Endometriosis has changed your life and you are struggling to cope with it.
The pain, frustration, and uncertainty of this diagnosis have driven you to your breaking point.
But you are strong, resilient, and ready to kick endo’s butt! So, how can you get relief?
An IUD might help— but before you rush out to your OB/GYN, you need to know how an IUD will impact your endo.
- Can an IUD cause endometriosis?
- Will an IUD make endometriosis worse?
- Can an IUD cure endometriosis?
This quick guide will tell you everything you need to know about endometriosis and IUDs.
Table of Contents
- What Is An IUD?
- Can An IUD Cause Endometriosis?
- What Causes Endometriosis?
- Can You Have An IUD And Endometriosis?
- IUD And Endometriosis: How An IUD Can Help
- Endometriosis And IUD Use: Are There Any Risks?
- Endometriosis And IUD Use: Natural Alternatives
What Is an IUD?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a contraceptive that releases the hormone, Levonorgestrel, (a synthetic form of progesterone) into the body.
The most common IUDs are small, shaped like a T, and made from flexible plastic. It’s implanted into the uterus by a medical doctor.
Some IUDs are made of copper but since they don’t contain hormones, they aren’t going to help with your endometriosis.
Wait a minute—won’t hormones make endometriosis worse?
Some hormones, like estrogen, do contribute to endometriosis. Research indicates endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disease.
But not all hormones have a negative impact on your endo symptoms.
For most women, endometriosis is associated with unbalanced hormones, mainly too much estrogen. Adding more progesterone can balance out your estrogen levels.
Progesterone can help:
- Regulate your monthly cycle
- Thicken your uterine lining
- Reduce the risk of endometrial cancer
An IUD is more than just pregnancy prevention. It can relieve endometriosis symptoms by suppressing ovulation and pumping more progesterone into your body.
You feel it coming.
It always starts with fatigue, then bloating, followed by excruciating cramps and heavy bleeding.
It’s your period. You have to cancel girl’s night, again. How can you have fun when all you want to do is curl up in the bed and cry?
But since an IUD can stop your cycle, you can avoid experiencing these debilitating side effects.
That sounds like heaven, but because endometriosis is linked to abnormal hormone levels, can an IUD cause endometriosis?
Keep reading to discover the answer to this question, plus everything you need to know about IUD and endometriosis.
Can an IUD Cause Endometriosis?
The short answer is no, an IUD does not cause endometriosis. It actually might help relieve your symptoms.
One study suggests an IUD effectively relieves pelvic pain caused by endometriosis and can even reduce the risk of lesions recurring after surgery.
There is no medical evidence that links endometriosis and IUD use. Many women who had an IUD implanted report reduced endometriosis-associated pain. It can also reduce the size of lesions and menstrual flow.
What Causes Endometriosis?
Since you now know that an IUD doesn’t cause endometriosis, what does?
Unfortunately, the exact cause of endometriosis is still unknown. However, here are a few common risk factors linked to this painful disorder:
- Early-onset of menstruation or late-onset of menopause
- Irregular menstrual cycles (too short or extremely heavy)
- High levels of estrogen
- Low body mass index
- Family history of endometriosis
- Blockages that prevent menstrual flow
- Experience reproductive challenges
- Retrograde menstruation
- Immune system disorders
Can You Have an IUD and Endometriosis?
Yes, many doctors recommend using an IUD to treat endometriosis.
Endometriosis needs estrogen, it thrives on it. Because this is an estrogen-dependent disease, one way to combat it is to balance your estrogen levels with progesterone.
Yes, that is the same (synthetic) hormone that is in an IUD. An IUD can reduce the nasty side effects of your menstrual cycle and in some cases, eliminate it completely.
Here are even more benefits of using an IUD with endometriosis:
- Slows heavy menstrual bleeding
- Prevents pregnancy
- Effective for 3-7 years (depending on the brand used)
- Does not decrease bone density (which is important for women as we age)
- Reduces endometriosis pain after surgery
IUD and Endometriosis: How An IUD Can Help
If you choose to get an IUD implant, you might notice an improvement in your endometriosis symptoms. This is because the IUD, just like any form of birth control, stops ovulation.
When you are not ovulating, you are not overproducing estrogen. Remember, endo loves estrogen.
Reducing your estrogen levels can reduce or eliminate:
- Endometrial implants (the tissue that grows outside the uterus)
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Agonizing cramps
Endometriosis and IUD Use: Are There Any Risks?
At this point, you are seriously considering getting an IUD implant to help with your endometriosis.
. An IUD can reduce menstrual cycles, which will alleviate many of your painful symptoms.
So, what’s the catch? Is there a downside to endometriosis and IUD use?
All medical treatments come with some risks, and having an IUD implanted is no different.
After an IUD is placed you may experience mild pain and bleeding. The good news is, this is very common and usually only lasts for a short time.
In addition to mild pain and bleeding you might experience:
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular bleeding
- Changes in mood
- Cramping or pelvic pain
There are two major risks with an IUD:
Both of these side effects are very rare and occur in less than 1% of women.
Before you make an appointment to have an IUD placed, let’s take a look at a few alternatives to using an IUD to treat endometriosis.
Endometriosis and IUD Use: Natural Alternatives
An IUD isn’t the best choice for every woman, so it might not be the right choice for you.
Whether you had a bad experience in the past, or don’t like the idea of synthetic hormones being pumped into your body, you want to explore natural remedies to treat your endometriosis.
There are several natural alternatives that can relieve and treat endometriosis symptoms.
The Endo Diet
Food is fuel for your body. When you put in good fuel, you get positive results such as more energy, improving your mood, and fighting off diseases-- including endometriosis.
The endo diet can help ease the painful symptoms of endometriosis.
There’s not a “one size fits all” endo diet, so you may have to experiment a bit with it to find the foods that work best for you.
Incorporating anti-inflammatories in your diet will reduce the inflammation caused by endometriosis. Try adding broccoli or spinach to your dinner or add pineapples and strawberries to your morning smoothie.
In addition to incorporating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, you’ll want to avoid eating foods that can cause inflammation, like:
Natural Herbs And Remedies
Following the endo diet is extremely beneficial but it takes some time to notice results. So, what can you do right now to treat the painful endo symptoms?
There are several natural herbs you can start using today to get relief from your symptoms. Some of these natural herbs and remedies can even reverse endometriosis.
Some natural herbs and remedies that you can try include:
- Peppermint, which contains antioxidants that relieve pelvic cramping.
- Ginger, which is an anti-inflammatory and immune booster.
- Curcumin, which is a natural detoxifier and suppresses lesion growth.
- Evening Primrose Oil, which is an anti-inflammatory and PMS powerhouse.
In fact, evening primrose oil is one of only six all-natural ingredients in Chiavaye personal moisturizer which can be used to relieve painful intercourse (another side effect of endo).
Exercise And Stress Reduction
Life is stressful enough without dealing with your endo symptoms. The pain, the bleeding, the fatigue— all make you feel anxious and stressed.
Did you know stress and anxiety can increase inflammation within your body?
Managing stress and anxiety is crucial to reducing inflammation caused by endometriosis symptoms and is key to maintaining positive mental health and wellness.
Try some of these stress-reducing activities:
- Enjoying your favorite hobbies
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women so while you might feel alone, you are not.
You don’t have to suffer on your own.
There are support groups for women living with endometriosis throughout the country. You might find sharing your story and talking with other women who truly understand how you feel will lift you up and help heal your mind and body.