Treatment for Endometriosis

Treatment for Endometriosis Treatment for Endometriosis

Millions of women today are finding helpful treatments for endometriosis that help them deal with the pain and other symptoms. Although there is no cure for endometriosis, there are effective medications and other treatment for endometriosis that can help you manage this condition.

Start with a medical diagnosis
Whether you are seeking endometriosis infertility treatment or treatment for endometriosis pain, you need to get a medical diagnosis. Here are some diagnostic options:

  • Your doctor or fertility specialist may find endometriosis when doing a pelvic exam, which can help identify large growths of endometrial tissue.
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen may be used to view your pelvic region and allow your doctor to check for small growths.
  • Since pelvic exams and ultrasounds can be inaccurate the most effective endometriosis infertility treatment is a surgical procedure called laparoscopy.

Surgery for endometriosis
About 60 to 80 percent of women undergoing laparoscopy as treatment for endometriosis report reduced pain and bleeding symptoms after surgery. Here is how it works:

  1. With laparoscopy, a tiny video camera with a light is placed into a small incision in your abdomen.
  2. During the procedure, the surgeon can remove the implants and scar tissue.
  3. Surgery of the endometriosis lesions can be done by laser (evaporation), harmonic scalpel (cutting), and electrocautery (burning).
  4. The surgeon will eliminate as much tissue as possible without harming your pelvic organs.

Removal of the tissue has been proven to be an effective endometriosis infertility treatment that helps improve pregnancy rates for some women. 

For more severe cases of endometriosis, a laparotomy is done, which requires a larger cut in the abdomen. This is usually done when the surgeon must remove greater amounts of tissue than can be done with a laparoscopy. This surgical treatment for endometriosis is more intense and requires longer recovery time than laparoscopy.

IVF for endometriosis
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an effective endometriosis infertility treatment. Fertility specialists can bypass your fallopian tubes, and fertilize the eggs outside of your body. This can help avoid potential problems caused by endometrial tissue in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other areas.

IUI for endometriosis
Sometimes controlled ovarian hyper stimulation (COH) with intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an effective endometriosis infertility treatment. This treatment includes stimulation of the ovaries, followed by insertion of the sperm into the uterus. Once pregnant, some women report symptom improvement, although endometriosis symptoms may return once the pregnancy is over.

Medications for endometriosis
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used for pain and cramping. If over-the-counter medicines aren’t helpful, some doctors will recommend prescription-strength drugs. Keep in mind, however, that NSAIDs are not a treatment method. They are used to minimize the associated discomfort.

Hormonal treatments
Hormonal treatment for endometriosis is used to relieve pain in women who do not want to get pregnant and who have small lesions and/or minimal pain. No increase in fertility is reported with hormone therapy and fertility may even be delayed after use.

Hormonal treatment options include birth control pills, progesterone, and other drugs like Gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH). These drugs cause the body to stop ovulating and menstruating, which may prevent endometriosis from worsening.

If you use birth control pills and/or progestin as a treatment for endometriosis, you may find that these treatments work only as long as the medicine is taken; endometriosis often returns when the medications are stopped.

Overall, many women find the side effects of these hormonal therapies are unpleasant. This treatment option may work best after surgical treatments for endometriosis have been done.

Go natural
Some natural therapies may help relieve symptoms of endometriosis. Lowering estrogen levels through regular exercise, staying at a healthy body weight, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine may also reduce symptoms of endometriosis. Some women with mild symptoms report that relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation are also helpful.

Talk with your doctor as there are many options available for treatment for endometriosis. And if you are trying to get pregnant, ask a fertility specialist about the latest endometriosis infertility treatments.

Ask a doctor in your area about endometriosis

Sources
  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Pregnancy Association
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Womenshealth.gov: Endometriosis
  • Medline Plus: Endometriosis
  • NIH: Endometriosis