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Natural Alternatives to Birth Control for Endometriosis

Natural Alternatives to Birth Control for Endometriosis

Hormonal birth control is one of the most popular “go to” medical approaches to treat endometriosis. Regularly used to fight symptoms like pain and long cycles, hormonal birth control helps some women with endometriosis, but produces mixed results, or doesn’t help others.

Additionally, birth control poses clear conflicts for women who want to work on their fertility! Is birth control really the best approach for women with endometriosis? This article shares natural alternatives to consider if birth control is not right for you, or if you want to pursue more natural therapies to ease endometriosis symptoms and work on your fertility.

How Does Birth Control Work For Endometriosis?

Hormonal birth control attempts to ease endometriosis symptoms by increasing progesterone levels and replacing the natural cycle with a breakthrough bleed. Yet, not all women with endometriosis experience relief with birth control. For some, the cycle continues with unpredictable bleeding, spotting, or pain. Women may also suffer side effects like moodiness, bloating, or fatigue.

Moreover, birth control suppresses normal ovulation, restricting any opportunity for conception for women who want to conceive. For women looking for alternatives, a better option might be addressing endometriosis triggers while using natural therapies to help calm flare ups and symptoms.

Natural Alternatives For Endometriosis Relief

We have talked about endometriosis, diet, and lifestyle on Natural Fertility Info many times, but it bears repeating. Many women with endometriosis we work with feel much better after making dietary and lifestyle changes.

1. Eating a plant-based diet. The Fertility Diet can help ease symptoms for many women. Avoid non-organic foods, especially meat and dairy. These foods usually contain hormones and chemicals that worsen symptoms like painful periods and excess estrogen.

2. Eliminate triggers like gluten, corn, refined carbohydrates, and sugar. All of these foods imbalance the immune response, ignite inflammation and free radical activity- all of which are already heightened in women with endometriosis.

3. Review your personal care products and cleaning supplies. Xenoestrogens in these products may wreak havoc on an already challenged hormonal system. Instead, use natural personal care and cleaning products that are labelled “paraben-free and phthalate-free”.

4. Utilize Herbs!

  • Try a formula with Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis), Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) to encourage normal hormone balance and reproductive circulation. A formula like Women’s Best Friend can be used for 2-4 months before taking a break to evaluate your next steps.
  • For heavy cycles caused by endometriosis, astringent herbs like Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) or Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) are a great choice. A tea blend or tincture works well. Slow Flow capsules are another good option.

5. Promote better estrogen metabolism with DIM (diindolylmethane). For women with endometriosis who have estrogen dominance or sensitivity, the supplement DIM can really help.

6. Consider natural progesterone. Not all women with endometriosis need progesterone therapy, but some really benefit. Have a day 21 progesterone test to see where you stand. If your progesterone is low along with endometriosis, natural progesterone cream (used after ovulation) may help control symptoms, regulate the cycle and encourage a faster recovery.

7. Add antioxidants to your program. Endometriosis is characterized by chronic inflammation and increased free radical activity. Antioxidants encourage recovery and a healthy inflammatory response. Our guide New Research Shows The Importance of Antioxidants for Women with Endometriosis shares important details.

  • Learn about Pycnogenol, an antioxidant from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, is another excellent antioxidant for endometriosis recovery. A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine finds pycnogenol reduces endometriosis symptoms by up to 33%.

Note: Many of these supplements are combined in the EndoWise Kit. Learn more about the EndoWise Kit here…

Research all of your options!

If you have endometriosis, research all of your options for healing. Birth control may ease symptoms short term for some women, but there are alternatives that may be better for long-term recovery and a return to fertility. Natural therapies do take time to work, so be conscious of the fact that it could take 6-12 months of consistent changes to see benefits and improvements.

Do your best to stay patient with the process, and seek out support from a naturopath or Fertility Herbalist if you need it.

One final tip: Remember to take advantage of Mind Body Therapies to keep your stress low while you’re healing. This can speed up your results, and decreases endometriosis-related depression and emotional swings.

References

  • James, M. (2018). Endometriosis: How A Natural Approach Can Help. Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealthnetwork.com/sexandfertility/endometriosis.aspx
  • Brighten, J. (2018). What Causes Endometriosis and 5 Steps To Heal Naturally. Retrieved from: https://drbrighten.com/causes-endometriosis-5-natural-treatment-strategies/
  • Romm, A. (2018) Endometriosis? 4 Herbs & Supplements That Can Really Help. Retrieved from: https://avivaromm.com/endometriosis-herbs-supplements/
  • Hudson, T. (2013, Nov.). NAC: Something New For Endometriosis. Retrieved from: http://drtorihudson.com/general/dietary-supplements/nac-something-new-for-endometriosis/
  • Porpora, M., Brunelli, R, Costa, G. et al. (April 2013) A promise in the treatment of endometriosis: an observational cohort study on ovarian endometrioma reduction by N-acetylcysteine. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Article ID 240702, 7 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/240702

Sarah Abernathy - Certified Herbalist

Sarah has worked in the field of natural foods and herbalism for over 20 years. She’s the Co-Author of “Healthy Healing” with over 1 million copies sold, a Certified Herbalist, and a health and wellness consultant. Sarah Graduated from the Professional Herbal Studies program at East West School of Herbology, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from St. Mary’s College. Working with women on their journey to wellness is her passion and she loves to share what she has been blessed to learn from naturopaths and other herbalists over the years.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. While it is true that birth control can only, at best, suppress symptoms, leading endometriosis experts suspect birth control exacerbates (meaning, makes it worse) endometriosis in the long run. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help with symptoms, as can complementary therapies. However, the only “cure” for endometriosis is surgical excision by a trained endometriosis expert. Unfortunately, only about 1% of gynecologists have the necessary several extra years of education and training necessary to recognize and excise endometriosis effectively.
    Sufferers would do well to join the Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Education group on Facebook. They have an international list of vetted surgeons.