The Mirena Coil and Endometriosis
Endo Is An Elusive Disease
Endometriosis continues to elude the medical profession as the cause of it remains a mystery. Treatment is a constant source of debate both among the medical communities and women who have the disease. Trying to find a cure for a disease that can't be nailed down is, at best, like nailing jello to a wall. Nothing really sticks and while one treatment may bring some relief to a woman, another may do nothing at all.
Depending upon the severity of the disease, treatment options run the gamut from observation to hormone medications, to surgery and any type of combination in between. The primary aim of all of the various treatments is to offer relief from the key symptoms of endometriosis which include:
· abdominal pain before and during menses
· pain with intercourse
· chronic pelvic pain
· low back pain
· heavy and/or irregular periods
· pain during bowel movements, particularly during menses
· pain with urination during menstruation
· diarrhea or constipation
· headaches and fever
· depression or anxiety
· allergies and infections
As endometriosis develops, the immune system becomes compromised and further health issues result. Adhesions grow in the pelvic cavity that glue pelvic organs together. These are the source of much of the pain, infertility, bowel constrictions and digestive problems women with endometriosis endure.
Endometriosis is the growth of the endometrium (uterine lining) outside of the uterus. Estrogen is critical to the growth of this tissue in preparation for pregnancy. When there is no fertilization of an egg during a cycle, estrogen levels drop and the endometrium is shed. The aim of some treatments for endometriosis is to curtail the production of estrogen in order to starve the growths. One way to achieve this is with hormone therapy - and one of the hormones that is effective is progesterone. Progesterone causes endometrial growths to shrink and also prevents ovulation, which also lowers the estrogen levels.
The Mirena Coil and Endometriosis
Enter the Mirena coil - a small plastic T-shaped intrauterine device that is being used more frequently to treat women with endometriosis. It contains a slow release progesterone-like substance called progestogen, which is released over a period of five years. The active ingredient in the Mirena is levonorgestrel.
Mirena has been used worldwide as a contraceptive since the early 1990s; however, it has recently come to light as a treatment for endometriosis. There is not much information available on the use of the Mirena for endometriosis treatment. Only a few studies have been done so far and they have only followed women for about four years. However, there is promise and the studies indicate that it is an effective treatment for endometriosis and may have the potential to be a long-term treatment for women who want to postpone pregnancy.
If, in fact, Mirena proves to be effective as a long-term treatment for endometriosis, it has several potential advantages over current treatments:
· in theory there are fewer side effects
· no need for pills
· no need for regular injections
· no need for contraception
· option for continuous treatment
However, until there are more clinical trials, it is difficult to determine exactly how well it will work.
How Mirena Can Help Endo
The Mirena reduces the amount of blood flow during a woman's period. In some cases, it stops it altogether. It is this fact that has made the Mirena an attractive option for treatment. The Mirena, like other types of IUDs and IUSs, is inserted by a doctor and remains in the womb for five years. A low dose of levonorgestrel goes directly into the lining of the womb rather than into the bloodstream where it can lead to possible progesterone-type side effects. At the end of the five-year period, the coil should be removed and, if desired, it can be replaced immediately.
The Mirena coil shows much promise for relief of endometriosis symptoms for women who suffer with this painful condition. Hopefully, future research will confirm its efficacy.
Endometriosis is a painful condition that affects millions of women worldwide. Learn more about the disease and the various treatments available here.