Giving Hormonal Treatments Another Chance

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hormonal treatments

Dachshunds & Duvets – a column by Jessie Madrigal-Fletcher

Since my diagnosis, I’ve attempted to manage my endometriosis as naturally as possible. I aimed to avoid heavy hormonal treatments and further surgery, but recently I had to give in a little and get back on the pill. 

I was on several contraceptive pills for years before being diagnosed. I took them for birth control, but also because they eased my periods just a little. However, they negatively affected my mood and libido and gave me headaches.

So, after being on the pill for more than eight years, I decided I was done. Life without hormonal treatments proved to be lighter on my mental health, and my period pain only slightly worsened. In my mind, I thought that was it: The pill wasn’t for me, and I was OK with that. That was almost six years ago.

A few weeks ago, I underwent some tests to determine the cause of the discomfort I’ve been experiencing since my last surgery. I have also been living with intermittent bleeding, which is a huge annoyance. My doctor confirmed his suspicions that some scar tissue buildup could be the source of the discomfort and that the occasional bleeding could be down to a small polyp. To provide some relief, he proposed a progestogen-based minipill. 

If he had suggested this to me six months ago, I probably would have said no. However, I was about to embark on a two-and-a-half-month trip through the United States, and with endometriosis, the thought of suffering crushing flare-ups in strange places seemed like a bit too much. 

I said yes, and picked up my prescription. I have now been taking it for more than two weeks, and quite frustratingly, I am very unhappy. It turns out bleeding is a common side effect. I have spoken with other members of my endometriosis support group, and many have experienced the same. Half of them said the bleeding stopped after a while and the other half admitted giving up because it went on and on.

So here I am, traveling through the U.S., and still bleeding.

Traveling with endometriosis
My new favorite spot for lunch. (Photo by Jessie Madrigal)

At this point, I am not sure what I’ll do. I wanted to have some degree of control over my periods to avoid the messy side of this illness. Essentially, I wanted to live more or less pain-free for a couple of months. I’m taking all precautions, feeding myself appropriately, making sure I get enough iron in my diet, meditating, and doing yoga when it all gets too much.

Yet, I feel deflated, and on some days, extremely frustrated.

I will probably give the minipill two more weeks, but if this doesn’t improve, I may go back to square one and face the alternative: no control over my periods. And more worryingly, I’ll open myself up for flare-ups far away from home. I will keep you posted.

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