Jan 2021

Understanding Endometriosis Symptoms & Treatments

  • By: Samantha Denäe

Endometriosis is becoming more talked about, yet still extremely hard to detect. With many symptoms associated, it’s hard to decipher if asking your doctor about Endometriosis is right for you. Often times, you’ll find women who suffer from Endometriosis have painful periods, but sometimes that's not always the case. Some women who have widespread Endometriosis may have little or no pain during their period, while other women (like myself at the time of diagnosis) have mild Endometriosis but extreme period pain. Other common symptoms and signifiers, aside from painful periods to possibly detect Endometriosis include:

  • Severe abdominal cramping
  • Heavy bleeding/irregular bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements and/or urination (often during menstruation)
  • Pain during or around the time of ovulation
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Pain in the pelvic and/or lower back area 
  • Pain in the legs
  • Nausea
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Infertility

Because Endo tissue can spread to any part of the body and attach to any organs, symptoms may worsen over time. After receiving a diagnosis, your doctor will offer a plethora of treatment options in an attempt to gradually decrease the growth and spreading of the tissue. Birth control options are most common but depending on severity, other treatment options may be offered. Here are some common treatment options currently being offered if you suffer from Endometriosis:

  • Birth control: this can be in any form, but most Endo patients will be offered birth control pills (for a continuous or extended-cycle), Nexplanon, Depo Provera, or Mirena IUD. 
  • Lupron Depot: a chemotherapy treatment in the form of a shot given every three months in six month intervals.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): typically used to alleviate or reduce menopausal symptoms, HRT may be used to treat Endometriosis especially if taking Lupron Depot. It is theorized that because deposits of endometrium (the lining of the womb) live outside of the womb cavity, thickens and bleeds with every cycle, inducing menopause will create subdual of the menstrual cycle and movement of the ovaries, resolving symptoms of endometriosis. 
  • Orilissa: similar to Lupron Depot, Orilissa is a pill form chemotherapy treatment. 
  • Progesterone Cream: if estrogen levels are extremely high, your doctor may opt to try a progesterone cream in order to balance your hormone levels.
  • Acupuncture: an ancient Chinese practice involving the sticking of needles in specific body points to relieve pain and reduce endometrial growth. 
  • Pelvic Floor Therapy (PFT): physical therapy specifically for pelvic muscles. Pelvic floor therapy can assist with Endo symptoms like frequent urination, urgency, constipation, pain in the hips, and more.
  • Massage Therapy: thought to ease symptoms by either softly releasing adhesions sticking the uterine tissues together or by lessening stress that can intensify pain sensations and/or spark uterine spasms.

Before deciding on treatment, weigh your options and speak with your doctor.

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