Looking for relief from the painful symptoms brought on by endometriosis?
I’m sure you’ve spent a substantial amount of time researching ways to relieve your pain (just like what I used to do).
Since this particular disease is very tied into a woman’s menstrual cycle and hormone fluctuation, one popular way to attempt to manage the pain is by going on birth control.
Surprisingly, birth control can be used for many other types of treatment then actual pregnancy prevention.
Read on to understand the facts about how using birth control could affect those that suffer from endometriosis.
Birth Control Cannot PREVENT Endometriosis:
This may be a viable option for treating some of the symptoms of this disease, however, going on birth control isn’t the magical answer that will prevent endometriosis.
The good news though, is that for some women, it can provide temporary relief as a side effect.
Here’s Exactly What Endometriosis Is And Why Some Women Get It & Others Don’t
Starting from the beginning, what is endometriosis?
In simple terms, it is a disease where tissue that should be in the uterus is located outside of the uterus. This tissue responds to the normal cycle of the woman and when it proliferates and grows, it causes a state of inflammation in the woman’s reproductive system that can be painful.
Not all women suffer from this condition simply because not all women have any endometrial tissue found anywhere outside of their uterus. Overall it only affects about every 1 in 10 women.
Here’s Why Birth Control Cannot Prevent Endometriosis
There is a difference between managing the symptoms of a disease and actually preventing it. Unfortunately, birth control falls under that “managing” hat.
Since there is not one specific cause for endometriosis, the medical field does not have a clear idea about how to prevent it.
Birth control works to keep your hormones at a fixed level, and while that may help relieve some women in the short run, if they ever go off birth control and their hormones react, the disease could flare up again.
Birth Control Can Treat The Symptoms Of Endometriosis & Suppress Those Symptoms
For the short term alleviation of pain, if this is a method that helps you, by all means, take it. Just know that the discomfort is staunched, not gone completely.
And, while you're taking birth control, you can do other things to help reduce endometriosis symptoms (like eat a healthy diet, juice, use a vegan personal moisturizer that nourishes your vaginal skin, take supplements like evening primrose oil, and more).
When birth control is removed, like say to try to conceive a child, the endometriosis causes the inflammation to occur once again and thus the pain will return.
How Can Birth Control Reduce Endometriosis Symptoms:
Birth control works for this disease by simply doing what it was made for and inhibiting ovulation with some types stopping bleeding altogether. It also helps to balance out a woman’s hormones keeping them at a steady level.
Different types of pills have been tested out and deemed “the best birth control” for endo including the popular post-partum pill, called the “progestin-only pill,” or the “mini-pill.”
Ultimately, you need to find the one that works best for you and your body.
Besides the hormonal benefit, another way that birth control can help suppress the symptoms is that it prevents the endometrial tissue from thickening.
The lack of fluctuation in hormones helps to not aggravate (thus inflame) the endometrial tissue that is found outside of the uterus.
The pain, in those that suffer, is tied to the inflammation caused by that misplaced tissue.
Why Birth Control Isn’t A Long-Term Solution & Doesn’t Promote True Healing
While the idea of a painless existence sounds promising, please remember that a lot of treatment options just treat the symptoms, not the root source of the problem.
While short-term relief can be necessary to try and live a normal life, it does nothing for long-term healing.
Once you remove the birth control from your system, the symptoms often, unfortunately, resurface.
No inflammation means no pain.
Endometriosis Birth Control Not Working? Here’s Why That Might Be Happening:
One thing that you have to consider with birth control pills is that there is a wide variety of them and they affect different things. Some doctors mention that patients with endometriosis have better results reducing pain when given birth control pills that are high progestogenic pills.
Progestin is a synthetic substitute for progesterone. This is supposed to limit the endometrial growth. It is possible to need to try multiple options to find the one that works best for you.
This also is not an overnight fix. Many times it can take around 2-3 months to notice an improvement in symptoms, so it is possible that if you have not seen any relief that you just need to wait a little longer.
Even while on birth control pills, a woman could still experience some cramping and possibly other side effects of the birth control like; headaches, nausea, irregular periods, and weight gain.
At that point, you would need to weigh the pain from not taking the pills against the side effects and decide which one works better for you.
Using this type of treatment can also take from a few months to a year to nail down the most effective medication for your body (especially when trying out a few types of birth control pills) but in the end, this therapy only works in about 75% of patients. Every body type is different and reacts to medicine in its own way.
Treating Endometriosis Without Birth Control - There Are Effective Ways To Do That
The best treatment for endometriosis is the one or many that work for you. The goal now is to find your perfect mix.
That being said, some women don’t have the option of more expensive forms of treatment, like surgery, and if a person is not insured even birth control may be a challenge to afford.
If you are someone that likes to try natural remedies first, luckily there are many non-prescription forms of treatment that have been found to be effective for many patients.
1. Eating Healthy, Healing Foods
Diet! This can be a huge factor in helping to mitigate some of the side effects of endometriosis. The main changes that can be made to help form the acronym: GADS.
Consider juicing healthy fruits and veggies like cabbage and beets, as well.
Some people need to follow all four in order to get natural relief, while others can just follow one or two. It may take some experimentation on your part to find out what works.
2. Reducing Inflammation By Mitigating Stress
Besides overhauling your diet, removing stress from your life can also have a positive impact on reducing endometriosis symptoms.
There is a lot of research on the ways that stress and inflammation are linked together.
Easy ways to reduce stressors are to engage in physical workout classes like yoga or other aerobic exercise or learn how to practice deep breathing.
Meditation is also a great way to relieve stress, but one that sounds a little scarier to people new to stress reducer techniques.
There are also most more unconventional ways to mitigate stress like starting a journal or even taking a daily walk in a park.
I would suggest that you sit down and write out the things in your life that are stressful for you and then come up with a solution to help each one.
3. Consider Using Natural Herbs
Another natural remedy that you might already have in your spice cabinet at home is the use of herbs to reduce the symptoms.
- Evening Primrose Oil: I CANNOT live without this stuff. It has had noticeable impacts on my health.
- Ginger: has been known to reduce menstrual pain and thus could help with endometriosis
- Curcumin: (turmeric) has anti-inflammatory qualities
- Cinnamon: you can mix with other essential oils to help with cramping
- Lavender: an oil massage can help decrease period/abdominal pain
These herbal remedies will have to be tested out on your body, but the benefit to trying them is that there are little to no side effects, unless you are allergic to them.
These are just four options for natural remedies that you can try to help relieve your symptoms and live a pain-free life.