Author(s): Oxholm D, Knudsen UB, KrygerBaggesen N, Ravn P
Postmenopausal endometriosis is rare. The purpose of this presentation is to give a review of the topic based on existing literature.
A Medline search concerning postmenopausal endometriosis was carried out. Hormone therapy and risk of malignancy in these patients are discussed.
Some 32 case reports on postmenopausal endometriosis were found. The most common location is in the ovaries. Estrogens stimulate endometriosis. There is a risk of recurrence or de novo occurrence of endometriosis after the menopause in patients who take hormone therapy (HT); especially estrogen only therapy (ET). So far, treatment has primarily been surgery (hysterectomy (TAH) and bilateral oophorectomy (BSO)).There is little experience with medical treatment (aromatase inhibitors). The risk of malignant transformation of premenopausal endometriosis is around 1%. Furthermore, patients with endometriosis have an increased risk of ovarian cancer, and, apparently, other malignancies. The risk of malignant transformation appears to be further elevated in patients who take ET, although this subject is not fully elucidated.
Although the condition is rare, it is important to be aware of endometriosis after the menopause. Postmenopausal endometriosis infers a risk of recurrence and malignant transformation. Although solid evidence is lacking, the risk of malignant transformation appears to be lower during combined HT compared to ET. Thus, hormone replacement therapy should generally be reserved for patients with severe climacteric complaints, and if indicated, combined therapy should be used.