Endometriosis and oral contraceptives: do they help?

Endometriosis and oral contraceptives: do they help?

Our investigative team found this resource that summarizes the role of oral contraceptives in managing endometriosis.  Minimally invasive surgery is still a cornerstone, but especially with related adenomyosis, assuming a hysterectomy is not an option because fertility is desired, medical treatment is required for control of symptoms. Birth control pills do have a role, but there are limits that you should know about.  

  • Birth control can help manage some of the endometriosis symptoms, such as pain and heavy bleeding.
  • Estrogen-progesterone birth control pills are considered to be the best means of treating endometriosis.
  • Hormonal birth control can reduce pain, but it cannot treat endometriosis itself.

“There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are ways to treat symptoms like birth control,” said Benjamin Todd Thatcher, DO, and chief medical officer of Valley Behavioral Health. “Birth control pills often reduce the menstrual cramps and pelvic pain that can be associated with endometriosis.”

While birth control is a popular option for managing pain among people with endometriosis, it may not be the best long-term or even short-term treatment tool depending on your specific situation. In some cases, other medications or surgical treatments may be required.

For example, birth control can help manage pain if you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis or if you have one or more symptoms associated with the disease, including, but not limited to, dysmenorrhea (painful periods), painful intercourse, or painful bowel movements or urination.

While hormonal birth control doesn’t stop endometriosis from growing, it suppresses it. This is because hormonal contraceptives inhibit ovulation and lower the level of estrogen in the body.

While birth control isn’t always the best treatment option, it does exist and is a viable option for treating pain associated with endometriosis. Depending on the person, birth control can be a successful way to manage endometriosis symptoms.

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We are at the forefront of minimally invasive robotic surgery for endometriosis excision and integrative support. Please contact Dr. Steve Vasilev MD and our center in Southern California if you need help, especially for advanced endo excision.

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“I help and guide women to beat endometriosis and gynecologic cancers that are associated with endo, like ovarian cancer, using a unique combination of minimally invasive robotic surgery, precision medicine therapies and complementary holistic natural support towards thriving in survivorship." Dr. Vasilev is the only physician triple board certified in Ob-Gyn, Gynecologic Oncology and Integrative & Holistic Medicine in the United States. He is an accomplished advanced robotic master surgeon, and is internationally vetted by iCareBetter (https://icarebetter.com/doctor/dr-steven-vasilev/). He serves as Professor at the world-renowned Saint John's Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California and is Clinical Professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He is former faculty and professor at UC Irvine, UCLA, USC and City of Hope and was the founding Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Providence Saint John's Health Center. He is an active member of multiple medical societies and has been nationally listed in "Best Doctors" for over 20 years.