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A Pain You Can't Ignore: Endometriosis

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Treatment Options for Endometriosis

Beyond regular physical activity, endometriosis treatment depends on how aggressive the condition is. Doctors often suggest ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Naproxen for women with mild cramps. Also, "hormones that suppress ovarian function are highly effective" for severe cases, says Beth Rackow, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. Extended-cycle or continuous hormonal birth control options can reduce the number of periods and are often prescribed. Other doctors recommend aromatase inhibitors, generally used to treat breast and ovarian cancer. "These drugs suppress aromatase, an enzyme your body produces that promotes more potent estrogens, which contributes to endometriosis," explains Ken Sinervo, MD, a surgeon at the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta and an expert in the field of advanced laparoscopic excision. "Limiting aromatase production in the body with drugs like Letrozole temporarily suppresses endometrial growth," he adds. Natural progesterone creams and the Mirena IUD are often prescribed, as are drugs like Lupron, which send the body into a menopause-like state for six-month periods.

In the do-it-yourself realm, dietary adjustments may make a big difference. Resveratrol in wine may reduce the growth of endometriosis, according to a 2009 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists study. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, so eating salmon and other fatty fish that contain them is key. Researchers believe the lycopene in tomatoes may stop the production of proteins that contribute to endometrial adhesions, and some studies suggest that flavones in celery and parsley can inhibit aromatase. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy contain compounds called indoles, which might improve the body's ability to moderate estrogen levels, and flaxseeds are high in lignans and fiber, which studies show may also ease estrogen-related conditions. What to avoid? Red meat: Women who ate it at least daily had twice the risk for endometriosis as those who ate three or fewer servings per week, according to research done at the University of Milan. Some experts attribute the link to the high levels of PCBs that can accumulate in animal fat via contaminated feed, which in turn may trigger symptoms by altering hormone functions and the immune system.

This is the place I now find myself, after finally being diagnosed and treated. Scott and I are trying for a baby, with the bonus that pregnancy may suppress my endometriosis symptoms. In the meantime, I continue to exercise, see an acupuncturist, and follow an anti-inflammation diet to manage my condition. I'm also eating plenty of Thai food again -- bring on the salmon and bok choy!

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L2h9c10 wrote:

For the 6 years before I was diagnosed I had been running a lot and had built up to doing marathons and started training for an ultra marathon. I am sure that the training I was doing was right. However, whilst exercise does help and has to be a positive, lay off during the period itself. I am convinced that retrograde menses through the fallopian tubes and into the abdominal cavity is increased with long high intensity sport during your period.

5/1/2014 10:32:29 AM Report Abuse
gapgirl2981 wrote:

Wow! I wish I could say the sentence below was true for me,I suffered Excrutiating pain due to my endometriosis after running, so bad that I was passed out on my yoga mat unable to finish the workout, I would take extreme caution when excersing. " the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that high-intensity workouts, such as running, biking, and playing tennis, three or more times a week slashed endometriosis risk by 76 percent.."

11/9/2012 06:14:25 PM Report Abuse
stbowen0079 wrote:

I was just diagnosed with endometritis. I have only ever had mild cramps, three weeks ago I awoke, could barely walk. A few days later,could't walk. I do not know if this is a correct diagnosis, but I do know, three weeks I feel as if someone is reaching up and is trying to pull my uterus out by their bear hands. I go in for a second opinion in a few days and pray for anyone who has gone though this for more than a month, you are blessed with a greater threashold than I.

9/25/2012 11:00:50 PM Report Abuse
Krissy916 wrote:

A year ago I had laproscopic surgery due to painful periods & discovered that I have endometriosis. My uterus was bound to my bowels & I had extensive scarring. I'm 26 & recently married. Praying that this will not affect our ability to conceive. I am being treated by seasonal birth control, but hope to come off them soon to start TTC. I still experience intense pain during my periods. Often getting sick or feeling like I may pass out. I have never had the system of painful intercourse.

5/1/2012 02:15:44 PM Report Abuse
alweil wrote:

i am 70 now, 10 yrs ago i had a hysterectomy after spotting and ultrasound, my doc of 15 yrs said somethings wrong and i had the surgery & then finding out that i had endometriosis and probably had it for many yrs, i started my periods at 12 and it was hell from then on for me, docs thenjust said take aspirin, i was so sick and could not stay in school on those days

10/29/2009 12:49:23 AM Report Abuse

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