It affects approximately 1 in 10 women (176 million) women worldwide and yet many people have never heard of it. Endometriosis. So what is endometriosis? In this article we will discuss this condition which is commonly treated with birth control pills as well as methods for treating endometriosis without birth control pills.
What is endometriosis
Endometriosis is explained as a specific condition where tissue that would normally be lining the uterus instead deviates to locations outside of the uterus. This can cause a number of issues, such as:
- Chronic pain in the pelvic area
- Abnormal bleeding
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Pain during intercourse
- Period pain
Sometimes it can go undiagnosed for years
Due to a lack of awareness of this disease it can go undiagnosed for sometimes as long as 10 years. Part of the issue is that birth control pills can suppress enough of the symptoms that diagnosing endometriosis becomes even more difficult even without the widespread ignorance of this condition. It can be very difficult to treat, unfortunately, and so the general approach is for the symptoms to simply be suppressed. Ironically, this is generally accomplished with the birth control options that hid it in the first place. So what is the best birth control for endometriosis? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Why birth control pills are sometimes not an option
Using birth control pills for endometriosis is not a cure, it is simply a means of addressing the symptoms. Does birth control help with endometriosis? It can certainly help with the quality of life of the woman suffering from it, A more interesting question is, ‘does birth control CAUSE endometriosis?’. One study found that women who had never given birth but had taken birth control pills for a period of 5 years were 2.3 times more likely to develop the disease! No, birth control can suppress the symptoms but for some this is not enough. They wish (and rightly so) to attack the disease itself, rather than to live with it.
A cure for endometriosis
Is there a cure? Well, in some cases, yes. The main factor is going to be the severity of it. Endometriosis can affect a number of locations, presenting in a number of ways in the following locations:
- In the pelvic organs
- The intestines
- the Rectum
- The Bladder
- Lungs (in rare cases)
So, how is endometriosis treated?
Well, first the identification of the deviation of the lining of the uterus is required. A process called diagnostic laparoscopy is employed in this. In minor to moderate cases of endometriosis, a laser can actually cauterize the deviant tissue at the time of the diagnostic laparoscopy. About 50-70% of women suffering from this disease may be treated in this manner, The downside to this option is that there is a very high chance that the endometriosis will simply return.
” Generally in the more severe cases a surgical approach is taken.”
What about the more severe cases? Can it be removed completely?
Generally in the more severe cases a surgical approach is taken. This involves excising the problem tissue. This has the best chances of preventing recurrence, with the odds being around 10-20% of recurrence based on the skill of the surgeon performing the procedure.
How do you find the most skilled surgeons for this?
Experts in the field have some very specialized training and even with the advent of the internet they can be difficult to locate. That is, if you don’t know where to look. One excellent resource for women looking for the best surgeons that they can find for this is fertilitycare.org. They can provide a list of surgeons in order to help you to find the best resources available if you are suffering from endometriosis.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
One treatment that is sometimes applied is a drug called Lupron. This is felt to be a rather drastic approach for some, as it forces the body into a menopausal state. This state means that there is a lowered production of hormones and in some cases, this can effectively REDUCE the disease. It is important to note, however, that this is not a cure. It also comes with a host of side effects, such as mood swings, insomnia, and hot flashes… common symptoms that come with the menopause that the medication is forcing on the body. It is also only a temporary solution, as symptoms will always return within a period of 6 to 12 months after the patient stops taking the Lupron.
So what is the best approach for this?
That is for you and your physician to decide. Some opt with the birth control and suppress the endometriosis rather than attempt to remediate it as much as possible. The diagnostic laparoscopy is also a popular option, despite the high rate of recurrence that comes with it. Ultimately, the surgical approach is the most effective means of attacking the endometriosis to provide a more permanent solution. This is only something that you can decide, however. It’s your body and if you view surgery as a less attractive option than simply dealing with the symptoms, that is your right. We’re just here to give you the facts.
In this article we have discussed the subject of endometriosis, if only in brief. We’ve gone over treatment options as well as touched upon the current state of ignorance of the condition. We encourage readers to learn more about this condition, especially if they should be experiencing some or all of the symptoms which we have previously described in this article. Check with your local women’s health centers in order to find a physician best suited for a diagnostic if you think that you might have untreated endometriosis. As we’d mentioned, this often goes undiagnosed for years, so the best thing that you can do is to go with a medical resource that is already well-educated on the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.