Treating Endometriosis

The Best Western Options Aren't Great

By Paul J.O'Brien B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Adv. Dip. OBB, Cert Clin. Med, Cert.CHM, Pn1, PN-SSR, PN-NCA, M.AFPA, M.ETCMA, M.C.Th.A.

Treating Endometriosis is not wonderfully successful within Western Medicine. At best they can suspend endometriosis. They have just a few options: 

  1. Surgery
  2. Drugs
  3. IVF
  4. A hysterectomy

I'll explain these "options" in detail.

Treating Endometriosis - Surgery

Generally the first approach of western Medicine is surgery. This surgery is usually done with a laser or via diathermy (electrically induced heat to burn off endometrial tissue). Treating Endometriosis this way is done to remove the severe types of endometriosis such as the chocolate cyst type. If this is successfully removed from key areas like the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and *if* this was the only cause of infertility, then the chances of natural conception rise dramatically. 

However, this is rarely the case. 

Mild endometriosis such as the pink or non-pigmented kind may still be present. Surgery is far less successful in dealing with this, as they can't find and remove all those lesions. Those lesions then continue to secret mucus that prevents conception and pregnancy.

Another factor that must be considered before surgery is that in some cases the removal of endometrial tissue can damage ovarian tissue and reduce ovarian reserve (1), lowering your chances of conception and shortening the window of fertility. 

And endometriosis is rarely the only problem preventing pregnancy. 

Treating Endometriosis - Drugs

GnRH Side EffectsGnRH Side Effects

Treating Endometriosis with multiple drug regimens that are proving popular in many fertility clinics, though I confess I am NOT a fan of these for the most part. I'll explain why in a moment. First though, let's look at the meds they prescribe and why. 

The goal of all these medications is to prevent ovulation and the release of hormones of a normal menstrual cycle.  As such they prescribe drugs that mimic the effect of pregnancy in your body. For example, Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) or Duphaston (dydrogesterone). 

Sometimes treating Endometriosis will go so far as to induce MENOPAUSE! Well, temporarily at any rate.

This is done through increasing testosterone based chemicals in your body via medications like Danocrine, Danazol or gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) drugs such as Zoladex (goserelin) or Synarel (nafarelin). Or they'll just put you on a constant, continuous run of the oral contraceptive pill. 

Regardless of their method - the end goal is the same. Your menstrual cycle - and your ability to get pregnant - stops. The thinking here being your endometriosis will be "starved" and die out. 

Women are often put on these meds for 3-9 months and it is not pretty. Most women do not tolerate these drugs well, leading to a host of unpleasant side effects including:

Danocrine & Danazol Endometriosis Drug Side Effects (2)

  • sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), confusion, problems with speech or balance;
  • severe headache, ringing in your ears, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, vision problems, pain behind your eyes;
  • chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood;
  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs;
  • swelling or rapid weight gain, especially in your face and midsection;
  • bloody, black, or tarry stools;
  • cough up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; or
  • upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-coloured stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). 
  • acne or other skin problems, increased sweating;
  • increased hair growth or hair loss;
  • breast changes;
  • decreased amount of semen released during sex;
  • hoarse or deepened voice, sore throat;
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
  • changes in your menstrual periods;
  • unusual vaginal bleeding or spotting;
  • vaginal dryness, discomfort, or itching.

Zoladex  Endometriosis Drug Side Effects (3)

  • back pain, severe numbness or tingling in your legs or feet;
  • muscle weakness, problems with balance or coordination;
  • loss of bladder or bowel control;
  • urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • blood in your urine or stools;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • trouble breathing;
  • pale skin, easy bruising;
  • nausea, loss of appetite, increased thirst, muscle weakness, confusion, and feeling tired or restless;
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss);
  • sudden numbness or weakness, sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision or speech; or
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling.
  • hot flashes, sweating, headache, dizziness;
  • mood changes, increased or decreased interest in sex;
  • vaginal dryness, itching, or discharge;
  • breast swelling or tenderness;
  • bone pain;
  • diarrhea, constipation;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • acne, mild skin rash or itching.

Synarel Endometriosis Drug Side Effects (4)

  • heavy or continued menstrual bleeding;
  • pelvic pain or swelling;
  • increased thirst, increased urination;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance; or
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • changes in breast size;
  • oily skin or acne, increased body odor;
  • dandruff;
  • increase in pubic hair growth;
  • mood changes;
  • runny nose;
  • hot flashes;
  • mild headache, muscle pain;
  • light and occasional menstrual bleeding;
  • white or brownish vaginal discharge;
  • vaginal dryness; or
  • changes in sexual desire.

 That's not a nice list, treating Endometriosis can cause loss of muscle control, to peeing yourself and seizures and bad mood.

For months. You can see why I'm not a fan. Particularly when there are natural methods of treatment that have a "total effective rate ('cured', 'significantly effective' or 'effective') of 91.9%". (5)

Further, I would also add that the Cochrane review found that ovulation-suppressing medications such as Danazol, progestins, the oral contraceptive pill and GnRH agonists produced no beneficial results in infertile women and delayed live births

In the next article I'll continue the options for treating Endometriosis with the role of IVF...

Your Next Best Step to Eliminate Endometriosis...

If you want to go to the next level of detail and look at in-depth self-treatment, you should check out Before IVF: Everything You Need to Know ABout IVF. How it works, why it doesn't and what you can do to ensure your IVF Success. Written from a holistic viewpoint I go into greater detail about what causes Endometriosis, how to prevent, diagnose the different types and understand your body and your health. More than that I'll walk you through, step by step on how to diagnose the exact type of endometriosis you have, how it will affect your fertility - but, most importantly, what to about it! Packed with pressure point exercises, self massage techniques, foods, recipe guides and more, this is the best way to avoid IVF and get pregnant with Endometriosis, naturally. 

If you’re trying for a family or dealing with Endometriosis and want to eliminate those symptoms and give each cycle your best the best possible shot of success and dramatically improve your fertility and reproductive health, to have a happy healthy baby, then …

  1. Download my Free "9 Reasons You Can't Get Pregnant" Guide to learn more about what complications may be present and what you can do to fix them! (I cover Endometriosis here!)
  2. Subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date with the new articles, how to guides, fertility recipes and more.
  3. Get Your Copy of "Before IVF: How it works, why it doesn’t and what you can do to Ensure Your IVF Success!". Over 430 pages, this guide provides answers to every question you could ask about fertility and how to maximise your reproductive health. It will help you beat the numbers in IVF and better still may help you conceive without ever having to go through IVF! Including how to get pregnant with Endometriosis!
  4. Contact me with your particular questions and concerns and I'll do my best to help. :-)

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(1) Somigliana E,Berlanda N, Benaglia L, et al. Surgical excision of endometriosis and ovarian reserve: a systematic review on serum anti-Mullerian hormone level modifications. Fertil Steril 2012;98:1531-8.




(5)  Zhu, Xiaoshu, Kindreth D. Hamilton, and Ewan D. McNicol. "Acupuncture for pain in endometriosis." Sao Paulo Medical Journal 131, no. 6 (2013): 439-439.

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