A new paper published in Fertility and Sterility suggests endometriosis can be treated and possibly cured in teen-aged women, without the use of suppressive hormonal treatment such as birth control pills.
This study supports the importance of a Restorative Reproductive Medicine approach to endometriosis and other reproductive health problems. Young women properly diagnosed with endometriosis and offered such life-changing surgery in conjunction with a normalized fertility chart may well avoid all the pain and suffering that often accompanies endo, including a high incidence of infertility.
To determine long-term outcomes after complete laparoscopic excision done at a tertiary referral center in a teenager population, who were not specifically advised to take postoperative hormonal suppression.
Prospective observational case series (Canadian Task Force II-3).
A tertiary referral center that specializes in the laparoscopic treatment of endometriosis.
Teenagers with symptoms suspicious for endometriosis who consented and were prospectively recruited to participate in the study.
All patients underwent diagnostic laparoscopy and complete excision of all areas of abnormal peritoneum with typical and atypical endometriosis. Patients were not specifically advised to take postoperative hormonal suppression.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Rate of recurrent (or persistent) endometriosis.
Twenty teenagers underwent complete laparoscopic excision of all areas of abnormal peritoneum with typical and atypical endometriosis. Seventeen patients had endometriosis confirmed by histology at initial surgery. Follow-up was up to 66 months (average 23.1 months). There was a statistically significant improvement in most pain symptoms, including bowel-related symptoms, during this time period. The rate of repeat surgery was 8 of 17 patients (47.1%), but the rate of endometriosis (diagnosed visually or histologically) found at surgery was zero. Only one-third of patients took postoperative hormonal suppression for any length of time.
Complete laparoscopic excision of endometriosis in teenagers—including areas of typical and atypical endometriosis—has the potential to eradicate disease. These results do not depend on postoperative hormonal suppression. These data have important implications in the overall care of teenagers, regarding pain management, but also potentially for fertility. Further large comparative trials are needed to verify these results.
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27704, USA.