Treatments for endometriosis
The following are taken into consideration when a physician determines a course of treatment for endometriosis:
- Overall health and medical history
- Current symptoms
- Extent of the disease
- Tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Opinion or preference
- Desire for pregnancy
If symptoms are mild, physicians generally agree that no further treatment, other than pain medication, is necessary. In general, treatment for endometriosis may include "watchful waiting" - to observe the course of the disease; pain medication - such as ibuprofen or other over-the-counter analgesics; hormone therapy.
Easing the pain of endometriosis
- Rest, relaxation, and meditation
- Warm baths
- Eat a diet high in fiber and hydration to prevent constipation
- Regular exercise
- Use of hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen
Medical therapies to treat symptoms of endometriosis
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRH agonist), which stops ovarian hormone production, creating a sort of "medical menopause"
- Danazol, a synthetic derivative of testosterone (a male hormone)
- Oral contraceptives, with combined estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) hormones, prevent ovulation and reduce or stop menstrual flow
- Progesterone alone (orally, injection, Mirena IUD)
Surgical techniques to treat endometriosis
A minor surgical procedure in which a laparoscope, a thin tube with a lens and a light, is inserted into an incision in the abdominal wall. Using the laparoscope to see into the pelvic area, the physician can remove the endometrial growths.
Surgery to remove the uterus and possibly the ovaries. Sometimes a combination of therapies is used, such as conservative surgery (laparoscopy), along with hormone therapy.
Some women also benefit from alternative treatments used in conjunction with other medical and surgical therapies for the treatment of endometriosis. These include:
- Traditional Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture and massage
- Nutritional approaches
- Allergy management
- Immune therapy
It is important to discuss any/all of these treatments thoroughly with your physician, as some may conflict with the effectiveness of others.