Medical Treatments for Endometriosis
There is currently no cure for endometriosis, however there are a wide variety of treatments which can significantly reduce the pain caused by endometriosis, and there are also treatments which can help with infertility caused by endometriosis. The treatments your doctor prescribes will depend largely on the severity of your current symptoms and whether or not you are attempting to get pregnant.
Endometriosis Treatments for Those Who are Not Attempting to Get Pregnant
If you are only concerned with the pain of endometriosis and are not trying to get pregnant, then you may be given hormone therapy which will lower the estrogen levels in your body and shrink the endometrial tissues, thereby reducing the pain. Your doctor may prescribe birth control hormones such as the pill or the patch to shrink the tissues, or anti-inflammatories for the pain itself. These two medicines can prevent your endometriosis from worsening, and can reduce heavy bleeding to some extent.
The majority of women are able to use such drugs safely with very few side effects. If you do not receive the necessary pain relief from either of these options, your doctor may prescribe stronger hormone therapy such as progestin, danazol, or aromatase inhibitors. If none of these solutions are helpful in your case, you may have to have surgery to remove the endometrial tissue. This type of surgery is done through a small incision in the abdomen and is known as a laparoscopy. Removing the uterus and ovaries through a hysterectomy is generally the last option and is used only for women who have found no relief through other treatments and have no plans for future pregnancies.
Endometriosis Treatment for Women Who are Trying to Conceive
For women who are trying to have a baby, endometriosis treatment becomes much more complicated. Your doctor will take into account your age, the severity of your endometriosis and your overall health when determining your best option. Your doctor's first suggestion may be to have sexual intercourse only on your most fertile days of each cycle. If your endometriosis is mild, this may be all the help you need in order to become pregnant. Laparoscopic surgery can both improve your pain levels as well as your chances of becoming pregnant. Drugs which promote ovulation-such as Clomid-or IUI may be your next choices when endometriosis is preventing pregnancy, and later you may even need to consider in vitro fertilization if the laparoscopy did not work.
Newest Surgeries to Help Endometriosis Sufferers
The latest laparoscopies use a laser to beam down the laparoscope and quickly remove all endometrial adhesions. The laser beam works wonders to divide the adhesions with less likelihood of more adhesions forming where they were removed. The downside is the possibility of burning another area of the body while treating the endometriosis which could mean another, more major surgery to repair the damage. The recovery time for a laparoscopy is generally an overnight stay in the hospital and 2-3 weeks of taking it easy. If a laparoscopy is unsuccessful in the treatment of endometriosis, your doctor may recommend a laparotomy. This surgery is primarily used when the endometrial tissue formations are large and severe, and have proven impossible to treat with either drug therapies or a laparoscopy. This surgery requires a much larger incision in the abdomen with a goal of removing as much endometrial tissues as possible, and dividing adhesions carefully in order to remove them all. It is expected that as medical procedures continue to improve and evolve, better treatments for endometriosis will emerge, allowing women who are suffering from the pain or infertility of endometriosis to get some relief.