Is there a cure for Endometriosis?
The short answer is no, there is not a cure for endometriosis. However there are ways to improve the well-being of a woman who suffers from endometriosis. Medical researchers have been working for years to find a solution, but the main reason as to why no cure has been found is because, to date, the cause of the endometriosis still remains a mystery. Many hypotheses, ranging from immunological problems all the way to environmental causes, are being researched. Although a cure for endometriosis has not yet been discovered, there are efficient treatments to control pain and preserve fertility.
Endometriosis involves having tissue that normally lines only the uterus (called endometrium) growing outside of the uterus. The ectopic tissue forms implants, which can cause complications in the ovaries, bowel, or some location of the lining of the pelvis. Implants can even spread outside of the pelvic cavity. The displaced tissue continues acting as if it is still in the uterus and thickens like the endometrium, breaking down and bleeding with each menstrual cycle. The tissue around the implants scars and sticks to the implants and this can cause pain (especially during the days the woman menstruates) and discomfort during sex. The extent and number of implants does not always correspond to the degree of pain the patient experiences.
Endometriosis can cause infertility depending on the degree of affectation. For some women who consult for infertility, the fact that they have endometriosis comes as a surprise.
Fertility treatment is the same for women with or without endometriosis, as is the evolution of pregnancy. What is sometimes observed with patients with ovarian endometriomas (tumors made up of endometrial tissue), or implants in the pelvic cavity, is that embryo implantation is more difficult than in the general population. When a woman is not actively seeking pregnancy, birth control pills can be used. There are also a series of other medications that can be used if the symptoms do not cease with birth control pills. This medication can either causes the endometrial tissue to shrink, or relieve symptoms by stopping menstruation entirely.
Surgery is sometimes an option. There is an open debate about the pros and cons of surgery. Many factors come into play such as location of the lesion, age of the patient, symptoms, and if the patient wants children or not.
Endometriosis is a benign disease that affects women during their reproductive years. At present, although there is no cure, most women can keep the symptoms under control and live close to a normal life with the medication that is available.