There is no cure for endometriosis, but treatment can help with pain and infertility. Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are and whether you want to get pregnant. If you have pain only, hormone therapy to lower your body's estrogen levels will shrink the implants and may reduce pain. If you want to become pregnant, having surgery, infertility treatment, or both may help.
Not all women with endometriosis have pain. And endometriosis doesn't always get worse over time. During pregnancy, it usually improves, as it does after menopause. If you have mild pain, have no plans for a future pregnancy, or are near menopause (around age 50), you may not feel a need for treatment. The decision is up to you.
Visit WebMD's Women's Health Health Center
• Newly Diagnosed? Find help here.
• Healthwise from WebMD: Endometriosis Overview
• Your Guide to Endometriosis: Get Information from the Cleveland Clinic
• WebMD Member Story: Searching for a Solution
• Reach Out: Endometriosis Support Group Message Board
• Reach Out: OB-Gyn Issues Message Board with Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, RNP
Besides medicine, you can try other things at home to help with the pain. For example, you can apply heat to your belly, or you can exercise regularly.
If hormone therapy doesn't work or if growths are affecting other organs, surgery is the next step. It removes endometrial growths and scar tissue. This can usually be done through one or more small incisions, using laparoscopy.
Laparoscopy can improve pain and your chance for pregnancy.
In severe cases, removing the uterus and ovaries (hysterectomy and oophorectomy) is an option. This surgery causes early menopause. It is only used when you have no pregnancy plans and have had little relief from other treatments.