Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Endometriosis facts
- What is endometriosis?
- Who is affected by endometriosis?
- What causes endometriosis?
- What are endometriosis symptoms?
- Endometriosis and cancer risk
- How is endometriosis diagnosed?
- How is endometriosis treated?
- Medical treatment of endometriosis
- Surgical treatment of endometriosis
- Treatment of infertility associated with endometriosis
- Endometriosis FAQs
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Surgical treatment of endometriosis
Surgical treatment for endometriosis can be useful when the symptoms of endometriosis are severe or when there has been an inadequate response to medical treatment. Surgery is the preferred treatment when there is anatomic distortion of the pelvic organs or obstruction of the bowel or urinary tract. Surgical therapies for endometriosis may be either classified as conservative, in which the uterus and ovarian tissue is preserved, or definitive, which involves hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), with or without removal of the ovaries.
Conservative surgery is typically carried out by laparoscopy. Endometrial implants may be excised or obliterated by laser. If the disease is extensive and anatomy is distorted, laparotomy (opening of the abdominal wall via a larger incision) may be required.
While surgical treatments can be very effective in the reduction of pain, the recurrence rate of endometriosis following surgical treatment has been estimated to be as high as 40%. Many doctors recommend for women who have had surgery for endometriosis to take oral medications after surgery to help maintain symptom relief.
Treatment of infertility associated with endometriosis
Endometriosis is more common in infertile, compared to fertile, women. However, the condition usually does not fully prevent conception. Most women with endometriosis will still be able to conceive, especially those with mild to moderate endometriosis. It is estimated that up to 70% of women with mild and moderate endometriosis will conceive within three years without any specific treatment.
The reasons for a decrease in fertility are not completely understood, but might be due to both anatomic and hormonal factors. The presence of endometriosis may involve masses of tissue or scarring (adhesions) within the pelvis that may distort normal anatomical structures, such as Fallopian tubes, which transport the eggs from the ovaries. Alternatively, endometriosis may affect fertility through the production of hormones and other substances that have a negative effect on ovulation, fertilization of the egg, and/or implantation of the embryo. Infertility associated with endometriosis is more common in women with severe forms of the disease.
Treatment options for infertility associated with endometriosis are varied, but most doctors believe that surgical treatments are superior to hormonal or medical treatments for endometriosis when the goal is enhancement of fertility. Assisted reproduction techniques may also be used when appropriate in combination with surgical therapy.
Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
UpToDate. Patient information: Endometriosis (Beyond the Basics).
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