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.
There is no way to prevent endometriosis. But there are several things that raise your risk of developing it:
Having a close relative with endometriosis, especially a mother or a sister
Having a short menstrual cycle -- less than 25 days
Having menstrual flow lasting more than a week
Having heavy flow
Having medical condition that blocks or constricts your cervix or vagina
Having a birth defect of the uterus, such as a double uterus or a double cervix
have pain or bleeding but aren't planning to get pregnant soon,
birth control hormones (patch, pills, or ring) or
anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may be all that you need
to control pain. Birth control hormones are likely to keep endometriosis from
getting worse.4 If you have severe symptoms or
if birth control hormones and NSAIDs don't work, you might try a stronger
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.