Endometriosis: Frequently Asked Questions

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Why do I need to have surgery and medicine for my endo?

Endometriosis can only be diagnosed by laparoscopy. At the time of a laparoscopy, great care is taken to destroy any visible endo lesions (also called implants) and any adhesions. Some endometriosis isn’t visible, yet it responds well to medication. That’s why we combine medical and surgical therapy to treat this unpredictable disease. A study done at Boston Children’s Hospital strongly suggests that combined surgical and medical management stops endometriosis from getting worse. This helps to preserve your fertility.

Will I ever need another laparoscopy?

Most girls will not require any more laparoscopic procedures in the future, but some may. This depends on many factors, such as when your last procedure was, if you are having a problem with pain control while taking medication, and if your gynecologist feels it is necessary to check to see if your endometriosis has grown. If your endometriosis has grown, the lesions will be removed and/or destroyed. The goal is to lower your pain and preserve your fertility.

In a recent study at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Laufer and his colleagues were interested to find out if they would see more endometriosis at the time of a second laparoscopy (in young women with diagnosed endometriosis). They found that endometriosis did not get worse (didn’t grow) in patients who were treated with both surgery and medication.

Will I need to have my uterus removed?

You will NOT need to have your uterus removed (hysterectomy). All treatment will be aimed at relieving your pain and preserving your ability to have children some day.

Will I be able to get pregnant?

Not being able to get pregnant (infertility) can result if endometriosis causes changes in your pelvic organs, including your fallopian tubes and ovaries. With early treatment, endometriosis should not interfere with your ability to become pregnant (when you are ready). Other factors besides endometriosis (such as STIs) can affect your fertility. It’s important to take good care of your reproductive health by always practicing safe sex.

Should I get pregnant soon to cure my endo?

You may have heard that “pregnancy cures endometriosis”. This is a myth. There is no cure for endometriosis. Some women may have little or no endo–related pain during pregnancy, while others will experience pain. Becoming a parent is a big decision and should never be used as a treatment for endo.

How long do I need to be followed for my endo?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that requires long–term medical treatment and follow–up, especially during your childbearing years. Many factors affect how often you will need to be seen by your medical team, such as whether or not you are responding to the treatment. Since there is no cure for endometriosis, you will need to be on medication. Therefore, you will need to be checked and have your prescriptions refilled. For example: if your gynecologist gives you a prescription for medication to stop your period, you will need to schedule a follow–up appointment in approximately 3 months. During this visit, he/she will meet with you and ask you if the medication is working to stop your periods and pain. If you are feeling well and your blood pressure is normal, you will be given a prescription for more refills. If you are on Leuprolide acetate (Lupron Depot®) you will need to return for your shot every 3 months while you are on this treatment. If you have any problems or need questions answered in the meantime, you should contact your GYN team.

Should my sisters and other family members get checked?

Women are more likely to develop endometriosis if a close female relative from their mom or dad’s side has it. Likewise, if you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, and someone in your family (such as your sister, or cousin) has painful periods and pelvic pain at other times during her menstrual cycle that interfere with school and social activities, it is a good idea to suggest that they get evaluated. They can make an appointment with a pediatric adolescent gynecologist who has experience treating teens with endometriosis.