The cramps that can lead to infertility

Something of great concern to 10% of Singaporean women during their reproductive years is Endometriosis. This is a condition where the cells of the womb’s lining (the endometrium) are found outside the womb, usually in the pelvis and around the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

The most worrying part is that Endometriosis often goes undiagnosed, as women tend to brush it off as severe menstrual cramps and do not visit their gynaecologist to treat the condition. This had been true of C until she went to see Dr Lubna Harharah at The Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre.

Dr Lubna is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist that specialises in the management of a wide range of conditions involving the female reproductive system. She has a keen interest in pre-invasive cervical conditions such as the treatment of abnormal smears.

C told her gynaecologist that her menstrual cramps were becoming unbearable, and was hoping she could provide some relief for her during her periods.

Are you at risk?

Scarily, around 30% of women in Singapore complaining of severe menstrual pain are actually suffering from Endometriosis. Having listened to C’s symptoms, which included heavy periods with terrible menstrual pain, pain during sex, pelvic pain and pain passing motion during menstruation, it became clear that C could be suffering from this condition.

On assessment of C, who was 25 and never been pregnant, Dr Lubna found out that her periods often last longer than 7 days. This is another risk factor associated with Endometriosis. Others factors that put women at risk of having Endometriosis include: a family member who has or had the condition, a menstrual cycle less than 28 days, started periods before the age of 12, and having an abnormal share in the uterus, cervix or vagina that blocks or slows menstrual flow.

Dr Lubna examined C through an ultrasound scan to confirm her prognosis. She then performed a laparoscopy on C, where a telescope is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision in the belly button. This procedure allows the doctor to identify any endometriotic deposits and cysts.

Will C’s case of Endometriosis affect her chances of getting pregnant in the future? Click on page 2 to find out…