Quick Survey: Endometriosis and Depo-Provera
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Endometriosis and Depo-Provera

I was diagnosed with fairly severe endometriosis just over a year ago. I had minimal physical symptoms of the disease until an ovarian cyst ruptured and eventually led to the diagnosis. My gynecologist has put me on Depo-Provera, more to protect my fertility than for pain management. I'm advised to stay on the hormone until I plan to have children. Along with gaining six to seven pounds from Depo-Provera, my abdomen is excessively swollen all the time and especially uncomfortable after eating. Food intolerances have been identified and dealt with, and I don't have a candida problem. Can anything relieve this "swelling" to make the hormone treatment livable, or are there other options to staying on the drug for possibly a number of years?

The main symptom of endometriosis is usually but not always severe disabling pain during periods, or any time in the cycle.

In the past, it was thought that endometriosis caused infertility and that pregnancy would improve endometriosis. Neither of these concepts have been proven to be true.

Furthermore, minimal to mild endometriosis is not associated with infertility and does not benefit from treatment. With moderate to severe disease, anatomical distortion of the ovaries and the tubes may interfere with conception.

If you are not having any pain or other symptoms there is no reason to continue the depo-provera. "Protecting your fertility" is not a valid reason to take a potent drug with lots of side effects like depo-provera.

Depo-provera is a long acting form of synthetic progesterone, usually given as an injection every three months for birth control purposes. This means it can take months to clear out of your system. Side effects of depo-provera include weight gain, bloating and abdominal distension, nausea, acne, hair loss, irritability, mood swings, depression and irregular bleeding. Furthermore, it is possible that depo-provera might contribute to long term infertility for some women.

Fortunately, there are other drug options as well as natural remedies. There is a natural progesterone skin cream which has none of the side effects of depo-provera. There are also natural progesterone oral capsules which can achieve the same results as depo-provera.

Many women have also found a series of acupuncture treatments helpful. Other natural treatments, including herbs, homeopathy, cleansing and diet, under the supervision of a naturopathic physician, can improve and even arrest the disease.

You need to become an expert on the disease as well as educating your doctor. You should contact 1-800-426-2END to get information from The Endometriosis Association. The mission of this Association, one of the world's most successful self help groups, is to provide support and information to women with endometriosis, to conduct research, and to educate doctors and the public. It will also provide you with the name of the support group in your area, which can provide referrals to doctors experienced in treating endometriosis.

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