Is Endometriosis Curable?

Ask a Doctor

I’ve recently been diagnosed with endometriosis. Is this condition curable?

Doctor’s Response

Women experience a wide variety of responses to medical and exercise therapy. Responses range from complete resolution of symptoms to no relief and further progression of the disease. Hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries essentially causes menopause, and women who have this procedure can expect a considerable decrease in symptoms.

  • Studies have shown women who have endometriosis are more likely than other women to have disorders in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues. These include:
  • Researchers also found that women with endometriosis are more likely to have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia (a disease involving pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments).
  • Women with endometriosis are more likely to have asthma, allergies, and eczema (a skin condition).
  • Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) is more common women with endometriosis.
  • Women with endometriosis also have a mildly increased risk for development of certain types of cancer of the ovary. This risk seems to be highest in women with endometriosis and primary infertility (those who have never borne a child), but the use of oral contraceptive pills appears to significantly reduce this risk.
  • Infertility: Endometriosis is known to be a common cause of infertility in women, but it does not always cause infertility.
    • Research has shown that many women with untreated endometriosis have a decreased ability to conceive.
    • Issues concerning infertility are best discussed with a doctor, gynecologist, or fertility specialist; who can guide a woman toward appropriate treatment options.
  • Pregnancy: If a woman is successful in becoming pregnant with endometriosis, she can expect the disease to have little, if any, impact on her pregnancy.
    • Because pregnant women do not have the changes in hormone levels that happen with ovulation and menstruation, they typically do not experience many of the symptoms associated with endometriosis.
    • If a woman is concerned about symptoms during pregnancy that might be associated with endometriosis, she should consult her doctor for more information and an evaluation.

For more information read our full medical article on endometriosis.

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Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology

REFERENCE: Endometriosis.