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Treating endometriosis

FDP oral and injectable Currently there is no cure for endometriosis. Treatments aim to:

Before deciding on a treatment, you and your doctor will need to consider:

Treatment options include pain relief, hormone treatment, and surgery.

You usually get the best outcomes by working with health professionals, along with self-care and lifestyle changes.

Self-care and lifestyle changes

Staying a healthy weight, eating well, being active, reducing stress, and stopping smoking can improve your symptoms. You could also try cutting down on caffeine and alcohol.

Using heat, such as from a hot water bottle, may help reduce discomfort.

Pain medication

Pain medications, especially anti-inflammatories such as mefenamic acid, ibuprofen, naproxen (te reo Māori version) and diclofenac, help to reduce inflammation and pain. Taking them regularly, with or without paracetamol, may be particularly useful.

Hormone treatment

Hormone treatment acts on the lining of your womb to reduce the growth of endometriosis. It can take a few months before hormone treatment works as well as it can. It comes in several forms.

Combined oral contraceptive pill (the Pill)

The Pill contains a mixture of estrogen and progesterone. It stabilises your hormone levels and stops your ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulating). This makes the uterus lining thinner and makes periods lighter and shorter.


Progesterones help by suppressing the growth of endometriosis tissue. Commonly used progesterones include:

If these treatments do not help with your symptoms, your doctor may refer you to a specialist doctor (gynaecologist). Specialist treatments may include medicines such as Zoladex or leuprorelin. If none of these treatments work for you, surgery may be an option.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Surgery for endometriosis

Written by GP liaison, Christchurch Women's Hospital. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.


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Page reference: 278803

Review key: HIEND-30280