Get answers to your menopause and sexual dysfunction questions.
Treatment depends on the following factors:
If you have mild symptoms and do not ever want children, you may choose to have regular exams every 6 - 12 months so the doctor can make sure the disease isn't getting worse. You can manage your symptoms by using:
For other women, treatment options include:
Treatment to stop the endometriosis from getting worse often involves using birth control pills continously for 6 - 9 months to stop you from having periods and create a pregnancy-like state. This is called pseudopregnancy. This therapy uses estrogen and progesterone birth control pills. It relieves most endometriosis symptoms. However, it does not prevent scarring or reverse physical changes that have already occured as the result of the endometriosis.
Other hormonal treatments may include:
Surgery may be recommended if you have severe pain that does not get better with other treatments. Surgery may include:
Hormone therapy and laparoscopy cannot cure endometriosis. However, these treatments can help relieve some or all symptoms in many women for years.
Removal of the womb (uterus), fallopian tubes, and both ovaries (a hysterectomy) gives you the best chance for a cure. Rarely, the condition can return.
Endometriosis can lead to problems getting pregnant (infertility). Not all women, especially those with mild endometriosis, will have infertility. Laparoscopy to remove scarring related to the condition may help improve your chances of becoming pregnant. If it does not, fertility treatments should be considered.
Other complications of endometriosis include:
In a few cases, endometriosis implants may cause blockages of the gastrointestinal or urinary tracts. This is rare.
Very rarely, cancer may develop in the areas of endometriosis after menopause.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
Consider getting screened for endometriosis if your mother or sister has been diagnosed with endometriosis, or if you are unable to become pregnant after trying for 1 year.
Lobo R. Endometriosis: etiology, pathology, diagnosis, management. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap. 19.
Brown J, Pan A, Hart RJ. Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone analogues for pain associated with endometriosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Dec 8;(12):CD008475.
Giudice LC. Clinical practice. Endometriosis. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jun 24;362(25):2389-98.
de Ziegler D, Borghese B, Chapron C. Endometriosis and infertility: pathophysiology and management. Lancet. 2010 Aug 28;376(9742):730-8.
ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 110: noncontraceptive uses of hormonal contraceptives. Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Jan;115(1):206-18.
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