12 Reproductive Health Awareness Days for Your Organisations Event Calendar -image

12 Reproductive Health Awareness Days for Your Organisations Event Calendar 

Over the last five years in the UK alone, 1 in 5 employees undergoing fertility treatment left their jobs due to insufficient support from their employers—and a further 1 million women left their workplaces because of debilitating menopausal symptoms. These are just a couple of the stats that highlight the growing importance of workplace reproductive health benefits as an integral part of employee wellbeing.  As the adage goes, knowledge is power and one of the best places to start is ensuring your employees have ample access to educational resources surrounding their reproductive health.  Awareness days offer purposeful opportunities to provide employees with education and celebration over a range of important issues. This can in turn foster your organisation’s culture whilst making your employees feel seen and supported.  This 2024, why not build some of the following key female reproductive health-focused awareness days into your internal events calendar?  2024 Calendar of Reproductive Health Awareness Days 1. International Women’s Day When: March 8th 2024 What: A globally recognised campaign that celebrates women’s achievements social, economic and political achievements whilst raising awareness for gender equality.  2. National Endometriosis Action Month When: March 2024 What: A globally recognised month of action for the 1 in 10 people assigned female at birth who suffer from the reproductive health condition endometriosis.  3. National Infertility Awareness Week  When: April 21st – 27th 2024 What: A UK-focused awareness week highlighting the challenges, mental and physical, faced by those struggling with infertility. 4. Black Maternal Health Week When: April 11th – 17th 2024 What: A globally recognised week to amplify Black female voices and raise awareness for the historically higher maternal mortality rates in Black women.  5. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week When: 29th – 5th May 2024 What: A global weeklong campaign dedicated to awareness around mental health struggles before, during and after pregnancy.  6. National Women’s Health Week When: May 12th – 15th 2024 What: A UK-focused weeklong campaign encouraging women and girls to make their health, physical and social wellbeing a priority. 7. Fibroids Awareness Month When: July 2024 What: A globally recognised month to raise awareness about uterine fibroids that affect around 2 in 3 women.   8. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month  When: September 2024 What: A globally recognised month to support those who’ve been diagnosed with or indirectly affected by ovarian cancer.  9. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Month When: September 2024 What: A globally recognised month of action for the 1 in 10 people assigned female at birth who suffer from the reproductive health condition PCOS.  10. Menopause Awareness Month When: October 2024 What: A globally recognised awareness month focused on breaking the stigma surrounding menopause, including World Menopause Day on the 18th of October. 11. Baby Loss Awareness Week When: October 9th – 15th  What: A UK-focused week-long event dedicated to supporting those who have suffered pregnancy or infant loss.  12. National Fertility Awareness Week When: October 30th – 5th November What: A UK-focused weeklong campaign initiated to raise awareness about fertility issues, treatments and reproductive health education.  What next? Embedding reproductive health awareness into an organisation’s event calendar is an imperative step toward fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. The alarming statistics revealing the impact of insufficient support on employee retention underline the urgency of addressing these issues.  By incorporating key awareness days and campaigns, such as International Women’s Day, National Endometriosis Action Month, and Menopause Awareness Month, employers can provide educational resources and celebrate the diverse aspects of female reproductive health. This not only promotes a sense of acknowledgement and support for employees but also contributes to a workplace environment that values the holistic well-being of its people.  At Hertility, we’re shaping the future of the workplace by supporting companies to become Reproductively ResponsibleTM. One way that we do this is through a range of CPD-accredited educational workshops that focus on female fertility and reproductive health. Ultimately, our aim is to change attitudes around reproductive health, both for individuals and in the workplace, and to encourage everyone to be proactive by tracking their reproductive health. We’re calling this the Reproductive Revolution! If you’d like to take proactive steps in this direction in 2024, get in touch – benefits@hertilityhealth.com. 

