Struggling with the pain and bleeding from endometriosis leads many women on a winding path of treatment options. Many women feel overwhelmed by the options they find in their own research and how these compare to what their doctors offer them. The best course of treatment is one that a care provider and woman agree upon that reduces her pain to an amount that is acceptable to the woman.
Endometriosis usually begins around the time of puberty, but it’s not uncommon to begin to experience endometriosis symptoms later in life. The average age of endometriosis diagnosis is 28 years old and it takes most women about eight years of seeking help before they are diagnosed. The symptoms of endometriosis usually include pelvic pain, painful periods, heavy bleeding and painful urination.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
When investigating treatment options, it’s important to think about where you’d like to start. Some women who want to avoid or delay medication or surgical management of their endometriosis may begin treatment with options like yoga, physical therapy, trigger point therapy or acupuncture. Other women opt for hormonal management that reduces endometriosis symptoms. Many women find that laparoscopic excision surgery relieves the majority of their symptoms. You may need to try a few different treatment options until you find what works for you, but there is help available.
Progestin Therapy for Endometriosis
Progestin is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, a reproductive hormone that can counterbalance estrogen. This is important as far as endometriosis is concerned because it is believed that estrogen may encourage the growth of endometriosis. You may be familiar with progestin because it is also a form of birth control pill that is taken by many women, even those without endometriosis.
However, progestin comes in many forms besides the pill, including injections, implants and IUDs. Women with endometriosis have been using progestin successfully for over fifty years, and studies have reported that as many as 90% of women who take progestin report an improvement in their pain from endometriosis. Progestin is believed to inhibit the growth of endometrial cells, inhibit the growth of blood vessels and act as an anti-inflammatory on pelvic organs.
Unfortunately, progestin therapy for endometriosis isn’t a good option for women who hope to become pregnant because it prevents ovulation. It can also cause some nausea, weight gain, water retention and depression in some women. If you are interested in exploring progestin therapy for endometriosis, talk to your doctor about your options.
Gezer, A., & Oral, E. (2015). Progestin therapy in endometriosis. Women’s Health, 11(5), 643-652.