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Endometriosis occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus. The gynecologic specialists at Norton Women’s Care provide a full range of medical and surgical endometriosis treatment options.
Your doctor will recommend the best endometriosis treatment for you depending on your symptoms, age and plans for pregnancy.
For mild symptoms, over-the-counter pain relievers may be effective. These include ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), or your doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers.
Medical therapy is an option for women who do not want to become pregnant and who have small growths that do not cause severe pain.
Most birth control pills contain two hormones — estrogen and progestin — which decrease menstrual flow and prevent overgrowth of tissue that lines the uterus. Stopping these pills will cause the symptoms of endometriosis to return.
Another effective hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists/antagonists, reduce the amount of estrogen and stop the menstrual cycle. These drugs can cause side effects similar to those during menopause, such as hot flashes, bone loss and vaginal dryness, so they usually are combined with a low dose of progestin or estrogen to protect against these side effects. When this medicine is stopped, monthly periods and the ability to get pregnant return. Symptoms of endometriosis may stay away for months or years afterward.
Progestin is a hormone that can shrink areas of endometriosis by working against the effects of estrogen on the tissue. It will stop menstrual periods but can cause irregular vaginal bleeding. Depo-Provera is a common progestin taken as a shot. Side effects can include weight gain, depression and decreased bone growth.
Medical therapy should be discussed with your physician to determine the appropriate treatment plan based on your condition.
Surgery may be recommended for women with endometriosis — those with many growths, severe pain or infertility. Minimally invasive or conservative surgery may be performed to remove the areas of endometriosis. In more severe cases, a definitive surgery or hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and ovaries) may be needed. The type of surgery your physician may recommend depends on factors such as age, severity of symptoms and whether you want children in the future.
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