When you talk to your gynecologist about finding a treatment that works for you, be specific about your symptoms. This can lead to a better understanding of your unique situation, which is helpful in creating a treatment plan.
Both prescription and over-the-counter painkillers can decrease inflammation and may help with endometriosis-associated pain.
Hormonal birth control:
Hormonal birth control can prevent estrogen fluctuation, which may reduce endometriosis-associated pain during the period. Hormonal birth control can be used in several ways. Some include:
- Birth control pills (includes estrogen/progestin pills and progestin-only pills)
- Hormonal IUDs (intrauterine devices)
- Progestin injection
A laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that can be used to diagnose endometriosis and remove lesions, which can relieve endometriosis pain. If you are considering a laparoscopy, ask your doctor about the different methods, including:
- Ablation – a procedure that destroys (ablates) the surface of endometriosis lesions
- Excision – a procedure that cuts out (excises) endometriosis lesions
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist medications:
Usually taken as an injection or nasal spray, GnRH agonist medications reduce estrogen production. Low estrogen levels can help reduce lesion growth and relieve endometriosis pain.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus (and sometimes one or both ovaries), which can reduce endometriosis lesions and relieve pain. A hysterectomy is generally viewed as a last-resort treatment because of its complexity and irreversibility.
When considering your treatment options, talk to your gynecologist about what’s best. And don’t be afraid to get a second opinion!
In addition to prescribed endometriosis treatment, many women use heating pads, and even certain foods and exercises, to help ease symptoms.