Dr. Tamer Seckin spoke at an Instagram live event on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, hosted by model, actress, and television producer Corrine Foxx who is also an endometriosis patient. Danielle Sarah, the founder and director of The Fertile Spirit, also attended. The Fertile Spirit is a team of care providers who specialize in women’s health with a focus on fertility.
Corrine’s fertility journey with endometriosis
The event, “Reproductive Options For Individuals Living With Endometriosis” kicked off with Corrine’s fertility journey with endometriosis. Corrine was diagnosed with the disease three years ago by laparoscopic surgery and thought that having endometriosis meant she could not have children.
“Am I going be able to have kids?”,
she remembers asking the doctor.
“I don’t know”,
and walked out of the room.
“I was crying and thinking I am not going to be able to have kids.”
She then found that her grandmother and aunt both had the disease as well and they both were able to have children. After learning more about her family history, she understood that infertility was not necessarily the case.
Corrine asked Dr. Seckin what her fertility options are at age 27 as a woman with endometriosis.
Genetic component of endometriosis
Dr. Seckin started discussing this topic by touching on the genetic component of the disease and denoting that if a mother or grandmother has endometriosis, her daughters have a four to five times higher risk of also having the disease. But knowing this, according to Dr. Seckin, may help a woman be diagnosed and treated in a more timely manner.
How does endometriosis cause infertility?
Dr. Seckin also discussed about how endometriosis may cause infertility. He stated that 90% of unknown infertility cases (those without a discernable cause) are caused by peritoneal endometriosis and that this type of endometriosis cannot be detected by sonography, other imaging techniques, or blood tests.
In advanced cases of endometriosis, the cause may be morphological problems such as endometriomas of the ovary (chocolate cysts), blocked tubes, or scarring that may cause changes in anatomy, Dr. Seckin said. The other main cause of infertility is inflammation.
“At the tissue level, there is fire.”
This inflammation can cause implantation problems, ovarian reserve problems, and transportation problems, which can all inhibit the fertilization of the egg by a sperm, according to Dr. Seckin.
Management vs treatment of endometriosis
Dr. Seckin then talked about the difference between management and treatment of endometriosis. Symptoms of the disease can be managed medically or non-medically such as with acupuncture, pelvic massage, etc. Dr. Seckin said. However, the disease can only be treated by removing inflammation-causing lesions.
He also touched on the importance of timely intervention with laparoscopic excision surgery removing every single lesion. And for this, he said, education and awareness on reproductive health are of paramount importance so that young girls and women can recognize the symptoms of the disease.
“Painful periods [and] heavy bleeding are not acceptable, they are not normal,” Dr. Seckin said.
Importance of self adcovacy
Danielle then talked about the importance of advocating for oneself with so many endometriosis cases being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. She said that women know when there is something wrong with their bodies and underscored the importance of getting information from good sources.
Emotional aspect of endometriosis
The session continued with Dr. Seckin talking about the emotional aspect of endometriosis. He said that recognizing patients’ emotions is very important because it affects the outcome of the surgery. He said that establishing mutual trust between the doctor and patient is paramount.
Danielle added that people living with chronic diseases such as endometriosis can become very isolated from family, friends, and partners and that it is essential to have a doctor, therapist, or support community.
Services provided by The Fertile Spirit
Danielle summarized the services provided by The Fertile Spirit, which include doula services, psychological support provided by psychotherapists, coaches, and hypnotherapists, emotional support for couples and men, and support groups.
Q&A and close of the Instagram live event about endometriosis
The session concluded with Dr. Seckin answering some questions from the viewers.
One viewer asked whether IVF success rates improved after excision surgery, to which Dr. Seckin replied with a firm “absolutely”. He said that he advocates egg freezing before surgery if there are no endometriomas to increase a woman’s chance of conceiving.
Another viewer asked whether she should consider egg freezing after surgery to which Dr. Seckin also said yes.
Answering the question of a viewer who asked where she could find an endometriosis specialist Dr. Seckin said that the Endometriosis Foundation of America could help.
The session is available to view on Corrine Foxx’s Instagram account.