Endometriosis and Fertility: What You Need to Know-image

Endometriosis and Fertility: What You Need to Know

A common symptom of endometriosis is fertility issues. Up to 50% of people with endometriosis will struggle to conceive, with the causes still relatively unknown. Here take a deep dive into what you need to know about your fertility if you have diagnosed or suspected endometriosis. Quick facts: What is endometriosis? Endometriosis is a reproductive health condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places. This is called endometrial tissue. This tissue can grow in the ovaries and fallopian tubes and can cause painful symptoms.  It’s one of the most common reproductive health conditions. 1 in 10 women and those assigned female-at-birth (AFAB) will develop endometriosis, yet its definitive cause is still unknown.  As a long-term condition, endometriosis can significantly impact some people’s lives. One of the most common concerns is how does endometriosis affect fertility? Will endometriosis affect my fertility? In short, it might. Fertility problems are common in those with endometriosis, with 30-50% experiencing fertility problems (1). But having endometriosis does not automatically mean you will have fertility problems—every case is different. It will depend on the severity of your symptoms and any structural or hormonal issues you may have.  Is it possible to get pregnant with endometriosis? Yes, it’s possible to get pregnant with endometriosis. However, you may experience difficulty getting pregnant. Those with endometriosis have a lower chance of getting pregnant with each monthly cycle (2). This can result in it taking longer for people with endometriosis to conceive (3).  Infertility is also common in those with endometriosis, and in subfertile (failure to conceive after one year of trying) women the prevalence seems to be considerably higher, ranging from 20% to 50%, but it varies with time and age (1). How does endometriosis affect fertility? Again, not necessarily. But those with endometriosis are at an increased risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and other obstetric complications compared to those without (4). How does endometriosis affect fertility? Exactly why and how endometriosis affects fertility is still unknown. But here are the latest theories of possible links and causes.  Structural issues One of the ways endometriosis is likely to affect fertility is by distorting the position of reproductive organs. Growth of endometrial tissue and adhesions around the uterus and Fallopian tubes can cause this distortion. In turn, this may block mature eggs from reaching the uterus to be fertilised. The risk of blocked Fallopian tubes, in particular, increases in the more advanced stages of endometriosis.  Endometriomas The presence of cysts on your ovaries, called endometriomas, could also affect fertility and ovulation. Endometriomas can damage ovarian tissue and the precious ovarian follicles which house immature eggs.  Immune reaction Another theory is an immune reaction to endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus. This is because this tissue is recognised as ‘foreign’ to these parts of the body. The immune system responds by attacking it, causing inflammation. Inflammation leads to harmful toxins which may affect Fallopian tube function, sperm function and egg quality (5). Womb reciprocity There is also debate about whether endometriosis affects the receptivity of the womb to a fertilised egg. However, there is currently no conclusive evidence to prove this theory.  Painful sex Painful sex is one of the symptoms associated with endometriosis. Pain during or after intercourse can negatively impact your sex life and make the trying-to-conceive process difficult. Can treating endometriosis improve fertility? Various treatments for endometriosis that aim to improve fertility. The right ones for you will depend on the location and severity of your endometriosis and what your symptoms are.  One treatment that aims to improve fertility is laparoscopic surgery. This is surgery to remove the endometrial tissue deposits and adhesions. It aims to free the pelvic organs of any structural issues or blockages and reduce inflammation.  For people with endometrioma, laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy can remove the endometriosis-related cysts on the ovaries (6). This has been shown to lower the recurrence rate of both cysts and pain symptoms.  However, there are risks associated with any surgery. For example, ovarian cystectomy can also negatively affect ovarian reserve by the removal of healthy tissue.  It’s important to discuss the potential for surgery with a specialist. And to explore the individual risks. How can I improve my chances of conceiving with endometriosis? If you’re trying to conceive with endometriosis, there are options to improve your chances. These include expectant management and assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs).  Expectant management  This is for heterosexual people who are trying to conceive naturally and:  To improve your chances of conceiving with every menstrual cycle, it is recommended to have sex every 2-3 days so there is a good chance of catching your fertile window.   Assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) ART options include ovarian stimulation (COS), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).  Depending on your age, ART is recommended if: IUI is usually offered to couples with minimal or mild endometriosis if their partner has normal semen quality and is typically not offered to those with moderate/severe endometriosis, because of a probable effect on the Fallopian tubes. IVF can be offered to those with moderate or severe endometriosis. It can also help those with a very low egg reserve. IVF has been found to be less successful in people with endometriosis compared to those without endometriosis. However, lots of factors influence IVF success, like age, whether you’ve been pregnant before, if you’ve had treatment before body mass index, underlying health conditions, lifestyle and your partner’s sperm quality.  Resources:  

