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4 Myths about Endometriosis and Hormones

From the Endometriosis Articles List

I have been diagnosed with endometriosis. What do I need to know about hormones and endometriosis?I have been diagnosed with endometriosis. What do I need to know about hormones and endometriosis?

There can be a lot of controversy surrounding the topic of endometriosis and hormones, particularly estrogen. Estrogen is the fuel for endometriosis, and thus is often withheld from women with an endometriosis diagnosis. Unfortunately, no estrogen does not mean no endometriosis while an oophorectomy can also open the door to some new health risks.

How extensive your endometriosis is could play a role in whether or not estrogen will be an issue for you. Superficial endometriosis lesions may not as affected by estrogen, while invasive endometriosis may continue to be symptomatic with or without estrogen.

For some women, progesterone or progestin can be effective for managing endometriosis symptoms, while for others it is less effective. Drugs and medications to manipulate or eliminate hormones also have mixed results for women with endometriosis.

Here are four myths about endometriosis and hormones you can discuss with your doctor as you make treatment choices for your endometriosis diagnosis.

1. Without ovaries, I will have no hormones so I won’t have to worry about endometriosis.

While the ovaries produce the majority of the body’s estrogen, there are a number of ways that estrogen can be introduced to the body. This can happen through dietary conversion, supplements and foods with phytoestrogens, the fat cells producing and storing estrogen, and even endometriosis itself creating estrogen. Regardless, those means of having estrogen may not be effective for controlling or minimizing the symptoms and health risks associated with surgical menopause. Although having an oophorectomy may be right for you, it is not a cure for endometriosis and it could cause new oophorectomy related health concerns.

2. Since I have endometriosis, I cannot use hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Although estrogen is the fuel for endometriosis, it is possible for some women with an endometriosis diagnosis to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Using a combination of both estrogen and progesterone may be recommended along with using a low dose of estrogen. Having as much endometriosis removed as possible prior to using HRT is wise, and women with less invasive endometriosis may have more success with HRT without it affecting any remaining endometriosis.

3. If I am going to use HRT, I need to wait a space of time to allow the remaining endometriosis to disappear.

Some physicians believe that depriving endometriosis of estrogen for a time could cause those lesions to dry up, die off, and essentially disappear. Other physicians, however, state that the endometriosis doesn’t actually disappear, so once estrogen is reintroduced the implants plump right back up again. If you have superficial endometriosis, there may be no need to withhold estrogen as this type of implant is less likely to be affected by the estrogen replacement. If you have more invasive endometriosis, it may be symptomatic whether or not you use any estrogen replacement, so, again, with holding HRT for a time may be ineffective while causing you to experience miserable menopause symptoms and health risks.

4. There are hormonal cures for endometriosis.

While hormonal treatment options don't cure endometriosis, they can treat it. While using various hormonal treatments, endometriosis symptoms may decrease, the lesions could shrink, and overall a woman could feel better. As many hormonal treatments come with long term risks, most cannot be used indefinitely and many can only be used for a short space of time. Because treatments do not eradicate the implants, once the treatments stop the endometriosis can once again become symptomatic.

Finding an Endometriosis Specialist

It can be very helpful to find an endometriosis specialist who can work with you regarding your endometriosis diagnosis. Their knowledge and experiences with endometriosis can be beneficial for treating your endometriosis and addressing any resulting hormonal needs.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-18-2014 - 01:42 PM


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