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Endometriosis: Treatments

 

Standard Medical Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis.  But that doesn't mean that the pain can't be controlled.  Treatment 

depends not only on the severity of your symptoms, but also on whether you intend to get pregnant.


If pregnancy isn't in your immediate future or you've had all the children you care to, then birth control pills may be a viable treatment.  This hormonal based treatment not only helps to alleviate the pain, but it also helps to shrink the endometrial tissue that's the source of the pain.  Not only that, but using birth control pills may also prevent the disorder from growing any worse.

 

In addition to birth control, your health care practitioner may also give you anti-inflammatory medicine to help reduce the inflammation, bleeding and the pain.

 

However, if this line of treatment doesn't work, then your health care practitioner may try other avenues of treatment.  She may recommend an even stronger hormonal base therapy. Following hormonal therapy, it's possible that your pain may return.  While this isn't always the case, the chances of it returning increase with the severity of the initial pain.

 

If this even stronger based hormone therapy doesn't relieve the pain, surgery may be recommended to remove the endometrial growths and the scar tissue.  Usually this is done with a surgical technique called a laparoscopy. 

 

In this procedure, a lighted viewing instrument, called the laparoscope, is inserted into a incision made in the lower abdomen right below the navel. This procedure seems to be only a temporary solution, though.  It relieves the pain for a year, perhaps two at most.  For nearly 20 percent of the women, though, this surgery proves ineffective.

 

In the most severe of cases, your health care practitioner may recommend either a hysterectomy or an oophorectomy.   Causing early menopause, this option is reserved for women who have no further pregnancy plans. However, even this isn't a guarantee that the pain will be alleviated.  Some 15 percent of women who undergo these surgical procedures still experience pain.

 

If you're attempting to get pregnant, then your treatment options become a little more complex.  For example, in the presence of severe pain and the intent to have children soon, the first choice of treatment is normally a laparoscopic surgery.  Your health care practitioner will use this procedure as an opportunity to examine your body for the lesions for removal. This improves the chances of getting pregnant.

 

If your case of endometriosis is linked to infertility, that doesn't mean that a pregnancy is totally out of the question. In vitro fertilization may be an option for you.

Dangers of Common Treatment of Endometriosis

 

Being a woman with endometriosis is frustrating at best, and painfully puzzling in many ways. 

 

For it appears that endometriosis remains a mystery for conventional medicine.  Treatment options are applied through a trial and error method at best and no option seems to be very effective for any length of time.

 

If that weren't bad enough, there are also inherent dangers in the hormonal treatment as well.  In fact, it almost appears that treating endometriosis is an instance where the ďcureĒ may be worse than the disease.

 

Women suffering with this disease have often been prescribed Lupron, a synthetic hormone that temporarily suppresses estrogen production through the ovaries.  But there are now some women have reported severe side effects from this drug.  They include a variety of serious cardiovascular disturbances including: arrhythmia, chest pain, and high blood pressure.  Other reported side effects include: dizziness, depression and general confusion, bone pain, debilitating fatigue, loss of vision and nausea. Whatís worse, some patients claim the side effects donít clear up completely even after the treatment has stopped.

 

Lupron, though, is not the only drug administered for endometriosis with a long list of potentially harsh side effects.  If your health care practitioner prescribes Zoladex, be aware that some of the side effects you may encounter affect your emotional, psychological and mental well being.  They include:  uncontrollable crying, as well as mood swings that are beyond your control.  You may also feel depressed for no reason and experience panic attacks (even without a history of this problem).  Some women who take Zoladex also say that they lose the ability to make decisions.  Some claim they actually lose their ability to feel emotions.  Another adverse effect of this drug is the potential of memory loss.

 

Synthetic steroids, which are often prescribed for this disorder, fare little better in this area.  Danazol is the brand name of the steroid most commonly prescribed.  Its aim is to eliminate the hormones FSH and LH association with the midcycle surge.  This, in effect, shuts down ovulation.  Administration of this steroid creates a high androgen and a low estrogen state.  While credited with triggering significant improvement in painful menstruation, and the pain associated with intercourse, the side effects seem to be more than what most women can bear.

 

Danazolís list of harsh side effects include fatigue, decreased breast size, the presence of extreme body hair, as well as weight gain, hot flashes and fatigue.  Some women may also experience acne and vaginal dryness.  And for all its harsh side effects, the steroid doesnít cure the endometriosis, it merely alleviates the symptoms.  Within six months of stopping the treatment, most women say their pain comes back.

 

Herbal treatments for endometriosis

 

Conventional medical science offers little in the way of either an explanation of the causes of endometriosis or in an effective treatment of this painful disorder.  You may want to consider a gentler, more natural way to relieve the pain and other symptoms associated with endometriosis.

 

To that end, there are many different herbs that could be used to help.  Considering that endometriosis is hormonal based, herbal treatments are available.  However, if you plan to use naturally based plants you need to know that this route may take several months for you to find a comfortable level of relief.

 

Many professional herbalists suggest a woman start with the vitex berry, which helps to balance the hormonal system.  This plant, which is native to the Mediterranean regions, is legendary in its treatment of disorders of the menstrual cycle. Science believes that the vitex berry is effective because it helps to regulate the pituitary gland, which is the master gland of the endocrine system.  The pituitary gland sends chemical messages to all the other glands regulating the amount of hormone secretion the body needs.

 

Recent shows that the essential oil of thise plant is responsible for these effects.  While you canít use it at the same time as you use birth control or other progesterone-like drugs, there are no known side affects associated with vitexís use. 

 

The cramp-like pains that so often accompany endometriosis can be helped with herbs as well. evening primrose oil is effective in this area as is ginger.  To help reduce the heavy bleeding, many professional herbalists recommend red raspberry.  It may also help to strengthen the uterus.

 

Another natural choice to help alleviate the excessive bleeding is horsetail.  Some professional natural care practitioners also believe that horsetail is an effective method of keeping scar tissue flexible. 

 

One theory on the cause of endometriosis hypothesizes that a weakened immune system is at the root cause of the health problem.  If that is the case, then it would certainly benefit anyone suffering with it to take Echinacea.  Long known to build an immune system, this natural remedy also helps in repairing connective tissues and fibers.

 

Another method at strengthening the immune system is through the use of castor oil packs.  These, according to natural care practitioners, can be an invaluable tool in the treatment of endometriosis.  While the exact mechanism of their effectiveness is unknown, a recent scientific study has shown that castor oil packs can, indeed, improve the function of the immune system in the pelvic area. 

 

You can make a castor oil pack simply by combining one-quarter cup of castor oil with 8 drops of lavender essential oil.  You pour this onto a soft cloth, fold the material and place it in a baking dish in an over set at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Your aim is to warm the cloth so as you place it over the affected area itís warm, but it wonít burn you.  Herbalists recommend you use the pack daily for up to an hour.  Rinse the area following its use.

 

 

If you are interested in using any of these herbs, consult with your personal natural health care provider before you use them.

 

 

 

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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