One day, a medication may be able to shrink or stop the growth of Endometriosis lesions without affecting ovarian function.
Many believe that Endometriosis is an estrogen-driven disease. Current treatments include stopping estrogen production in the body by inducing chemical menopause or by prescribing continuous birth control to effectively limit estrogen production in the body. These treatments can have devastating side effects, and some may only be taken for a limited period of time.
On January 21, 2015, a story was published in the Biology of Reproduction which discussed the discovery of compounds that block the inflammatory properties of estrogen receptors, without affecting the functions of the ovaries. You can read the story here. The University of Illinois also published a story here.
Tests were performed on mice and found that these compounds blocked new and additional Endometriosis growth, without affecting the mice’s fertility. Tests were also performed on cells from human Endometriosis lesions with the same stopping and shrinking results. These compounds were also shown to work well with Letrozole, a drug which inhibits estrogen production in the hopes of reducing Endometriosis pain and symptoms. Further testing with primates is needed before additional conclusions can be drawn.
However, it does appear that in the future medications may likely be created that will reduce, slow, and possibly stop Endometriosis growth without the horrible side effects of some of the other standard medications, including chemical menopause, bone loss, and infertility.
You can read the actual study abstract here, which was published in Science Translation Medicine.