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What are the treatment options for endometriosis?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can often help relieve endometriosis pain. NSAID pain relievers help to limit swelling and pain associated with endometriosis cramps during menstruation.

Different hormone medications like contraceptives, danazol and aromatase inhibitors help to deter or stop menstruation. Hormone therapy can help endometriosis by deterring or discontinuing your menstruation cycle. By stopping your menstruation cycle, hormone therapy stops the swelling and bleeding in displaced endometrial tissue. However, this therapy is not permanent and has many different side effects. Side effects include artificial menopause, hot flashes, dryness, acne, facial hair, weight gain, bone loss and depression.

Your doctor may simply take out the endometrial tissue or perform a hysterectomy, in which the uterus is removed entirely.

Depending on a woman's age and the severity of the condition, treatment options for endometriosis may include medication, surgery or both. Endometriosis cannot be cured, but it can be managed. 

Pain medications, like over-the-counter pain relievers or stronger prescription medications like opioids, are sometimes used to manage mild pain. Hormone therapy may help slow the growth of endometrial tissue and prevent new lesions from growing. Birth control, progesterone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and intrauterine devices can be used as part of a long-term care plan, but many are not specifically indicated for the treatment of endometriosis.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.