Endometriosis and PCOS: What You Should Know

Habit building is an important part of your PCOS reversal journey. Because PCOS is a chronic condition that requires life long care, you need to stay consistent with healthy habits to see lasting results.

Posted on September 29, 2022 ·

BY Team Veera

Medically Reviewed

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Although not very common, some women do experience both PCOS and endometriosis at the same time. While there are plenty of differences in the symptoms and both these conditions will affect your reproductive system in varying ways — there are certain crossovers between PCOS and endometriosis which can sometimes feel confusing.

Both these conditions can affect your periods, trigger fluctuations in your mood, and cause fertility issues. And one particularly challenging aspect of both these conditions is that the symptoms go overlooked and can take a longer time to diagnose.

This makes proper diagnosis an important part of receiving the right treatment. If you are experiencing either of the symptoms or have an overlap of symptoms, speak to your doctor and discuss everything you are experiencing.

Treatment for Endometriosis

Individualised treatment

Currently, there is NO cure for endometriosis. However, there are treatment options available to manage pain and treat infertility. Not all treatments may work well for each woman with endometriosis so it is important to speak to a doctor for an individualised treatment plan.

Your treatment options will depend on certain factors such as:

  1. Your age
  2. The severity of your symptoms
  3. Whether you plan on having children

Pain relief

To manage endometriosis related pain:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used for mild pain. Hormone therapy such as combined oral contraceptive pill (COCPs) is also effective in managing pain and other symptoms

If you are not planning on getting pregnant, COCP is often the first line of treatment. COCP can help:

  1. slow the progression of endometriosis
  2. reduce heavy period flow
  3. make periods painless by not allowing ovulation to happen, hence taking care of the severe cramps during periods

Surgical intervention

Your doctor may recommend surgery if hormone therapy is not providing relief or if you are having fertility problems. Surgery for endometriosis aims to remove as much visible endometriosis as possible and reduce symptoms and improve fertility by removing endometrial tissue. Hormone therapy may be used prior to surgery to shrink the size of endometriomas.

Laparascopy

In most cases (especially advanced stages), laparoscopy is the choice of surgical treatment. This is a keyhole surgery performed under general anaesthesia in which a laparoscope is inserted into the abdominal cavity. This allows your doctor to see if there is any endometrial tissue within the pelvis.

Endometriosis can be seen as patches of endometriosis, cysts, nodules, chocolate cysts (endometriomas) and adhesions. Laparoscopy can be used to: remove large cysts and endometriomas surgically repair any damaged organs

It is important to be specific about your symptoms or any distress you are feeling and most importantly don’t downplay your symptoms. Both PCOS and endometriosis are serious medical conditions that need prompt medical care. Depending on your diagnosis, your treatment pathway will differ too.

Although following a healthy lifestyle has been proven beneficial for both the conditions, there are certain medications and surgical interventions that can make it easier to live with these conditions.

Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician

Verified by Dr. Iris Lee

Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Lee is a fellow in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed medical school and residency training at the University of Pennsylvania as well. Her work focuses primarily on PCOS, particularly the metabolic and mental health implications. Outside of work, she enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her husband and two puppies.

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