Understanding the Causes of Infertility-image

Understanding the Causes of Infertility

For many, the journey to parenthood can be a challenging process, both physically and emotionally. We’re here to help you understand the different causes of infertility, and the options available for those who need support. Quick facts: What is infertility? Infertility is defined as not being able to conceive after one year (or longer) of trying. This could be despite having regular unprotected sex with a partner, or trying using methods like artificial insemination (IUI).  There are 2 types of infertility: In the UK, as many as 1 in 7 heterosexual couples experience infertility, yet the causes are sometimes preventative, or treatable.  Causes of infertility  There can be many different reasons why you might struggle to conceive. This can include structural fertility issues, ovulation problems, underlying health conditions and hormonal imbalances. Let’s take a look at each. Ovulation issues  Anovulation, also known as the inability to ovulate, is the most common cause of infertility. Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from one of your ovaries, each month, during your menstrual cycle. The egg travels into the Fallopian tube, where it prepares to be fertilised by a sperm, before then travelling down the tube to the uterus.  When trying to conceive, ovulation is a crucial event, with the 5 days before ovulation and ovulation day itself often referred to as your ‘fertile window’.This is the time of the month when you’ll be most likely to get pregnant.  Research suggests that as many as 25% of infertility cases are caused by anovulation. Anovulation can be caused by: Another possible explanation is a problem with the egg maturation process. This means that an “immature” egg may be released from your ovaries when it is not quite ready and unable to fertilise. Underlying health conditions Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) PCOS is the most common underlying condition affecting fertility. PCOS affects as many as 1 in 10 people with ovaries.  People with PCOS produce higher levels of androgen hormones, like testosterone. This can disrupt your menstrual cycle, ovulation, and balance of cycling hormones—like oestrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone (LH). As PCOS is still under-researched and misunderstood, many people are left undiagnosed and are unaware they have it until they are actively trying to conceive. This is why it’s a good idea to check in on your hormones before you start your conception journey.  Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)  POI is when the ovaries stop working properly before the age of 40. POI is far less common than PCOS, affecting only 1 in 100 women younger than 40. Your ovaries produce oestrogen and progesterone—two cycling hormones responsible for the regulation of your menstrual cycle. When their function is disrupted, ovulation can also become disrupted or stop completely.  