There is currently no cure for endometriosis. However, there are treatments that can help you overcome endometriosis pain and infertility.
Treatment for endometriosis depends on several factors, including age, severity of symptoms, severity of disease, and whether or not a woman wants children in the future. Endometriosis treatment may include lifestyle recommendations or counseling to help you cope with mood changes related to endometriosis.
The FDA recently approved a new treatment for endometriosis. The drug,
elagolix (marketed as Orilissa) is taken as a daily pill. It's the first new treatment for the disorder in a pill form in more than a decade. Orilissa works by altering hormone levels in women with endometriosis to reduce the pain associated with the condition.
Dr. Sanjay Agarwal, Director of Fertility Services, worked on the clinical trial.
Pain Medication for Endometriosis
If your symptoms are mild, pain medication can help manage your pain. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers for endometriosis include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve)
Hormone Therapy for Endometriosis
Hormone therapy can stop endometriosis from getting worse and can help relieve most symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best hormone therapy to treat your endometriosis. Hormone therapy may be given as pills, nasal spray or shots, including:
Your doctor may recommend surgery to treat severe pain from endometriosis. During surgery, your surgeon will locate any areas of endometriosis and may remove endometriosis lesions and scar tissue. The two forms of surgery used for treating endometriosis:
Laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery where a surgeon passes a laparoscope (a lighted tube) through a small incision in the abdomen. Using the laparoscope, the surgeon can look directly at the outside of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and nearby organs.
Laparotomy, a major abdominal surgery where one larger incision is made in your abdomen.
UC San Diego Health offers minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery for the treatment of endometriosis.
This type of surgery is especially promising for women who would like to have children in the future. Regardless of the location of the endometriosis, the surgeon is able to make small precise movements to remove the tissue, preserving the delicate structures of the pelvis and decreasing the chance of future complications.
Additional benefits include:
- Significantly less pain
- Less blood loss
- Less scarring
- Shorter recovery time
- Faster return to normal daily activities
- In many cases, better clinical outcomes