Endometriosis is the presence of tissue that normally grows inside the uterus in an abnormal anatomical location. The condition is very common, and is the most common cause of unexplained female infertility. Patients with endometriosis can have a variety of symptoms, including, painful periods, painful intercourse, and painful bowel movements, especially around the time of the menstrual cycle. Some women with endometriosis do not have any symptoms and may not know they have the condition until a pelvic mass is detected on a pelvic examination or a problem with infertility is discovered.

Medical Treatment Options

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, may be used to relieve pain from inflammation caused by endometriosis. Hormone-based treatment also may be used to suppress pain and discomfort. By limiting or stopping the production of estrogen, hormones also may help slow the growth of the endometrial tissue and prevent the growth of new scar tissue (adhesions), but will not eliminate them. Hormonal treatment has side effects, and only helps with pain resulting from mild to moderate endometriosis. It does not treat infertility or adhesions resulting from the condition.

Surgical Treatment Options

The primary minimally invasive surgical treatment for endometriosis includes laparoscopic excision of endometriosis which – depending on the patient’s desire for future childbearing, may also include hysterectomy – either total laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH), laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH) or total vaginal hysterectomy (TVH). Which treatment option is best for the patient depends on several considerations, and the expert surgeons at the Georgia Advanced Surgery Center can counsel you on which option(s) may be ideal for your individual situation.