In the disease Endometriosis, tissue from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) moves through the body and settles in areas where it does not belong: for example on the ovaries, Fallopian tubes or other organs in the pelvic cavity. The big problem is that the displaced endometrial tissue induces an inflammatory reaction and, as a result, adhesions. This can cause severe abdominal and pelvic pain or cramping menstrual pain as well as pain during sexual intercourse. Endometriosis is also a common reason for infertility.
Reasons not fully explored
Many millions of women suffer from Endometriosis. It is estimated that 5-10% of all women of childbearing age are affected. Yet the disease goes undiagnosed in many women. Often the symptoms are initially interpreted as normal menstrual complaints. A definite diagnosis can only be made by performing a laparoscopy. If an endometriotic lesion is detected, it can be surgically removed. However, about half of the women experience symptoms again after surgery.
The causes of the disease have still not been fully explained. Most experts believe that a reflux of menstrual blood carries cells from the uterine lining via the Fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity. Other researchers believe that the cells spread from the uterus via lymph and blood vessels.
While the current standard therapy in terms of efficacy (GnRH analogues) relieves the pain, it can also lead to severe side-effects, such as decreased bone mineral density and hot flushes. For these reasons, it is not suitable as a long-term therapy.
Therapy option approved in Europe
Bayer has launched in 2010 in Europe for a treatment of endometriosis. The treatement is also approved in several countries in Latin America and Asia Pacific. This drug is a once-daily oral tablet containing 2 mg of the progestin dienogest. It has been developed specifically for the treatment of endometriosis. A dedicated clinical study programme has proven that dienogest 2 mg relieves endometriosis pain with high efficacy and reduces lesions. It also showed good tolerability in clinical studies – making it suitable for the long-term treatment of endometriosis.
Advice for patients
Each body reacts differently to medicines. Therefore it is impossible to tell which medicine works best for you. Please consult your physician.