Endometriosis and treatment: what can be done?

One in ten or two in ten women suffer from endometriosis. A taboo and little-known chronic gynecological disease that makes life difficult for some menstruating women.

Is it possible to cure endometriosis?

Endometriosis is often invisible to most sufferers. It becomes a disease when symptoms impact on the patient's fertility and quality of life. There are as many types of endometriosis as there are patients, but there is no cure for the cause of the disease. Several drugs and solutions are available to alleviate the pain and spread of this gynecological disease.

The case of superficial endometriosis

Superficial endometriosis is known asperitoneal endometriosis. This is the implantation of endometrial cells on organs outside the uterus (similar to adenomyosis), without any deep involvement. To the naked eye, it may appear as small spots on the peritoneum and in the abdomino-pelvic space. In most cases, this type of superficial condition does not develop severely: in half of all cases, it disappears on its own or with light treatment. A healthy lifestyle and alternative medicine can help to find a balance and reduce pelvic discomfort.

Can deep endometriosis be cured?

Endometriosis, whether deep or superficial, cannot be completely cured. It can stabilize and disappear, particularly around the time of menopause. The condition is said to be deep when it results in lesions or adhesions more than 5 mm deep in the wall of the pelvic organs or in the peritoneal wall. To treat deep endometriosis, you need to be aware of its main symptoms:

  • Dysmenorrhoea or uterine pain during menstruation
  • Chronic abdomino-pelvic pain due to adhesions in the digestive tract.
  • Infertility
  • Pain during intercourse, such as dyspareunia
  • Urinary disorders such as urgency, clear urine cystitis (negative ECBU) or dysuria
  • Digestive disorders such as diarrhea or constipation
  • menorrhagia and metrorrhagia, which are very heavy periods
  • Sciatica punctuated by the onset of menstruation.

Ovarian endometriosis

Ovarian endometriosis is the presence of an ovarian cyst called an endometrioma. This condition can cause lasting damage to the patient's fertility by altering spontaneous ovulation or ovarian reserve. Ovarian endometriosis can also cause ovarian torsion, requiring urgent hospital treatment.

What treatments are available to limit the effects of endometriosis?

As we saw above, there is no cure for this disease. However, there are a number of possible solutions, both short-term and long-term, which can alleviate pain and undesirable effects.

Pain-relieving drugs

The first treatment for endometriosis proposed by a doctor or healthcare professional after a medical diagnosis is painkillers. These drugs will mainly relieve pelvic pain and attacks, but will have no lasting impact on the presence of lesions. These medications include :

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory solutions such as Naprosyn®, Antadys.
  • acetaminophen (Tylenol®) ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®),
  • Background treatments to reduceestrogen levels, which in turn reduce bleeding, lesions and adhesions, and hence pain.

Hormonal treatment to suppress menstruation

There are several hormonal treatments available to try and curb the disease or reduce the pain of endometriosis. They act as hormone blockers, reducing bleeding and the development of lesions. Depending on the patient's age, diagnosis, state of health, infertility and desire for pregnancy, the doctor will prescribe a suitable hormonal treatment:

  • The continuous contraceptive pill. The aim is to block ovulation and thus ovarian stimulation.
  • The progestin-covered intrauterine device (IUD), which significantly reduces menstrual periods and treats pain.
  • Danazol, a hormone similar to testosterone, blocks the activity of estrogen and progesterone.
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate, injected into the buttock muscle every 3 months. It inhibits ovulation and suppresses menstruation and pelvic and tubal discomfort

Artificial menopause to treat endometriosis

Stopping menstrual flow and pregnancy are known to have curative effects on endometriosis. Not menstruating for several weeks dries out adhesions and reduces discomfort by blocking estrogen secretion. Artificial menopause does, however, have some side effects, such as hot flushes, weight gain and vaginal dryness, which should be taken into account before starting treatment.

Last resort: conservative or radical surgery

When drug treatments have not worked, it is possible to resort to conservative or radical surgery, which will eliminate endometrial tissue without taking into account the consequences for fertility or quality of life.
The different types of surgery are as follows:

  • Ablation or vaporization of the endometrial tissue layer using a laser or plasma.
  • Cystectomy is the removal of the cyst attached to the ovary. This technique reduces the ovary's follicle reserve.
  • Puncture or drainage of endometriomas for all women whose ovarian reserve is already impaired, and who wish to preserve their fertility.
  • Sclerotherapy is a technique involving the instillation of 95° alcohol inside a cyst to destroy the internal endometrial layer without impacting ovarian tissue.
  • Hysterectomy consists in removing the uterus.

How can endometriosis be treated naturally?

Some menstruating women can naturally relieve the pain of endometriosis. These methods are not curative, but will help patients enjoy a more pleasant daily life.

Sport for better pain management

In most cases, the pain caused by endometriosis over-stimulates certain muscles, causing them to contract violently. As a result, certain muscles lose flexibility and become less mobile, amplifying the pain.
It is therefore highly advisable to take up a sporting activity that will release endorphins and stretch the muscles in the pelvic area.

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables

To limit pain or prevent it from getting worse, we recommend a diet with anti-inflammatory properties, rich in fruit and vegetables.

Traditional Chinese medicine

One of the most common methods used by women to treat endometriosis is traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. It helps to promote blood circulation and control blood stagnation in the abdomen by improving the circulation of blood cells. This medicine combines acupuncture methods with the use of herbs such as Chinese angelica, Chinese bupleur and corydalis.

FAQ on endometriosis treatments

Is it possible to cure endometriosis?

No curative treatment for endometriosis exists to date, despite research. There are as many different types of endometriosis as there are women. Some treatments will help eliminate pain, while others will enable pregnancy. Only the cessation of menstruation will halt the development of this gynecological disorder.

What are the chances of recovering from endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a lifelong condition. However, many women don't realize they have it. The symptoms are invisible. Certain treatments can suppress symptoms for several years.

Which medication can relieve endometriosis?

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