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Do you experience severe pain during periods that hinders your day to day activities? If you are suffering from endometriosis, birth control pills could have a role in treating your symptoms.

Endometriosis, in which the tissues that normally line your uterus grow outside of it as well, is frequently so painful that it has a tremendous negative impact on your quality of life. When endometriosis overshadows your work life, your social life, and your relationship because you're in pain all the time, you will be desperate to find a treatment that provides symptom relief. 

For those women who aren't trying to conceive and aren't concerned about how to get pregnant with endometriosis, that symptom relief could be a prescription away — the oral contraceptive pill has the potential to greatly reduce endometriosis-related pain.

What Is Endometriosis, And How Does It Impact Your Life?

Endometriosis is a disease where the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, grows in other parts of the reproductive system as well. The ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, and even your abdominal cavity can all be affected. Since the endometrium typically waxes and wanes with the menstrual cycle, that is true for the tissues that grow outside your womb as well. The endometrium in your uterus is expelled during menstruation, but the "ectopic tissues" that grow elsewhere do not always have a place to go, however. This leads to pain and discomfort. [2]

Endometriosis can also lead to painful sexual intercourse, called dyspareuniaThis can put a strain on your relationship and sex life, and make it hard to get pregnant. [3]

Between the pain and worries about how to get pregnant with endometriosis, it is no surprise that endometriosis often leads to depression and anxiety. Women who suffer from endometriosis sometimes require therapy in addition to physical treatment to relieve there symptoms. [4]

Birth control pills are frequently recommended to patients suffering from endometriosis, because the same hormones that "orchestrate" the normal menstrual cycle control the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. [5

What Are Birth Control Pills?

Birth control pills for endometriosis are the same contraceptive drugs that women use for family planning purposes. These pills contain hormones like estrogen and progesterone. [6] There are different types of birth control pills on the market. 

How Do Birth Control Pills Work?

Birth control pills contain estrogen and progesterone, the two main hormones that control the growth of the endometrium. Estrogen suppresses ovulation and prevents conception. Progesterone inhibits the endometrial proliferation that occurs during the menstrual cycle. [7]

Birth control pills may contain either only progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone, or estrogen and progesterone combined. So these pills not only help with contraception but are a treatment option for endometriosis too.

What Is The Dosage Of Birth Control Pills For Endometriosis?

Standard combined oral contraceptive pills (COCP) are used for the purpose of managing endometriosis. The dosage is the same as for contraceptive purposes.

When you are taking the pill to prevent pregnancy, you would usually use one pill per day for 21 days, followed by a pill-free period when menstrual bleeding occurs. Those women who use the combined oral contraceptive pill for endometriosis treatment, on the other hand, typically take the pill throughout the month. It thus helps to decrease blood flow and pain. Progestin pills are also used in the same manner throughout the month.

How Is The Pill Chosen?

Combined oral contraceptive pills (COCP) and progesterone only pills are two major options to choose from. 

Combined oral contraceptive pills are contraindicated in women with deep venous thrombosis (DVT), heart problems, liver issues, drug allergy, in the case of an estrogen-dependent tumor, or a history of stroke. In such cases, progesterone only drugs are used. [8]

Do Birth Control Pills Help With Endometriosis?

Birth control pills are not a long-term cure for endometriosis. What they do provide is symptom relief that lasts as long as you continue to use the pill. Because symptoms can return during the pill's placebo period, women with endometriosis are advised to use the pill throughout the month. 

The symptoms controlled by birth control pills include pain and heavy menstrual flow. [9

What Are The Side Effects Of Contraceptive Pills?

Are you wondering how to get pregnant with endometriosis? Between 30 and 50 percent of women with endometriosis suffer from infertility, and while endometriosis and infertility often go hand in hand [1], taking the birth control pill actively prevents contraception. In those women who would ideally like to conceive but who take the birth control pill because they desperately want to be free from endometriosis symptoms, the inability to get pregnant is the main "side effect" of using contraceptive pills. 

Other side effects include spotting between periods, nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, headaches, weight gain, mood swings, irregular periods, decreased libido, vaginal discharge, and visual changes with contact lenses. [120]

You cannot use birth control pills if you have a history of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, diseased liver, any hormone dependent neoplasia, vaginal bleeding, congenital hyperlipidemia, or are currently pregnant. [11]

There are some relative minor contraindications as well. These are hypertension, migraine, epilepsy, varicose veins, diabetes, uterine leiomyomas, age over 35, and elective surgery.

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