Endometriosis Treatment (cont.)
There have been no comparative studies of medical and surgical therapies to see which approach is better. There are advantages and disadvantages for both. Often, the individual plan of care for a woman will be a combination of treatment options.
Alternative Treatments: Some women may also consider alternative treatments for relieving the painful symptoms of endometriosis, including traditional Chinese medicine, nutritional approaches, homeopathy, allergy management, and immune therapy. Ask your health care professional about these options, keeping in mind that they won't also cure endometriosis. While some health care professionals may tell you these alternative paths to seeking pain relief from endometriosis are a waste of time, others may encourage you to try alternative methods of pain relief as long as they are not harmful to your condition. Either way, you should be careful not to take any products without first consulting your health care professional.
Pregnancy: Some women experience pain relief during pregnancy, although pregnancy is not a cure for endometriosis. Still, while endometriosis is a chronic condition and may not go away with pregnancy, many women find that their pain does not come back or is substantially improved after they have a baby.
That's because ovulation stops during pregnancy and endometriosis implants typically become less active and may not be as painful or as large as they were. Health care professionals attribute this pregnancy-related relief of endometriosis to hormonal changes during pregnancy.
In addition, during pregnancy, menstruation stops. Menstruation triggers the pain that many women with endometriosis feel. Sometimes, once pregnancy and nursing are over, and menstruation begins again, the symptoms of endometriosis return.
Results of data compiled recently from the Endometriosis Association research registry, comprising 4,000 women with endometriosis, suggests that women with endometriosis and their families have a heightened risk of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and thyroid disorders, and cancer (breast cancer, melanoma, and ovarian cancer). There is also a greater risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in the families. These findings parallel other work, including a study of 20,686 endometriosis cases in the Swedish cancer registry, which also found an increased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in women with endometriosis. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found an association between melanoma and endometriosis. Readers can learn more about the Endometriosis Association's findings at their Web site located at http://www.endometriosis.org.