People with POI also have a lower ovarian reserve, meaning fewer eggs for their age. Without a sufficient amount of eggs and the correct level of hormones needed to regulate your cycle, the possibility of conceiving is reduced considerably. According to the National Infertility Association, POI can be caused by genetics, autoimmune factors, induced by chemo or radiotherapy, or it can have an unknown cause. Uterine fibroids Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumours that affect as many as 25% of people with a uterus. They can cause symptoms such as heavy periods, intermenstrual bleeding, and pelvic pain. In some cases, depending on the location in which they grow, and whether they affect the shape of the uterus or cervix, fibroids can also cause infertility.  This is because they can block the fallopian tubes, stopping eggs from meeting sperm, or reaching the uterus for implantation. They can also get in the way of implantation if they are near the inner lining of the womb.  Despite being less common than other causes of infertility, around 5-10% of infertile women and those assigned female-at-birth are found to have uterine fibroids, with their instance being much more common in Black women.  Endometriosis Endometriosis is a common reproductive health condition that affects around 1 in 10 women and people assigned female-at-birth. With endometriosis, tissue similar to the tissue that makes up the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and the fallopian tubes, causing lesions and scarring.   This can cause several life-altering symptoms, such as painful and heavy periods, pain during or after intercourse and pelvic pain. It is also another common cause of infertility, with research suggesting it is present in around 20-50% of infertility cases. The exact link between endometriosis and infertility is unknown. However, some theories suggest that lesions and scarring can cause structural problems with the reproductive organs and chemical changes in the lining of the uterus. Structural infertility  Structural infertility is a problem with the anatomical structure of the reproductive organs. This can include blockages, structural damage or abnormal growth in the fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries.  Structural issues with the ovaries or fallopian tubes can prevent eggs from being released from the ovaries or stop them from moving through the fallopian tubes to reach a sperm for fertilisation.   Additionally, if the structure of your uterus is abnormal or damaged, it may prevent eggs from implanting into the endometrium (uterus lining). This is needed to create a healthy embryo and pregnancy.  Structural infertility problems can also be caused by scarring from surgery, infections, injuries, or endometriosis.  Also, the growth of noncancerous tissues such as uterine polyps on the lining of the uterus, can cause blockages. Polyps occur when additional tissue grows on your uterus. However, sometimes tissue grows elsewhere in your reproductive system potentially blocking your fallopian tubes and preventing pregnancy.  Implantation failure Other possible explanations of implantation failure are: Infections and auto-immune disorders  Untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may have serious consequences for your fertility. STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhoea can cause scarring and blocking of your Fallopian tubes.  Additionally, if syphilis is left to develop, it can cause stillbirth. There are also other forms of infections of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV) that could cause infertility. It’s […]

