Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the one which lines the woman’s uterus grows outside of it. In this article, we will know whether endometriosis is curable and how can it be treated.
Is endometriosis curable?
Currently, there is no known cure for endometriosis, and treatment is usually aimed at controlling symptoms. Endometriosis is a lifelong condition, so it is crucial to develop a plan to manage it. This plan will depend on the age of the patient, the extent of the disease, the severity of pain and potential plans for pregnancy.
If the symptoms are mild and not interfering with your daily life or causing fertility problems, or one is near menopause, the symptoms may get better in such mild cases without treatment, and treatment is not necessary.
But if it gets worse and impacts your life, treatment is necessary. Treatment is aimed at relieving pain, removing endometriosis tissue, improving fertility and reducing the probability of recurrence.
What are the treatment modalities for endometriosis?
The NHS states that until now, there’s no cure for endometriosis. This condition can be difficult to treat. The aim of treatment is to ease symptoms so that it doesn’t hamper your daily life.
Endometriosis can be treated with medications and/or surgery depending on symptoms, lesions, desired outcome, and patient choice. Pain management is a primary concern. Drugs to manage pain can be helpful, which include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
Medical treatments focus on either lowering estrogen or increasing progesterone to change the hormonal environments that promote endometriosis. The hormonal therapies include combined oral contraceptive pill, progestins, and GnRH-analogues. However, they won’t eliminate the disease and can have side effects. Endometriosis can also reappear in some rare cases after therapy discontinuation. The choice of drug will depend upon the effectiveness, adverse side effects, long-term safety, costs, and if one wants to get pregnant or not.
Other than this, surgery can remove endometriosis lesions, adhesions, and scar tissue. There are two types of endometriosis surgeries; laparoscopy and laparotomy. During a laparoscopy, a small telescope (laparoscope) is inserted into the abdomen to look directly at the internal tissue. Following this, various procedures are performed to remove the endometriosis. Contrastingly, laparotomy is a major open abdominal surgery, and it uses larger incisions than laparoscopy. If the surgery and other treatments do not work and you do not want pregnancy, your doctor may also recommend removal of the womb (a hysterectomy).
If endometriosis affects fertility, laparoscopic surgical removal of endometriosis, ovarian stimulation with intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be helpful.
Lastly, a combined approach of surgery followed by postoperative medical therapy offers the best long-term outcomes for the recurrence of disease and symptoms.
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