Hormone Therapy as a Treatment for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a very common reproductive disorder that affects about one in ten women in the United States during their childbearing years. Unfortunately, the most common complaint when it comes to endometriosis is pain, which can have a serious impact on your quality of life. 

If you find yourself among the millions of women who struggle with endometriosis, hormone therapy may provide the perfect solution. At Advanced Endometriosis Center, as our name suggests, Ulas Bozdogan, MD, and our team understand the many ways that endometriosis can affect your life. 

As if the pain weren’t enough, endometriosis can also lead to difficulties with fertility, gastrointestinal issues, and irregular periods. To put an end to these symptoms and restore your quality of life, explore how hormone therapy may hold the key to solving your endometriosis issues.

Endometriosis 101

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines your uterus — called endometrial tissue — grows outside the uterus. In women with endometriosis, it often grows on the following places:

The problem with endometriosis is that this endometrial tissue behaves as if it were inside your uterus, thickening with your monthly cycles to prepare itself for receiving a fertilized egg. When that egg doesn’t arrive, your body attempts to shed the lining as it normally would — which is what creates your period — except with endometriosis, the tissue is trapped inside your pelvic region.

With no escape, this lining can cause adhesions to develop, which can affect the function of your ovaries and cause many of the symptoms outlined above. These symptoms are often worse when you have your period.

Treating endometriosis

The first thing to understand about endometriosis is that there’s no cure. Endometriosis typically resolves itself after your transition through menopause, but that could be years away, leaving you to try and figure out an interim solution.

Since the behavior of the problematic endometrial tissue is directly influenced by hormones, namely the estrogen hormones, we often recommend hormone therapy. Two of the ways we can do this are the following:

Regulate menstrual cycles

One of our first lines of defense is to regulate your menstrual cycles with different combinations of estrogen, progestin, and progesterone, which can shorten your periods and relieve your symptoms. To deliver these hormones, we turn to oral contraceptives (birth control pills) as well as intrauterine devices (IUDs), injections, and patches.

This type of hormone therapy suppresses endometriosis, which means your symptoms will return if you stop taking the hormones.

Prevent estrogen production

A more aggressive hormonal approach to endometriosis is to prevent your ovaries from producing estrogen, which can greatly reduce the activity in your endometrial tissue. Using gonadotropin-releasing hormone medicines, we essentially send your body into a menopausal state where you no longer have menstrual cycles. 

We typically recommend this treatment for no more than six months at a time so your body doesn’t begin to go into full-blown menopause, which can lead to bone loss, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.

If you’re tired of struggling with endometriosis, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Advanced Endometriosis Center today.

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