What is endometriosis?
In every woman with uterus, a thin lining grows inside of it called the endometrial layer. This grows through the month and sheds during the menstrual bleeding if the woman doesn’t get pregnant. In some women (around 10%), the endometrial layer grows outside of the uterus resulting in severe pain during periods, fertility problems etc. This condition is called Endometriosis.
Symptoms of endometriosis:
- Fertility problems – problem getting pregnant
- Heavy periods associated with severe abdominal pain
- Pain after having sex
- Discomfort passing stools
- Lower back pain
Learn more about Endometriosis – causes, symptoms and treatment
How does Mirena help in treating endometriosis?
In order to understand that, you need to know that the hormones produced by the ovaries, estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the growth of endometrial layer. When there is an imbalance of these hormones, endometriosis occurs.
Mirena is a hormonal contraceptive that produces these hormones effectively slowing down the growth of endometrial layer. This acts as a birth control device too. Mirena also helps in easing pelvic inflammation and also control (reduce) menstrual bleeding.
Benefits of using Mirena for endometriosis
- You don’t need to be on everyday pill or shot.
- Insert once and forget for about 5 years, depending on how long the device can be effective.
- The device also works like birth control device
- Helps in managing symptoms of endometriosis.
Side effects of Mirena
Like with any other treatment, Mirena has got it’s own side effects but the benefits obviously outweigh the negative effects of Mirena. After Mirena is inserted and as it starts producing hormones, the person may have:
- Tender breasts
- Irregular or no periods
- Heavier menstrual bleeding in the initial months
- Mood swings
- Pelvic pain and cramping
- Weight gain
- Pain in lower back
Perforation of the uterine tissue (causing a hole in uterine tissue) may also occur but this is a very rare side effect.
Can everyone with endometriosis use Mirena?
Your gynecologist will be the right person to decide if Mirena is right for you. Depending on your health conditions such as a history of Sexually Transmitted Infections, PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) or Cancer of cervix or other reproductive organs, Mirena may not be the right choice.
In such cases, your doctor may decide a different technique to get the artificial hormones into your body.
Alternative options for Mirena to control symptoms of endometriosis
- Birth control pills that produce estrogen and/or progesterone.
- Progestin only pills or injections. One pill for every 3 months and a mini pill everyday or injections/shots of progestin.
- Hormone patches that are stuck to your skin and release the hormones every day that are absorbed by the body
- Vaginal rings that are inserted in the vagina
- Ganodotropin releasing hormone agonists – they stop hormone production (resulting in less growth of endometrial layer). This will take your body to a ‘temporary menopause’ state.
- Danazol – a drug that prevents release of hormones during menstrual cycle
Treatment options for endometriosis other than Mirena and other hormone releasing sources
- Pain killers – These can only manage the pain caused due to endometriosis
- Laparoscopy – Laparoscopy is a technique in which small incisions are made in the abdomen area and the endometrial layer is removed from the wrong places. This is relatively painless procedure that heals quickly with minimal blood loss.
- Laparotomy – In severe cases of endometriosis, your gynecologist may decide to remove the uterus and the ovaries.
If you are suffering from heavy periods and pain before and even after the menstrual bleeding, please contact a good gynecologist near you. Almost every condition is treatable or the symptoms can be managed so that you have a good quality of life. Don’t hesitate thinking that you are alone in this world with endometriosis, at least 10% of the women have this condition.