Living with Endometriosis: What I’ve Learnt Along the Way-image

Living with Endometriosis: What I’ve Learnt Along the Way

After a 9 year battle with pain, Abbie finally got a diagnosis for endometriosis. This is Abbie’s story, detailing the ordeal she went through to finally get treatment for her pain.  Quick facts: Meet Abbie My name is Abbie (@cheerfullylive) and in May 2019 I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis after a 9-year battle with pain.  If you aren’t aware, endometriosis is a chronic and debilitating condition where cells similar to the ones in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body like the ovaries and fallopian tubes.  In response to your hormones, these cells break down and bleed, similar to the lining of your womb. This can cause inflammation and symptoms like painful periods, as well as possible infertility, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems, as well as many other symptoms. This is my story with endometriosis, from pain to diagnosis and treatment. I hope it can help you if you suspect you may have endo symptoms, or just want to learn more about this condition. Living in pain I can remember distinctly the first time I had severe pain. It was about a year before I had my first period. It was absolutely terrifying and things only got worse from there. My periods started when I was 15 and month by month the pain gradually became more debilitating. It got to the point where I could no longer get out of bed or do normal activities.  I would miss school, university and even work, but my pain and symptoms were deemed ‘normal’ period pain. I was told repeatedly that ‘I just had a bad period’, ‘I had a low pain threshold and ‘it was just something I would have to endure as a woman’.  This was even when I was having fainting episodes and vomiting due to the excruciating pain I was getting between periods. Because it was doctors telling me this, I genuinely believed it was just ‘normal’ and put up for it for many years of my life. Years to diagnosis It was only when my pain became chronic in December 2018, that my health was investigated fully. After going back and forth to my GP, A&E, urology and gynaecology, I was sent for an MRI in April 2019.  After so many years of believing this pain was normal, I didn’t expect my MRI to come back with severe endometriosis adhesions all over, but it did.  I was immediately booked in for an appointment with an endometriosis specialist. He told me I had extensive endometriosis on the left side of my pelvis, my left ovary and my bowel (sigmoid colon). I was also told that it was highly likely I had endometriosis growing on my bladder, my kidneys and on the right side of my pelvis. But only this wouldn’t be known until I had surgery. Managing my endometriosis It’s been over a year since I was diagnosed and I’ve tried so many different things to help with managing endometriosis. I’ve gone from being on the combined pill to the mini pill to extra hormones on top of that.  I’ve come off those extra hormones, gone on the waiting list for excision surgery, have taken different painkillers, tried yoga, hot water bottles, a TENS machine and trialled sacral steroid injections!  It’s been a long, hard journey and there are still many difficult days, but I seem to have found a few things that have personally helped me along the road. Deciding to have an expert excision of my endometriosis I’m still waiting for a surgery date, but just being able to make this informed decision with my consultant made me feel empowered. It made me feel like I was able to have some control over my endometriosis and how much it affected my life.  Being on the mini pill This is something that has helped me, as I no longer have periods anymore, which reduces the debilitating monthly pain and anxiety that comes with it. However, I understand that hormones are a very personal choice and you have to do what’s right for YOUR body. Pain management  Investing in a decent hot water bottle and a heat pad, as well as a TENS machine has really helped me manage my everyday chronic pain. Looking ahead Despite the struggles I’ve faced and the pain I’ve had to endure whilst living with endometriosis, I’m very grateful for all the positive experiences that have come out of this journey.  I started up my own blog, enjoyed being creative on Instagram and found an incredible community of #EndoWarriors! A fellow Endo warrior and I wrote a powerful blog post on “What Endo Means To Me”. Thank you to Hertility for having me on their blog to share my journey with endometriosis! If you feel you may have endometriosis or are concerned about your symptoms, please reach out to someone and don’t suffer in silence. Whether that’s your GP, sexual health clinic, hospital or a company like Hertility who can help you get answers on your reproductive or gynaecological health. You can find me over on my blog at www.cheerfullylive.com or on Instagram at @cheerfullylive www.instagram.com/cheerfullylive. I’m always open to having a conversation around women’s/period health, pelvic pain or endometriosis! Let’s break down the stigma and have more of these conversations!

