Who is prone to endometriosis, and can it be treated?
Any woman in the reproductive age group can get endometriosis. In fact, endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women. You may be at higher risk of getting endometriosis if you have a family history.
If you suspect that you have endometriosis, it is important to visit a gynaecologist with experience in endometriosis, as not all gynaecologists are well-versed in diagnosing and treating this condition. He/she will need to take a detailed medical history and do a pelvic examination for you. A transvaginal ultrasound scan will be performed to check for the presence of endometriotic cysts in the ovaries. In severe cases requiring surgery, an MRI scan is sometimes required to check for extent of scarring and bowel involvement.
Endometriosis is a lifelong, chronic condition and there is no single treatment that ensures long-term cure, although your symptoms will abate when you reach menopause. However, you can achieve good suppression of this condition by working closely with your gynaecologist. Treatment options vary and depend on the severity of your symptoms, stage of endometriosis, and your plans for fertility. The main aim of treatment is to achieve surgical clearance (if required) at the most appropriate time, with hormonal medicines before and after that to suppress endometriosis.
Bedsides hormonal medications and surgery, some women have found the following helpful in managing their endometriosis symptoms:
- Diet changes: avoid dairy, wheat products. Aim for a diet rich in anti-oxidants.
- Psychological counselling
- Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, reflexology