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Endometriosis

How Is Endometriosis Treated?

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 12:02

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

In some women, endometriosis causes no symptoms or mild symptoms and does not need to be treated at all. However, untreated endometriosis can continue to worsen, so these women should continue to have regular examinations to monitor the condition.

If endometriosis is causing symptoms or is interfering with a woman's ability to become pregnant, several treatment options are available:

  • Medication
  • Conservative surgery
  • Hysterectomy

Need To Know:

Medication usually is recommended for women with mild to moderate symptoms. Surgery for endometriosis is usually necessary for women with:

  • Patches of endometrial tissue larger than 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter
  • Significant adhesions in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • Endometrial tissue that obstructs one or more fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis that is causing severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain that can't be relieved with medication

Which Treatment Is Best for You?

Treatment of endometriosis varies depending on the extent of the condition and a woman's plans for childbearing.

  • In women with mild to moderate endometriosis, medication can significantly or even completely relieve their symptoms. However, medication cannot cure endometriosis. In some cases, the pain will return about six months after the medication has stopped.
  • In women with moderate to severe endometriosis who wish to preserve their ability to become pregnant in the future, conservative surgery such as laparoscopy would usually be required as well.
  • In women with severe endometriosis who do not wish to have any or additional children, a hysterectomy will offer permanent relief. Hysterectomy also is an option for women with moderate endometriosis who have completed childbearing and women whose symptoms keep coming back after other treatments have been tried.

Need To Know:

Women with endometriosis who want to get pregnant are advised not to delay childbearing for too long, because the repeated scarring and adhesions caused by endometriosis may cause infertility (an inability to conceive). The chances for conceiving are highest in the first two years following treatment for endometriosis.

 

Endometriosis