 What are the Main Symptoms of Endometriosis?-image

 What are the Main Symptoms of Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common reproductive health condition that affects 1 in 10 in the UK. It’s characterised by painful, heavy periods as well as other, often debilitating symptoms. Here we go through each of the main symptoms in detail, so you know what to look out for and when to get checked.  Quick facts: Endometriosis in the UK In the UK, endometriosis affects around 1.5 million women and people assigned female-at-birth (AFAB). That’s 1 in 10 who are currently living with the condition, regardless of race or ethnicity (1). People with endometriosis often experience very painful periods as well as a host of other symptoms. Many people live with endometriosis for a long time before getting diagnosed. Sometimes up to 7 years or more.  This is often the result of a general lack of awareness about the condition, dismissal of women’s pain and symptoms having a lot of crossover with other conditions. So what are the main symptoms of endometriosis? Here’s what to look out for if you suspect you, or someone close to you, may have the condition. What is endometriosis? Endometriosis is a chronic reproductive health condition where cells similar to those lining the uterus grow in other parts of the body. Endometrial tissues and lesions are found in the ovaries and Fallopian tubes.  They can sometimes also grow in the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder and rectum. Rarely, do they appear in other parts of the body, like the lungs, brain, and skin (2). Just like the lining of the uterus, these cells build up and eventually shed. But unlike your period which drains through the vagina, this blood and tissue has nowhere to go. This can cause inflammation, crippling pain and a long list of other symptoms. Endometriosis can affect women of any age, including teenagers. What are the main symptoms of endometriosis? Here are the most common symptoms of endometriosis (3):  Severe period pain  Severe period and pelvic pain are often reported to be the most debilitating symptoms of endometriosis. This pain is often described as ‘a razor blade pain’.  During your menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus (endometrium) is built up to support a potential pregnancy. If its baby-making dreams are not fulfilled, your body releases chemicals called prostaglandins.  Prostaglandins cause the uterus to contract and your endometrium sheds. Cue, your period. These contractions are what cause period pain. With endometriosis, the endometrial-like cells that have grown outside of the uterus also build up and shed. This internal bleeding leads to inflammation, intense pain and a buildup of scar tissue and adhesions (a type of tissue that can bind your organs together).  Usually, the first or second day of your period is the most painful. But in cases of endometriosis, the crippling pain usually kicks in a few days before your period’s arrival. It can also make an unwelcome return during ovulation or even throughout the month.  People can also experience chronic pain, increased lower back and pain around their legs which increases around their periods. “Endo belly” is a common term used to refer to the uncomfortable abdominal symptoms associated with endometriosis. Heavy periods Another common endometriosis symptom is heavy periods. Heavy periods are defined as: If your periods are painful or heavy it’s important to seek medical advice. Monthly heavy bleeding can increase the risk of anaemia (iron deficiency) which can result in symptoms of fatigue, feeling cold often and hair thinning. Pain during or after sex Another common symptom of endometriosis is pain during or after vaginal penetration. This can be caused by endometrial lesions growing in the pelvic region and becoming inflamed during or after sex. This pain is called dyspareunia. It has been reported to feel like a stabbing shooting pain, usually felt deep inside the pelvis. Any unwanted pain during sex is not normal. If you experience any pain during or after sex or any bleeding, get it checked out. There is also mental health support available if you feel your intimacy is being affected by pain during sex. Bowel and urination pain Endometrial lesions can sometimes find their way to the surface of the bowel or even penetrate its wall. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as pain when urinating or passing bowel movements or noticing blood in your urine or poo. Pain during urination can sometimes be misdiagnosed as a UTI. If you’re in pain when passing urine or poo or if you notice any blood in either, get it checked out to understand what might be the cause. Bloating and gastrointestinal issues People with endometriosis can also experience bloating and gastrointestinal issues. These symptoms are similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Including diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. These symptoms are often affected by your cycle and can worsen in the days before your period. Fertility problems Unfortunately, endometriosis can affect your fertility. Infertility affects about 30-50% of those with endometriosis, but there are no definitive answers (yet) as to why—only theories.   However, this does not mean that if you have endometriosis you can’t conceive. Even in cases of severe endometriosis, natural conception is possible.  Mental health impacts Living with a chronic condition can be tough and often isolating. Endometriosis can affect various aspects of life from personal to professional relationships, which can impact your mental health.  If you feel like endometriosis is impacting your mental health, there are online support communities like Endometriosis UK. You can also talk to our Fertility Counsellors for any mental health concerns relating to your fertility.  Getting to the bottom of symptoms Just like any reproductive health condition, endometriosis varies from person to person. Not everyone with endometriosis will experience all of these symptoms to the same severity. Some people may not experience any of these symptoms at all.  Having severe pain or very heavy periods is not necessarily a sign of more severe endometriosis. It’s also important to remember that each of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions.  If you’re experiencing any of the […]

