Living life with less pain: Treatment options for endometriosis

Living life with less pain: Treatment options for endometriosis

Many women experience some degree of pain during their monthly cycle. However, for the 6-10% of women with endometriosis, a benign condition affecting women of childbearing age, that pain can be severe and increase with time. The good news is treatment is available.

With endometriosis, the cells of the lining of the womb grow in a different location such as the ovaries and the pelvis for unknown reasons. This tissue breaks down, bleeds and causes pain in the lower part of the belly and pelvic area; this pain is usually associated with monthly periods and sexual intercourse. In some women, this condition may cause difficulty in getting pregnant. Some women with endometriosis may not have any symptoms at all.

No specific test is used to diagnose endometriosis. Your health care provider may suspect this condition based on symptoms and a clinical examination. The only way to be sure of the diagnosis is to have a laparoscopy, a minimally-invasive procedure, to look inside the pelvis, but this procedure is not essential to commence treatment.

Treatment varies and depends on the symptoms; several medications and treatment options can be used including:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medicine such as Ibuprofen
  • Hormonal treatment such as birth control pills or hormonal injections
  • Laparoscopy to remove the endometriosis
  • Hysterectomy, if appropriate, for women who do not desire having children

For women who are having trouble getting pregnant, different medicine and treatment options are available in order to achieve pregnancy.

If you are exhibiting symptoms of endometriosis or are having trouble getting pregnant, be sure to talk to your primary care provider or your OB/GYN.

For questions or appointments at Marshall Obstetrics & Gynecology, please call 304-691-1400.

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Hisham A. Keblawi, MD, FACOG

Dr. Keblawi is a board-certified general obstetrician and gynecologist at Marshall Health and a professor at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.