What type of treatment you have depends on:
- Your age
- Severity of your symptoms
- Severity of the disease
- Whether you want children in the future
Different treatment options are explained below.
If you have mild symptoms, you may be able to manage cramping and pain with:
- Exercise and relaxation techniques
Over-the-counter pain relievers. Prescription painkillers, if needed, for more severe pain
- Regular exams every 6 to 12 months so your provider can make sure the disease is not getting worse.
Hormone suppression is the most effective and most common treatment for endometriosis. Hormone medicines can stop endometriosis from getting worse. They may be given as pills, nasal spray, or shots. Only women who are not trying get pregnant should have this therapy. Hormone therapy will prevent you from getting pregnant. Once you stop therapy, you can get pregnant.
Birth control pills. With this type of hormone therapy, you take pills for 6 to 9 months without stopping. Taking these pills relieves most symptoms and typically stops the formation of new endometriosis tissue. However, it does not prevent scarring or treat any damage that has already occurred.
Progesterone pills or injections. This treatment helps shrink growths. However, side effects can include weight gain and depression.
Gonadotropin-agonist medications. These medicines stop your ovaries from producing the hormone estrogen. This causes a menopause-like state. Side effects include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes. Treatment is usually limited to 6 months because it can weaken your bones.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if you have severe pain that does not get better with other treatments.
Laparoscopy helps diagnose the disease and can also remove growths and scar tissue. Because only a small cut is made in your belly, healing is faster compared to other types of surgery.
Laparotomy involves making a large incision (cut) in your belly to remove growths and scar tissue. This is major surgery, so healing takes longer.
- Laparoscopy or laparotomy may be a good option if you want to become pregnant, because they treat the disease and leave your reproductive organs in place.
Hysterectomy is surgery to remove your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. If your ovaries are not removed, symptoms may return. You would only have this surgery if you have severe symptoms and do not want to have children in the future.