How do you treat endometriosis?
What causes endometriosis?
Unfortunately, the cause of endometriosis is still unknown. There are many different possible symptoms of endometriosis, and the condition is likely caused by a combination of factors. Because endometriosis manifests itself in a variety of ways and shares symptoms with other conditions, diagnosis can be difficult.
What treatments are available?
There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. Currently, there are 3 common treatment options to help manage endometriosis:
1. Pain Relief
Pain relief is often the first port of call. Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen) may be tried initially. Tranexamic acid and mefenamic acid may also be prescribed to help control bleeding and alleviate pain. A combination of pain medication may suggested by your doctor for more severe pain. If these are unsuccessful, stronger pain relief may be recommended. If the pain persists after a few months with treatment, tell your doctor so you can explore other options.
Pain relief and using the Béa Treatment
Medication for pain relief is the most common treatment for Endometriosis and should not negatively impact an ICI Treatment or your chance of conceiving.
2. Hormonal Treatments
The aim of hormone treatment is to limit the production of oestrogen in your body as this encourages the growth of endometriosis tissue. The combined oral contraceptive pill, progestogen or an intrauterine coil (like the Mirena coil) may be recommended by your doctor. These treatment types can reduce endometriosis growth and improve pain and other symptoms, but they do not have an impact of the sticky adhesions so they may not improve your fertility.
Hormone treatment and using the Béa Treatment
These types of hormone treatments cannot be used if you are trying to conceive, as they are types of contraception. You would need to speak to your doctor about coming off treatment before starting ICI.
Surgery is often used to investigate and ultimately diagnose that you have endometriosis. It can also be used to remove endometriosis in more severe cases. A surgical procedure called a laparoscopy is often performed, under general anaesthetic. This is where small incisions are made in your tummy to assess the endometriosis with a small camera and remove it with fine instruments. This is the gold standard for diagnosis of endometriosis in the UK.
Surgery and using the Béa Treatment
The key is to make sure that you have healed fully from your surgery before considering getting pregnant and trying ICI. Talk to you doctor about your plans to conceive and get the green light to go ahead after your surgery.
How do you decide what treatment is right for you?
You will be able to discuss the different treatment options with your doctor who will help outline the risks and benefits of each option. There are several things they may take into consideration when determining the best treatment type, most importantly the reason for seeking treatment:
- pain management
- heavy periods
- trying to conceive
- wanting to conceive in the future
Some types of treatment can have an impact on your fertility or reduce your chances of getting pregnant so it's important to be open with your doctor about any plans to conceive now or in the future, so the best treatment type can be prescribed for you.