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
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.
Your doctor will ask you questions and do a pelvic exam. But your doctor won't know for sure that it's endometriosis until a surgeon can examine your body internally.
The most common procedure to diagnose endometriosis is called laparoscopy. During this surgery a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision.
Women are usually unconscious when it's done. Many doctors remove a small piece of tissue and test it to confirm the diagnosis of endometriosis.
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,
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.