While there is currently no cure for endometriosis, there are a multitude of treatment options that can help ease your symptoms. Find out what they are below!
We’ve done several posts highlighting natural tips to manage endo symptoms, so head over to our Instagram to check it out if you haven’t already! Diet, exercise, and your general lifestyle can have an immense impact on endometriosis – eating anti-inflammatory foods, reducing dairy, gluten, red-meat and alcohol consumption, and including more whole foods and fruits and vegetables into your diet can help reduce pelvic pain.
While we know it may be difficult to exercise when in so much pain, consider doing gentle exercise such as yoga to help move your body and be relaxed as well. Some experts recommend acupuncture and meditation for stress-relief as they can help you relax and manage your mental health.
If you are not getting the benefits you need from natural remedies, it may be best to consider hormone therapy. However, it is important to be aware of the extensive side effects hormone therapy can have, so consult your physician before taking any major steps.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Often called “natural hormone therapy”, this treatment involves hormones that are made from natural products such as plant estrogens. The hormones have an identical molecular structure to those that are naturally produced by the body, potentially making it easier for your body to use the hormones. Using natural progesterone could counteract the effects of estrogen, which can reduce endometriosis symptoms.
By suppressing ovulation, birth control pills change your hormone levels and most women experience lighter, shorter, and more regular periods. As with other forms of hormone therapy, endometriosis symptoms are likely to return after coming off the pill, as birth control is not a cure for the condition. Many women also experience birth control side effects such as bleeding, weight gain, and migraines.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) medicine
GnRH medicine suppresses the production of several reproductive hormones to prevent ovulation and menstruation, thus reducing/preventing the growth of endometriosis. Experts recommend that these pills only be taken for 6 months at a time, and stopped for several months before starting again. The pill often has side effects similar to menopause symptoms (hot flashes, fatigue, bone loss) and after stopping the pill, your body should start returning to normal hormone production, although endometriosis will likely return again.
Progestin pills are other contraceptives that prevent pregnancy by stopping your uterine lining from thickening. This treatment option may cause you to temporarily stop having periods and reduce endometriosis pain.
While hormone therapy and lifestyle changes can help you better manage your endometriosis symptoms and temporarily slow the growth of endometriosis, surgery could provide greater changes and reduce/stop endometriosis.
Conservative surgery is commonly performed on those with endometriosis and can specifically remove endometriosis lesions. Laparoscopic excision surgery can remove entire lesions, including the tissue that grows beneath the surface, without damaging the healthy tissue. Ablation/cauterization surgery uses heat to burn off the lesions, but cannot remove below the surface, which is why many experts recommend deep-excisions through laparoscopic surgery.
If your endometriosis has spread to many other organs and are suffering from extreme pain, you may be considering surgery to remove organs. A hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, is the most common type of definitive surgery, and the ovaries and the cervix could be removed as well. Always consult a doctor before making such decisions to be sure you have thoroughly explored your options.