The Pros and Cons of Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Guest Post by Melissa Turner
I often feel like I have been a guinea pig for the various treatment options for endometriosis, after having lived with and knowing endometriosis for more than 20 years. I was desperate to find relief and wanted to really do the best I could for my body and to limit the spreading of endometriosis. So, I tried just about all of them! I stuck things inside my vagina, under my skin, took a variety tablets, sprayed stuff up my nose and practically found any entry point I could. My body became a gateway for anything that promised a hint of relief from the endless pain I was enduring.
Initially those things included conventional approaches, but as my journey unfolded, I started to explore natural approaches too.
Today, I want to share some of the pros and cons of the various treatment options that exist for endometriosis, to help you navigate what would be a good fit for you.
This is usually the most common place for many of us to start. Sadly, endometriosis cannot be diagnosed without surgery, and it is often needed to establish exactly what is going on for you within your body. I am not opposed to surgery if you are unsure about whether you have endometriosis and are living in excruciating pain every single day. There may be serious things going on inside your body which could be impacting other organs. It is a necessary evil in some cases.
What I am opposed to, is when surgery is used as a form of treatment for endometriosis. The main reason for this is that I went through 7 operations and those operations were largely used to simply “clean out” the endometriosis. They didn’t resolve anything and the endometriosis simply grew back again. Surgery can never rectify the imbalances that are going on inside your body.
There are many websites and surgeons who promote excision surgery and claim that this the only form of surgery women with endometriosis should have and that by using this form of surgery, the endometriosis is completely removed and doesn’t come back. This is simply not the case. I have worked with many women from around the world who have been treated by these top surgeons and the endometriosis has still come back. There may be cases where endometriosis has not returned but these surgeons are charging $10,000+ for these surgeries and don’t offer any kind of guarantee.
The pros to surgery would include a sense of knowing what is going on within your body. This can often put you at ease as you are now fully aware that what you are experiencing is not in your head. Some women experience terrible pain but have limited endometriosis lesions, while other women have little pain but have more extensive endometriosis lesions. Knowing what you are dealing with is often better than the not knowing. You may have organs stuck together which could be impacting your health and in this case, surgery may be your only option. It is important to really evaluate the expertise of your surgeon.
The real con to surgery is that it really doesn’t resolve endometriosis and that there are many risks with going into surgery. You are putting your body under extreme stress and there is often a lengthy recovery time after surgery. Inevitably you will also need to take anti-biotics and pain-killers to get through the operation healing time, which will throw out your natural gut flora and affect your immune health.
*I have had many women reach out to me, who endured terrible problems from having surgery, so it is imperative to choose your surgeon wisely.
These come in a variety of different forms and include things like Mirena Coil, Lupron, GnRH Agonists, the Contraceptive Pill, Nuvaring and Danazol. The idea is to stop the menstrual cycle or reduce oestrogen production. By reducing the natural female cycle, we are able to reduce the release of oestrogen and heavy menstruation which has been associated as a trigger for endometriosis growth. I explored over 8 different types of these treatments and spent a huge part of my 20’s and 30’s trying to simply find something that didn’t give me a heap of side-effects.
To be honest, I seldom find any real pros to using hormone treatments. Whatever is going on inside your body, it needs to be dealt with holistically. Whether you are bleeding heavily, have acne, have period pain, have PMS or are using them to deal with endometriosis, you need to find the root cause of treating those. Hormone treatments don’t treat endometriosis or any other associated symptoms. Hormone treatments simply mask the symptoms and try and try to control them. The minute you come off these treatments, all your symptoms are likely to return, leaving you no better off.
The biggest con with hormone treatments is that they are synthetic and affect all sorts of body function at the same time. They don’t belong in your body and that will have an impact on your health and your ability to properly manage endometriosis.
Our liver health is a key component in managing endometriosis naturally. Hormone treatments add more workload to the liver and have an impact on a host of other elements within our body. One of the key ways synthetic hormones impact our health is by altering the acidity level of the gut. This in turn limits vital mineral and vitamin absorption like B vitamins, zinc and selenium.
