Menopause may cause a slow shrinking of endometriosis growths and an end to symptoms of the condition. But symptoms may continue for some people due to hormone therapy.
Menopause causes the body to stop producing as much estrogen. As endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent, chronic condition, symptoms typically disappear after a person goes through menopause.
However, for some people, symptoms may continue. This is often due to hormone therapy treatments.
This article reviews what happens to endometriosis during menopause, whether it can start postmenopause, and more.
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The prevailing thought among experts is that going through menopause puts a gradual end to endometriosis. Endometriosis is an
This means that for most people with endometriosis, their symptoms will improve when menopause occurs. However, people
HRT contains estrogen, and estrogen is the main hormone
The study reports only a small minority of endometriosis occurring spontaneously after menopause. They note that about 2–5% of incidents of endometriosis occur after menopause.
If endometriosis continues past menopause, often due to hormone replacement therapy, a person may experience non-specific symptoms that
- gastrointestinal symptoms
- pelvic pain
- pain with intercourse
- pain with bowel movements
- ovarian cysts
Even if a person’s endometriosis improves following menopause, they may still experience menopause symptoms. These can include:
- hot flushes
- mood swings
- vaginal atrophy
- night sweats
Diagnosing endometriosis can be difficult because there is no specific test to check for it. A healthcare professional
Imaging tests such as ultrasound and MRI scans can diagnose endometriosis. However, normal imaging does not necessarily rule out the presence of endometriosis.
The most accurate way to diagnose endometriosis is to perform a laparoscopy, a type of surgery where a small camera is placed in the abdomen to look for endometriosis tissue.
Cancer and endometriosis share similar risk factors, such as:
- low parity rate (the number of live births previously born by a female, in this case, one to two)
- short duration of oral contraceptive use
- late childbearing age
According to a
However, they stated that the best method may be for healthcare professionals to be aware of and monitor for signs of worsening endometriosis symptoms.
They suggest that new cases of endometriosis growths following menopause should be surgically removed. They also state that about 12% will eventually require a hysterectomy to relieve symptoms.
Medical therapies, such as progesterone administration and aromatase inhibitors, may help. However, there is still limited evidence about their overall effectiveness and safety.
People with endometriosis may want to speak with a health professional about HRT before starting it. They may be able to answer questions about the risks and how it may affect their endometriosis.
If a person develops symptoms of endometriosis after menopause, they should speak with a healthcare professional. If a healthcare professional discovers a growth on the person’s ovaries or other areas, they
Some healthcare professionals may presume that endometriosis cannot occur past childbearing years and so may not think symptoms are related to the condition. A person may need to self-advocate if their symptoms persist or if they suspect endometriosis may be an underlying cause.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about endometriosis and menopause.
Does endometriosis get worse with menopause?
Typically, endometriosis symptoms
Does endometriosis affect the age a person has menopause?
According to a
In other words, it may increase the likelihood that a person will go through early menopause.
Endometriosis often improves with menopause, however, undergoing hormone replacement therapy may cause worsening symptoms.
A person with endometriosis should be aware of possible menopause symptoms that may develop, such as mood swings and vaginal atrophy.
Endometriosis can worsen or start postmenopause. Most literature suggests it occurs in people undergoing hormone replacement therapy. If it does occur, little is standardized in terms of treatment. However, people will likely benefit from surgical removal of the growths.