Hope Fertility Clinic brings world-class fertility treatment to Mediclinic Sandton, led by three specialists with a keen interest in treating endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a common disease affecting women in which tissue similar to the womb lining also grows elsewhere in the body, such as the bowel, bladder, or ovaries. The condition is under-recognised and under-diagnosed, especially in South Africa. If you’ve heard of it, you may think it just causes painful periods. However, untreated endometriosis can result in infertility. A new, dedicated clinic at Mediclinic Sandton aims to address that.
Hope Fertility Clinic is run by Dr Neelan Pillay, Dr Wynand van Tonder and Dr Gaontebale Matlhaga, all specialist gynaecologists who are subspecialists in fertility, reproductive and endocrine medicine.
One of the main challenges of dealing with endometriosis, says Dr Pillay, is recognising you have it in the first place. “Two main signs of this condition are unfortunately very common: dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and excessive bleeding. But how do you quantify pain? Too many women suffer in silence, without knowing they could have a serious condition, and that it could be treated.”
Dr Van Tonder agrees. “While one in 10 women suffer from endometriosis, 60% of them are mis- or undiagnosed. At Hope Fertility Clinic we aim to treat women at all stages of their endometriosis, both medically and surgically, to improve their quality of life and increase their chances of conceiving.”
Endometriosis is a complex condition and a range of theories exist for how and why it develops. The most respected of these, says Dr Pillay, is that it occurs when tissue similar to the endometrium (lining of the uterus) grows outside of the uterine cavity.
When this happens, that tissue responds to hormonal changes by growing, thickening and breaking down. However, if the tissue is in the ovaries, bowel or pelvic region, it has nowhere to go, and becomes trapped – causing irritation, severe pain during the menstrual cycle, painful intercourse, scar formation and eventually, fertility problems.
Research shows endometriosis often occurs as a result of genetic predisposition, or a variety of lifestyle or environmental-related factors, such as toxins in food or cosmetic products. It can range in severity, depending on the location and size of the tissue.
Most patients present looking for solutions to fertility issues, without realising they have endometriosis. This is often because it can be difficult to define what a painful period is, he says. “As a rule of thumb, if you have to take medication for the pain – such as paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory – or use a hot compress, then we can say, yes, you have a painful period and should look for treatment.”
Women with advanced stages of the condition are usually diagnosed by means of an ultrasound, and those in earlier stages will need either a minimally invasive laparoscopy or a thorough examination of their medical history.
Hope Fertility Clinic works with a multidisciplinary team of surgeons and physicians at Mediclinic Sandton to plan surgical treatments. Not all patients will require surgery to treat their endometriosis, Dr Pillay explains. “There are a range of options so we can tailor the treatment to the patient’s individual needs.”
The unit has also invested in world-class incubators and clean-room air technology to improve the chance of creating better-quality embryos. The facility also offers infertility counselling services.
The clinic gives patients access to world-class fertility treatment that brings together fertility specialists under one roof. It’s a well-equipped facility that treats a range of conditions in a welcoming environment, managed and staffed by caring, compassionate clinical experts.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.