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When Hormone Therapy Fails: Pain from Endometriosis Can Be Treated!

Study Confirms Value of Surgery as an Option to Conservative Treatment

Findings from a study published in this month’s edition of Diseases of the Colon and Rectum confirm the efficacy of surgery for rectosigmoid endometriosis that is unresponsive to conservative treatment. In the study, conducted in Denmark, information on pelvic pain and quality of life was analyzed from 175 women before and 1 year after undergoing laparoscopic bowel resection for endometriosis. Significant reductions in both hormonal and pain medication usage were observed following surgery, with hormone treatment dropping to 56% of patients postoperatively vs 81% preoperatively, and pain medication usage decreasing from 94% to 62%. In addition, the study subjects reported reduced pain intensity associated with both menstrual periods and bowel movements following surgery. Significant improvements were also reported in various quality of life components including general health, vitality, mental health and physical functioning.

Endometriosis is often associated with intense pelvic pain, painful intercourse, constipation, and infertility. First-line treatment typically engages hormonal agents to slow the growth of existing endometriosis and prevent new areas from developing. Cases that are refractory to this treatment approach are often treated surgically, but there has been disagreement over the preferred surgical procedure. Based on conclusions from the study. Lead author Mads Riiskjaer, MD, summarized, “We strongly recommend surgery for rectosigmoid endometriosis that is unresponsive to conservative treatment.”

Read a news story about the study findings.

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