How is endometriosis treated?

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For those suffering from Endometriosis, treatment is a welcome relief from this life-altering condition. There is no cure, but effective treatment can help sufferers live a relatively normal life.

Endometriosis causes cells that normally line the inside of the womb to populate in other areas, normally around the pelvic region which can cause inflammation, cysts and scarring. This abnormal growth of tissue can cause high levels of discomfort and pain as well as other symptoms such as problems conceiving. It can be tricky to get a diagnosis due to the diverse set of symptoms people endure but it’s estimated that it affects up to 1 in 10 women [link: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/blog/10-things-you-should-know-about-endometriosis/].

Although there is no cure for Endometriosis, the effects and symptoms can be managed to make life more comfortable and to alleviate some of the effects. There is a range of treatments [link: https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-treatment] from fairly standard remedies to invasive therapies available. When you consult your gynaecologist they will be able to advise on the best way forward for your case. London is where many gynaecology experts are based.

Pain Killers

Simple treatments [link: https://www.endofound.org/endometriosis-treatment-support]can involve using over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol. Using NSAID painkillers such as ibuprofen has been shown to be especially effective for pain and discomfort, especially during menstruation.

Hormone therapy

Sometimes treatment using additional hormones can help by breaking down some of the endometrial tissue and has been reported to slow down the production of new damaging tissue. Unfortunately, this is not a permanent fix and this comes with its own set of side effects. It’s also not advised if you are trying to get pregnant and once you finish the course, your symptoms are likely to return.

Hormonal contraception is also used in various forms including the pill and the coil. As this can reduce the flow or stop it altogether, it can help alleviate the problems exacerbated by the monthly cycle.

Surgery

More aggressive treatment is surgery [link:https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/endometri/conditioninfo/treatment#surgical ]. During this, the endometrial tissue, cysts and scar tissue are removed from the uterus. This is the most effective way to reduce pain and inflammation and can help with fertility issues. It’s likely that tissue will return so you may need further surgeries in the future. This is normally done through a laparoscopy but can involve abdominal surgery in extreme cases.

A more extreme option is a hysterectomy and this decision should not be made lightly as this will bring on early menopause. Removing the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries is an extreme solution and still doesn’t guarantee a pain-free life if tissue still remains. Early menopause also carries cardiovascular risks.