endometriosis on all the millions of women who suffer from the disease.

Disease Staging

There are many reasons why doctors must be able to stage a disease. First of all, physicians need to be able to refer to aspects of the condition through the use of a common language. But staging also enables a physician to give a more specific diagnosis and helps him to standardize comparisons between a number of people with the same disease or with a control group. Staging also makes a tremendous difference in the ability of researchers to create clinical trials for treatments.

Now, a study has presented a staging system for endometriosis that should meet most of these requirements. This method has been found to be of great value to clinicians in treating patients who have endometriosis who are trying to conceive without IVF. The new method is called the Endometriosis Fertility Index (EFI). Developed by physicians at Fertility Physicians of Northern California in Palo Alto, this system helps determine the stage of your disease, the most appropriate treatment, and can help predict your chances for fertility during a given cycle.

EFI was created by using statistical analysis and mathematical analysis on 801 endometriosis patients so as to create a common language for physicians treating the disease in individual patients. According to Dr. David Adamson, one of the creators of EFI, the system factors in age, after-effects of surgery, number of years of infertility, and pregnancy history. The stages range from zero to ten and can help physician and patient to have a better monthly grasp of the patient's chances of conception. “If the chances look good then the doctor will recommend less intervention,” explains Dr. Adamson. “If the chances look poor then the doctor can decide whether a patient should go straight to IVF."

Login to comment

Post a comment