problems can cause painful or heavy periods. To find out if you have
endometriosis, your doctor will:
- Ask questions about your symptoms, your
periods, your past health, and your family history. Endometriosis sometimes
runs in families.
- Do a
pelvic exam. This may include checking both your
If it seems like you have endometriosis, your doctor may
suggest that you try medicine for a few months. If you get better using
medicine, you probably have endometriosis.
To find out if you
have a cyst on an ovary, you might have an imaging test like an
MRI, or a
CT scan. These tests show pictures of what is inside
The only way to be sure you have endometriosis is to
have a type of surgery called
laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee"). During this
surgery, the doctor puts a thin, lighted tube through a small cut in your
belly. This lets the doctor see what is inside your belly. If the doctor finds
implants, scar tissue, or cysts, he or she can remove them during the same
There is no cure for
endometriosis, but there are good treatments. You may need to try several
treatments to find what works best for you. With any treatment, there is a
chance that your symptoms could come back.
depend on whether you want to control pain or you want to get pregnant. For
pain and bleeding, you can try medicines or surgery. If you want to get
pregnant, you may need surgery to remove the implants.
for endometriosis include:
pain medicines like ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (such as
Aleve). These medicines are called
anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. They can reduce
bleeding and pain.
- Birth control pills. They are the best treatment
to control pain and shrink implants. Most women can use them safely for years.
But you cannot use them if you want to get pregnant.
therapy. This stops your periods and shrinks implants. But it can cause side
effects, and pain may come back after treatment ends. Like birth control pills,
hormone therapy will keep you from getting pregnant.
to remove implants and scar tissue. This may reduce pain, and it may also help
you get pregnant.
As a last resort for severe pain, some women have their
uterus and ovaries removed (hysterectomy and oophorectomy). If you
have your ovaries taken out, your estrogen level will drop and your symptoms
will probably go away. But you may have symptoms of menopause, and you will not
be able to get pregnant.
If you are getting close to
menopause, you may want to try to manage your symptoms
with medicines rather than surgery. Endometriosis usually stops causing
problems when you stop having periods.