I am new to this page. I have had symptoms of endo for about

I am new to this page. I have had symptoms of endo for about 7 years now. I had gone to my doctor when I was 18 and she said I was too young to get a Pap Smear or physical exam. As soon as I turned 21, I went in and was told it seems like symptoms of endo, which I had suspected for around 5 years now. My problem is that birth control causes migraines for me and so I have to be put on a lower dose (I have tried 3 different kinds and they all have the same effect). But the lower dose doesn’t help much with my pain. Any ideas? And when is surgery recommended?

1 Heart

I'm blown away by the fact that a doctor told you at 18, that you were too young for a pap!

Endometriosis is brutal! Depending on your current medications (if you're on any besides bc), as well as your history (such as cancer in you or your family), there are medications specifically for cramps.

I am only on birth control. They didn’t give me anything else. And I don’t know if this makes a difference but I don’t really get cramps. My worst pains are knife-like pains in my vagina and on my ovaries. Can the medications still help stuff like that?

1 Heart

As someone who has both migraines and endometriosis, talk to your doctor about going on continuous birth control. What that means is skipping the placebo or sugar pills each month and continuing to take the hormone pills instead. This should hopefully reduce your migraines, as it is often the fluctuating hormones that can trigger them. There also isn't any real benefit to having a period unless you are actively trying to get pregnant. Have you tried progesterone? It's a different hormone to estrogen (which is in most birth control), but should also decrease endo pain. You also might look into using clary sage essential oil either topically or diffused. I find that using clary sage daily, especially during my period, reduces my pain on par to taking an Ibuprofen. Adding turmeric supplements or teas can also decrease the pain.
As for surgery, it's like hitting a reset button in your belly. For several months or years after, your pain will be reduced or even gone. However, there is a really good chance that it will return, which leads a lot of us to having multiple surgeries. More surgeries mean more internal scar tissue, which can hurt similarly (although I still consider it less) to endometriosis pain. So ideally you want to wait as long as you can before opting for that, but "as long as you can" means different things to all of us.
Oh, and that reminds me. Knife-like pain is likely still caused by cramps. It's just that the cramps aren't bumping into anything else that is irritated and inflamed. The medications should still help with that (although finding one that fits can still take awhile . . . I think I've tried 6 or more different birth control options over the years).

Hm that’s interesting. My doctor told me that I am not allowed to skip the placebo week because it would only cause more migraines. Thank you for your input! That actually makes a lot of sense.
I have not tried progesterone, so I’ll talk to my doctor about it. I was going to try the ring, since I was told I might have a better chance at losing the migraines if the hormone isn’t taken orally.
I’ll also try the clary sage. I have tried basically every sort of pain reliever (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc) and nothing seems to relieve any of my pain. So I’m willing to try pretty much anything at this point.
Thank you so much for your response! I appreciate it!

1 Heart

@justascaredgirl04 There are tons of articles and studies that you can refer your doctor to, but I’ve posted one from a pain management website below if you want to take a look at it. Apparently it’s been known in certain circles for decades that continuous hormone treatments can actually reduce migraines in women. None of my doctors had ever heard of such a thing, but were willing to give it a go once I brought them some reading material.
I have never tried the ring, so I couldn’t tell you what to expect. What I have heard though is that women tend to either respond very well to it or very badly. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.
You can use the clary sage oil with the NSAIDs too. They don’t interact negatively with each other, so it will be like taking two painkillers instead of just the one. Something else to keep in mind, you can ask your doctor about a prescription strength NSAID. It’ll be stronger than the over-the-counter stuff and a bit easier on your stomach than taking 2-3 Ibuprofen at a time.
Good luck!