Managing Endometriosis: Treatment Options Post-Diagnosis-image

Managing Endometriosis: Treatment Options Post-Diagnosis

Have you been diagnosed with endometriosis? Discover our top tips for managing endometriosis pain and the treatment options available to you. From painkillers to surgery.  Quick facts: Living with endometriosis If you live with endometriosis, you probably know that one of the biggest symptoms of endometriosis is pain… a lot of it. Experiencing chronic pain amongst other, often equally debilitating symptoms, can have big physical and emotional consequences.  Sadly, there is currently no cure for endometriosis. And with limited research and understanding of the condition, it can be difficult for both doctors and endo warriors to get a handle on managing endometriosis symptoms.   But you don’t have to put up with pain. There are several treatments available to manage symptoms and help improve your quality of life. Lots of people report huge improvements with these treatments—it’s just about finding what works for you. Medication for managing symptoms The first step in managing pain is usually exploring the use of painkillers. Your doctor may recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (aspirin, ibuprofen) or paracetamol as a first line of treatment to manage any pain.  However, there are lots of different types of painkillers and your doctor can help you to find ones that work for you and your pain level.  Depending on the severity of your endometriosis pain, you may try a course of painkillers for a few months until you assess whether or not they are working for you.  But if you’re finding that these aren’t making the cut and you’re unable to go to work, uni, school, work or other plans, don’t suffer in silence! This is just the first option for managing endometriosis, so push your doctor for alternatives. Tips for endometriosis pain management Endometriosis UK suggests some extra tips for pain management: Heat and comfort Hot water bottles, heated wheat bags or special heat pads can really help to soothe pain, cramping and inflammation.  Remember to never put them directly onto the skin and always have a layer in between. Partnered with your comfies, hopefully, this can help you to feel more comfortable. Physiotherapy Physiotherapists can develop a programme of exercise and relaxation techniques designed to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles, reduce pain, and manage stress and anxiety. TENS machines Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS) machines are small devices with electrodes that send electrical pulses into the body. This can block the pain messages as they travel through your nerves. Pain clinics Your doctor can refer you to your nearest pain clinic to see chronic pain specialists. Push for your doctor to get you the expert advice you deserve to manage your endometriosis pain. Hormone treatment for endometriosis When you’re diagnosed with endometriosis, hormone treatment is another common avenue to explore. You should discuss hormone treatment with your doctor or specialist to decide if it’s right for you. For those with endometriosis, similar cells to those lining the womb exist outside of the womb (usually in the abdomen).  These cells also respond to your sex hormones, particularly oestrogen and progesterone, in the same way as your womb lining. They thicken, break down and bleed during your period. This bleeding causes inflammation and scarring, leading to chronic pain.  Hormone treatment is commonly used to reduce the growth of this endometrial tissue.  How does hormone treatment help endometriosis? Hormone treatment aims to maintain low levels of oestrogen in the body, as oestrogen has been found to encourage the growth of endometrial tissue. Hormone therapy can help reduce heavy flow or even stop periods and therefore improve symptoms.  Whilst most endo warriors find that hormonal treatment reduces their symptoms, it is not a permanent fix to manage endometriosis. Types of hormonal treatment used to manage endometriosis? There are lots of different types of hormone treatment available. Some of the most common are also used as contraceptive methods including: Unfortunately, not everyone gets on with hormonal contraception and side effects can be common. It’s important to consider which hormone treatment is right for you. Surgery for endometriosis A last resort if the above treatments aren’t keeping your symptoms at bay, is endometriosis surgery. This aims to remove or destroy areas of endometrial tissue.  This can include laparoscopic surgery or a hysterectomy. The kind of surgery you have will depend on where the endometriosis is and how much of it there is. Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis Initial surgery will almost always involve gynaecological laparoscopy for both diagnosis and excision. In laparoscopic surgery, also known as keyhole surgery, your surgeon inserts a small tube with a light source and a camera, through a small incision near your belly button.  They use this to be able to look inside your tummy or pelvis and then use fine tools to remove endometrial tissue (excision) or use intense heat to destroy the tissues (ablation). They can also remove any scar tissue that has built up in the area.  This form of surgery can be difficult, as many of the lesions are below the surface and not visible, so a highly skilled practitioner is required to remove them.  It might be the most long-lasting treatment, and people do notice relief in symptoms, but many who undergo surgery find their endometriosis grows back over time. This is why endo warriors may have to undergo surgeries multiple times. Hormone treatment might be used after surgery to help get better, longer-lasting results. Hysterectomy for endometriosis Sometimes healthcare professionals will also suggest undergoing a hysterectomy, a surgery where the womb is removed. This can be a very big decision as post-surgery, you will no longer be able to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy.  If you want children, you can discuss egg freezing before this procedure with your doctor. This means that you will then have the option of trying to have a baby using fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with the help of a surrogate. In some cases, someone might still experience symptoms after getting a hysterectomy done as a form of endometriosis management. If the ovaries […]