Women's Health

Treatments for Endometriosis

Treatments for Endometriosis

Key Takeaways

Endometriosis is a serious condition that, unfortunately, has no known cure. This condition is difficult to treat and the treatments usually aim to ease the symptoms. Usually, the treatments are given for the following reasons:

  • Pain relief, most often your doctor would prescribe a series of pain killers to offset the severe pains and cramps associated with endometriosis. It is important that you see a specialist immediately on encountering symptoms of endometriosis for immediate treatment and relief.
  • Slowing the growth of the endometriosis tissue, the other objective would be to limit the growth and spread of endometriosis. Your physician would prescribe medication for this very purpose.
  • Improving fertility, one of the side effects of endometriosis is infertility especially when left untreated until the later stages of this condition. However, with the right therapy, you should be able to improve your fertility.
  • Preventing the disease’s return, more often than not, endometriosis can reoccur and to prevent any reoccurrence, your doctor may prescribe some medication along with hormonal treatments.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the signs the specialists choose the approach and the treatment of the condition. The approach also depends on the will of the patient to become pregnant. The treatment varies between medications or surgery and medications are recommended and the surgery is left as a last resort.

This is why you need to consult a specialist as soon as possible for an early diagnosis and get the condition treated right away rather than go in for surgery. However surgery may be unavoidable if your condition has taken a turn for the worse and as a result of endometriosis spreading to other parts of your body, have developed serious health complications.

There are different types of medications and treatments, and they include but are not limited to:

  • Pain medications, make sure that you get the medications prescribed rather than opt for over the counter pain killers. The OTC pain killers are often addictive; come with their own associated side effects which can range from developing body aches, experiencing nausea to developing severe allergic reactions due to your heightened sensitivity to some drugs. So make it a point to consult your specialist and get the right medications prescribed, including pain killers to help offset some of the more painful symptoms of endometriosis.
  • Hormone therapy - Your doctor could also prescribe hormone therapy to help prevent the growth of endometriosis cells in your body. Since this particular condition is connected in some way to hormones and the menstrual cycle, the same hormones are used to limit the growth and spread of endometriosis.
  • Conservative surgery – Your doctor may prescribe surgery to help treat your condition but often he would recommend surgery only if your condition is serious enough to warrant it. However, a few women, may opt for surgery in order to increase their chances of becoming fertile again as infertility is often caused by endometriosis.
  • Assisted reproductive technologies – If you are looking for ways to become pregnant but are not able to on account of endometriosis, which is why you need to consult a specialist. Apart from getting your current condition treated, there are various assisted reproductive technologies that you can look into, and if required, utilize the same.
  • Hysterectomy - If you have endometriosis and suffer from severe to excruciating pain, your doctor may recommend that you undergo a hysterectomy. This is done to both treat the current condition and to prevent it from spreading any further, from the pelvic area. Endometriosis is known for its proclivity to spread to other parts of your body and can even cause ovarian cancer to develop.

Pain medications are given mostly to ease painful menstrual cramps. They usually include anti-inflammatory drugs, but in cases where the maximum dose does not provide full relief, it is recommended to try different approaches and to try different types of therapies.

You need to visit your doctor regularly and keep them informed regarding your current condition and if the medications, especially the pain killers are working or not. A person can develop a certain tolerance to pain killers after prolonged usage, so your doctor may check to see if that’s the case here. In which case, he would prescribe other pain killers. Alternatively, you can try out other therapies to help combat the crippling pain associated with endometriosis.

Hormone therapy is not a permanent fix for this condition, it can reoccur when the treatment stops, but this type of therapy is effective when it comes to eliminating or at least reducing the pain that endometriosis causes. These types of medications may, in some cases, slow the growth of the endometrial tissue and even prevent new implants of the tissue.

The hormone treatments usually include:

  • Birth control pills: Hormonal contraceptives, because when they are used for a longer period of time they reduce and even eliminate the pain of endometriosis. So your doctor may ask you to ingest birth control pills regularly to help you combat endometriosis effectively.
  • Drugs like Gn-RH agonists and antagonists that block the production of the hormones that are produced in the ovaries and with that, they prevent the menstruation. They lower the estrogen levels and they basically create an artificial menopause. The positive side of these drugs is the fact that the periods and the ability to get pregnant will return when you stop taking the drugs. So consult your doctor and see if he can prescribe some to you to help you with your current health issue. But make it a point to ask your specialist regarding any side effects associated with this process, including whether you will experience any apparent mood swings as a result of ingesting Gn – Rh agonists and antagonists.
  • Depo-Provera: An injectable drug will slow the growth of the endometrial tissue and will relieve the pain, signs, and symptoms, but there are a lot of side effects like mood swings, depression, weight gain and many others. Check with your doctor regarding hormonal therapy since most of them come with one side effect or the other. This particular hormonal injection may cause you to experience wild mood swings, experience bouts of depression along with weight gain. So do talk to your doctor regarding these side effects so that you have a better understanding of all the risks and side effects involved with this particular therapy.
  • Danazol is a type of drug that will prevent menstruation and with that the symptoms and the pain that endometriosis causes, but there are a lot of side effects. If you get pregnant while you are on this drug, it can be harmful to the baby. It is vital that you talk to your specialist regarding the therapy and the associated side effects. And remember to avoid getting pregnant when you are on this particular drug.

Conservative surgery is the type of surgery where the doctor removes as much endometriosis as they possibly can while they preserve the ovaries and the uterus. This type of surgery is recommended if you are diagnosed with endometriosis and you are trying to get pregnant. The surgery can help in relieving the pain, but it is not guaranteed that the pain and the endometriosis will not return.

This is why you need to go in for regular checkups so that your doctor can monitor your condition carefully and take effective measures to prevent a recurrence of the current condition.

There are different types of assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization that may help you get pregnant in cases when the medications and/or conservative surgery is not effective. So if you are feeling depressed that you are not able to get pregnant on account of being infertile due to endometriosis, don’t – for with the various reproductive technologies available, including in-vitro fertilization, you should be able to have your own family soon.

Hysterectomy is usually the last resort and it is recommended in the severe cases of endometriosis. This means that the ovaries, uterus, and cervix need to be removed and after a hysterectomy, a woman cannot become pregnant. This is why your doctor would not recommend this surgery until and unless it was absolutely necessary.

If your current health condition is worsening and your endometriosis is spreading to other parts of your body, you would need to go in for a hysterectomy to prevent endometriosis from spreading any further. This is why it is vital that you go In for regular checkups, so that you can get your condition diagnosed early on and with effective treatment, avoid surgeries like hysterectomy altogether.

Even though there are a lot of different treatments, the best thing is to rely on your family for support and always to look for a second opinion. Your doctors will help you get the best treatment for your condition. 

Make sure that you consult a specialist at the earliest regarding your current condition and get the same treated with the right medication. And always make a point to understand about all the risks involved with the various treatments including the side effects associated with each treatment.

It is important that you get your condition diagnosed on time, so that you can get the same treated right away before endometriosis spreads to other parts of your body and starts to impact your health. And as always, make sure you keep your loved ones regarding your condition.