What are the treatments for the condition?
Endometriosis may never be cured or eliminated. Women with mild symptoms are usually treated only with pain medicines as needed. Antiprostaglandins, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are effective.
Different types of hormones can control the growth of the endometriosis and the symptoms. Oral contraceptives or high doses of progestin may slow abnormal tissue growth. Danazol, a weak male hormone, can shrink cell growth. It is only given to women who do not want to get pregnant.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists may also be used. These medicines stop the ovary from making hormones and releasing an egg. Because bone loss is possible, GnRH agonists are used for only 6 months.
Surgery is an option for women with severe endometriosis or infertility. Laser surgery, laparoscopy, or laparotomy may be done to remove endometrial tissue and adhesions. For women with severe pelvic pain, cutting certain nerves in the pelvis may help. Hysterectomy and the removal of ovaries may be done if an older woman does not want children.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Hormones may cause depression and irregular menstrual bleeding. They may also cause weight gain, headaches, and mood swings. Surgery may cause bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
Endometriosis recurs in 10% to 30% of cases. Despite treatment, pelvic pain may return. Fertility may be impaired. After previously infertile women have had surgery, pregnancy occurs in about:
75% of those who had mild disease
50% to 60% of those who had moderate disease
30% to 40% of those who had severe disease
How is the condition monitored?
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.