Endometriosis and treatment: what are the therapeutic means?

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

Is it possible to cure endometriosis?

Endometriosis is often invisible to most people who have it. It becomes a disease when the symptoms impact the fertility and quality of life of the patients. There are as many types of endometriosis as there are patients, but there is no treatment to cure the cause of the disease. Several medications and solutions are available that are effective in reducing the pain and spread of this gynecological disease.

The case of superficial endometriosis

Superficial endometriosis is calledperitoneal endometriosis. It is the implantation of endometrial cells on organs outside the uterus (which is similar to adenomyosis) and without any deep involvement. To the naked eye, it may look like small spots on the peritoneum and in the abdominopelvic space. In most cases, there is no severe evolution of this type of superficial affection: it disappears on its own or with a light treatment in half of the cases. 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 at the time of the 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. In order to treat deep endometriosis, it is necessary to know its main symptoms:

  • Dysmenorrhea or uterine pain during menstruation
  • Chronic abdomino-pelvic pain due to adhesions in the digestive tract.
  • Infertility
  • Pain during sexual intercourse such as dyspareunia
  • Urinary disorders such as impériosities, clear urine cystitis (negative ECBU) or dysuria
  • Digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation
  • Meno and metrorrhagia, which are very heavy periods
  • Sciatica, which is caused 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 care.

What treatments are available to limit the effects of endometriosis?

As we have seen above, there is no cure for this disease. However, solutions, both specific and basic, are possible and reduce the pain and undesirable effects.

Anti-pain medication

The first treatment for endometriosis proposed by the doctor or health professional after a medical diagnosis is painkillers. These medications will mainly relieve the attacks and pelvic pain but will not have a lasting impact on the presence of lesions. Among these medications, we will find :

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory solutions such as Naprosyn®, Antadys.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®),
  • Basic treatments that reduceestrogen levels, which reduce bleeding and regress lesions and adhesions and therefore pain

Hormonal treatment to suppress menstruation

There are several hormonal treatments available to try to control the disease or reduce the pain of endometriosis. They act as hormone blockers which reduce 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 an appropriate hormonal treatment:

  • The continuous contraceptive pill. The objective is to block ovulation and therefore the stimulation of the ovaries.
  • The intrauterine coil covered with progestin that will significantly reduce menstruation and treat pain
  • Danazol, a hormone similar to testosterone, blocks the activity of estrogen and progesterone
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate which is injected every 3 months into the buttock muscle. It inhibits ovulation and suppresses menstruation and pelvic and tubal discomfort

Artificial menopause to treat endometriosis

It is known that stopping menstrual flow and pregnancy have curative effects on endometriosis. Not having a period for several weeks dries up the adhesions and reduces the discomfort by blocking the secretion of estrogen. Artificial menopause does, however, cause side effects that must be taken into account before starting the treatment, such as hot flashes, weight gain or vaginal dryness.

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 the endometrial tissue without taking into account the consequences on fertility or quality of life.
The different types of surgery are as follows

  • Theremoval or vaporization of the endometrial tissue layer through the use of a laser or plasma
  • Cystectomy is the removal of the cyst attached to the ovary. This technique will result in the reduction of the follicle reserve of the ovary.
  • Puncture or drainage of endometriomas for all women who have an already altered ovarian reserve and who wish to preserve their fertility.
  • Sclerotherapy is a technique of instilling 95° alcohol inside a cyst to destroy the internal endometrial layer without impacting the ovarian tissue.
  • Hysterectomy consists of removing the uterus

How can endometriosis be treated naturally?

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

Sport to better manage the pain

The pain caused by endometriosis will in most cases over-stimulate certain muscles and contract them violently. The consequence is that certain muscles lose flexibility and become less mobile, thus amplifying the pain.
It is therefore highly recommended to practice a sporting activity that will release endorphins and stretch the muscles and the pelvic area.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables

In order to limit the pain or to prevent it from getting worse, it is recommended to follow a diet with anti-inflammatory properties rich in fruits 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 both acupuncture methods and the use of herbs such as Chinese angelica, Chinese buckthorn or corydalis.

FAQ on endometriosis treatments

Is it possible to cure endometriosis?

No cure for endometriosis exists to date, despite research. There are as many women as there are variations of the disease. Some treatments will help to stop the pain, others will allow a pregnancy. Only the cessation of menstruation will stop the development of this gynecological condition.

What are the chances of being cured of endometriosis?

When you have endometriosis, it is for life. However, many women do not realize that they have it. The symptoms are invisible. Some treatments can suppress the symptoms for several years.

What medication can be used to relieve endometriosis?

There are several medications to relieve the disease. The first-line medications are ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory drugs, the contraceptive pill taken continuously, which will block the action of the hormones responsible for the development of endometriosis, and artificial menopause, which will dry up the adhesions and reduce pain during and outside of the period.

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