It is also dangerous to switch off oestrogen production within the body. Oestrogen is a vital hormone which women need to maintain good bone health, is needed for fertility, ensures a healthy sex drive and also maintains healthy levels of serotonin. It also plays a vital role in protecting against heart disease, Alzheimer’s, colon cancer, incontinence and dental health. Without it, we are likely to feel depressed, sleep deprived and low on energy.
To read more about hormone treatments and their associated risks, along with some thoroughly researched data, download my Informed Consent Guide.
Yes, this is a treatment option often recommended for endometriosis! Take more pain-killers because there is nothing further that can be recommended. Obviously, this does not treat endometriosis but merely masks the symptom of pain that you are experiencing. Pain is a signal that something is not right and your body shouting out for help!
We don’t need more pain-killers! What we need is some real guidance on how to understand the body and nurture it back to health.
The only pro I can think of is that pain-killers give us some relief and help us get through the day.
The cons however are massive! Every single time we take a pain-killer, we are adding more toxins to the body, the liver and altering the natural balance of our gut health. Our gut is our key immune defense area and when it is compromised, then we will struggle to ever return to a place of true wellness. They can be the cause for stomach burning, gut dysbiosis and even affect our mental health and well-being.
There are natural alternatives to pain relief for endometriosis. Check out my previous article here.
The Holistic Approach
I never got it. I didn’t understand how diet and lifestyle choices could make any difference to my endometriosis. The only reason I even considered it was because I had really exhausted every other avenue, and after my 7th operation, I was emotionally and physically drained from it all.
What I can tell you is that I no longer experience pain with having endometriosis anymore. I don’t get the period pain, the pain during intercourse, or any of it! See, it works a little differently than some of the other treatments you have been reading about. When we approach the body holistically, we are not specifically using diet or supplements or any other element to treat endometriosis. Instead, we are providing the perfect environment for the body and it then does the healing. It is a completely different approach and takes a bit of a mindset shift to really appreciate. I know it took me years to really get the difference!
The con with this approach is that it takes time. It requires you to take responsibility of your health and take back the reins on how you are treating your body. All those imbalances need to be corrected, and since you have inevitably had them for quite some time, it is likely that it will also take time to bring your body back to balance.
The pros are that you will finally have some power over your health and you will feel healthy ALL OVER. You won’t be treating just one thing but will be treating every single thing within your body in one hit! See, when we approach the body holistically, we consider all the organs, all the elements and really provide for the body on every level.
How does it work?
We take look at all the aspects within our lives that we can influence to lean them towards better choices. So, we choose a healthier more nourishing diet, exercising and moving our body, getting rid of stress and negativity in our lives and cleansing out toxins which are creating imbalances. We do all of this with real support and guidance from others so we are not isolated, stuck or alone. This provides an environment where your body feels happier. It is nurtured and nourished on every level. It has the things that it needs. Once the body has this perfect environment, it will naturally feel stronger and fitter to heal and be well.
It sounds simple but for many of us, we have forgotten how to truly nourish our bodies with the right food choices. We may be exercising in a way that doesn’t support the natural female cycle. We may not be fully aware of what is creating stress for us or how to minimize it, or we may simply be overloaded with toxins that we can’t flush out.
This is why I developed a simple free Kickstarter Program for women with endometriosis to begin using a holistic approach to managing their endometriosis. I want you to explore this option with me as I know it is ultimately where I found relief, and I know it can provide you and many more women with endometriosis with relief too.
My approach to managing endometriosis is quite different from many of the conventional treatments out there. I approach our bodies with a technique I developed over the last 5 years, called the REACH Technique©. It focuses on rebalancing your body and ensuring that you provide it with the best means to be healthy again. I have seen women successfully reduce their pain and associated symptoms with endometriosis and go on to have beautiful babies, thriving careers, and really happy fulfilled lives.
Melissa Turner is an expert on endometriosis and women’s health. She is incredibly passionate about changing the lives of women with endometriosis and is tired of women being restricted by the condition. She knows there are more beneficial ways to treat the condition beyond surgery, hormone treatments, and pain-killers. Having overcome stage 4 endometriosis, she is a guiding light for women with endometriosis who are keen to use a more natural and holistic approach.
You can find out more about Melissa and her work on her website: www.endoempowered.com