Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Endometriosis Health Center

Font Size

Endometriosis - Medications

Medicines can be used to reduce pain and bleeding and, in some cases, to shrink endometriosis growths. For women who are not trying to get pregnant, birth control hormones and anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are usually recommended first. They are least likely to cause serious side effects and can be a long-term treatment option.1 But if infertility from endometriosis is your main problem, medicines are generally not used.

Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)

  • Anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) reduce pain, inflammation, and bleeding from endometrial tissue. Check with your doctor before you use a nonprescription medicine for more than a few days. (If there is a chance that you are or could soon become pregnant, don't use an NSAID. They have been linked to increased miscarriage risk, especially when used at the time of conception and when used for longer than a week.6)
    • Start taking the recommended dose as soon as your discomfort begins or the day before your menstrual period is scheduled to start.
    • Take the medicine in regularly scheduled doses. Taking the medicine only when your pain is severe is not as effective.
    • If one type of NSAID doesn't relieve your pain, try another type. Or try acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.

Hormone therapy

All hormone therapies for endometriosis can cause side effects and pose certain health risks. Some cause especially unpleasant side effects. Before starting a medicine or hormone therapy, review its possible side effects. If they sound less difficult than your endometriosis symptoms, discuss the therapy with your doctor.

Endometriosis: Should I Use Hormone Therapy?

What to think about

Ovarian cancer risk is higher in women who have endometriosis. Using birth control hormones for 5 or more years lowers this risk.8

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Endometriosis Overview
pelivic pain slideshow
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Birth control pills
Low Tech Fertility Treatment
Comparing Birth Control Pill
Woman Covering Face
Period Questions
Infertility Slideshow
Menstrual Problems Whats Normal
Screening Tests for Women
UTI Overview Slideshow

WebMD Special Sections