I’ve been advised that once my Lupron Depot treatments are concluded in January, I will be starting a continuous birth control pill. This is in the hopes to continue to suppress my monthly period, and theoretically my Endometriosis symptoms. Endometriosis is “fed” by our Estrogen levels. Doctors may not know what causes Endo, but they mostly agree that it feeds and reacts to our Estrogen levels, as well as the influence of xenoestrogens (environmental estrogens).
But How & Why is it expected to work? I totally like to know the science behind things…
Estrogen is a naturally-occurring group of hormones (referred to as Estrogenic hormones) and is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and fat tissues. It cruises around in our blood stream, binding to certain receptors, which effect our breasts, uterus, liver, brain, bone, and other tissue. It controls the uterine lining growth, breast growth, bone growth, cholesterol levels, and other metabolic functions. It also helps prevent bone loss, along with healthy doses of Calcium and Vitamin D, and keeps our vaginal bits moist and happy, and our vaginal lining thick and healthy.
A decline in Estrogen levels can bring on symptoms of menopause: night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, migraines, and ultimately a halt of your monthly cycle.
Lupron Depot is a medication that blocks certain signals from our brain so that our ovaries stop making Estrogen. Our bodies then go into menopause, but it is temporary and chemically induced. I am currently undergoing Lupron Depot injections for my Endometriosis. I’m now in Month 3 (out of 6) and I am finally pain and period-free. The side effects of the drug sucks, but at least now I have a better understanding of why my body is going through what it is going through.
I had no idea Estrogen was so…important…
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are usually a combination of estrogen and progesterone hormones. This combination generally maintains hormone levels, preventing ovulation, altering the uterine lining, and preventing pregnancy. You take the pill each day, until the last week. During that last week, it’s usually a sugar (or placebo) pill. The change in the pill allows your period to start. However, those of us who may be taking continuous birth control pills will not have our periods (we either do not take the placebo pill, or simply do not have the placebo pill).
A 2017 study found that progestin-only pills may be a better option for women with Endometriosis. Feel free to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of a progestin-ony option.
Endometriosis & The Pill
The pill does not cure Endometriosis. Remember, there is no cure (yet). The pill maintains our estrogen levels, hopefully slowing (or even stopping) the growth and progress of the implants and adhesions. It also suppresses our periods, if you go on a continuous pill. If you go on the regular pill, it is said that it severely alleviates the painful symptoms of menopause.
My last Lupron Depot injection was January 15, 2015. After speaking with him regarding various options, I chose a continuous birth control pill and was on it for 18 months. I only had my period four times during those months, and it was glorious! Unfortunately, my pain returned in early 2016, and my Endometriosis had returned, requiring a second excision surgery in September. Since BCP did nothing to keep my Endometriosis at bay, I’ve opted to not start another regimen. So far I’ve been mostly pain-free since my September surgery *knocks on wood*.
Have your own experiences to share regarding Endo & The Pill? Drop a comment below! And did it work in controlling your symptoms?
** Updated February 16, 2017 **
Fertility & Sterility (2017, Abstract) Progestin-Only Pills May Be a Better First-Line Treatment for Endometriosis than Combined Estrogen-Progestin Contraceptive Pills
*I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa