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Won’t my Endometriosis spread if I come OFF the Contraceptive Pill?

I know how scary it can feel to come off the pill. I was on it for 7 years and believed so strongly that I needed to be on it, to prevent my endometriosis from spreading and getting worse. I was completely convinced that it was my only hope at keeping endometriosis at bay. This message had been drilled into me by my doctor for years and though I experienced incredible side-effects from being on the pill, I didn’t want to take the risk of endometriosis getting worse.

The trouble is, that this approach is limited. It is limited by the way we look at the body and how we approach healing.

Why is the Contraceptive Pill Recommended?

When we consider what endometriosis is, it makes sense that the contraceptive pill might be considered as a treatment option for it. The cells which are supposed to line our uterus are essentially misplaced and sit within the abdominal cavity. These cells do what they do normally inside the uterine lining – they grow and change as our hormones change. They also shed like they would in the uterus, causing more cysts and nodules and bumps on the surface of pelvic organs.

The idea behind taking the contraceptive pill is that we stop this natural cycle of these cells and stop menstruation completely. The theory is that by stopping menstruation, we stop the cells growing and thereby stop growths of endometriosis.


What are the flaws with this approach?

We haven’t treated anything by being on the pill! The cells and lesions simply return once the “treatment” has stopped. Is this really any kind of treatment? The contraceptive pill might (and I say might) reduce the endometriosis growths but it isn’t actually treating endometriosis when it simply returns when we stop taking the contraceptive pill.

We are stopping a natural cycle within our womanly bodies and this is going to have all sorts of repercussions.

We are also creating further risks and health implications for our body which will directly affect our ability to manage endometriosis – slight irony there!



The Health Risks of being on the Contraceptive Pill

It is seldom we are told about women who have died of a stroke from being on the pill. It is seldom we are told that it completely changes our digestive lining and gut flora and that these are crucial for our overall health. We are so busy focusing on the endometriosis that we forget to realise that everything we put into the body has an effect on everything else.

The contraceptive pill is one of those things and poses many health risks for you beyond endometriosis:

  • The contraceptive pill has been linked to an increase risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer.
  • You are more likely to develop blood clots which could lead to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Because the contraceptive pill effects our digestive health, it will affect our ability to absorb valuable nutrients we need from our foods. Iron is a common one, which could lead to anaemia. Other common vitamins which can become depleted are the fat soluble vitamins which aid in detoxification, collagen production and circulation. The stress reduction vitamins are also often depleted, which include the B vitamins and most importantly folate. Folate is crucial for women who wish to get pregnant and can have implications on the health of their unborn baby!
  • What’s interesting is that women with endometriosis are typically depleted on zinc, iron, magnesium and selenium – all of which become depleted further by being on the contraceptive pill.

Watch this interview I did with Jane Bennet on the dangers of the contraceptive pill.


My preferred approach

At some point we need to establish why those cells have decided to settle outside of the uterus and what they are doing there? There are more and more studies which are revealing the connection with endometriosis and auto-immune conditions and it’s connection with toxins in the body. Another study also indicated an immune deficiency which relates to low levels of NK Cells and how elevating them, could reduce the endometriosis. (read this study)

My approach looks at the whole body and at connections with the development of endometriosis. There are many factors which create imbalances within the body. We look at endometriosis by looking at reducing inflammation and pain, regulating hormones and supporting the immune system. This three pronged approach has been very effective in managing endometriosis for many women, including myself. Our digestive health and hormone health are vital in managing endometriosis and sadly this aspect of health is often overlooked and being on the contraceptive pill contributes to its disfunction.


In Conclusion

If you come off the contraceptive pill and you don’t have an action plan or a strategy on how to rebalance your body holistically, then it is likely that yes, you will have issues with your endometriosis because the symptoms of endometriosis will return. However, if you treat endometriosis holistically and consider ALL aspects of the condition and how all our organs and body functions affect our health, then you will be able to manage endometriosis without the contraceptive pill.

I prefer to look at the root cause of endometriosis and treating the condition holistically. At least that way, I am not posing any further health risks on myself and I am a far happier, less moody person to be around.

The choice is yours but as always, get informed about what these supposed “treatments” are really doing for you.

Hugs, Melissa x
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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Ashley

    This was so helpful. I thought I was alone! I had surgery to remove one ovary due to endo and they left the other one so that I could have children one day. I was 18 then and I am 25 now. So I have been on birth control that long. I have been off of it for a week and a half now and it is so hard but now I know to keep pushing through! I am on a very strict diet and exercise plan and I’m considering acupuncture as well. We can do this guys!!!!

  2. Anonymous

    Any news on the program you are developing for getting off the Pill?

  3. Melissa

    Thank you for your message Amy. I am looking at developing a program on how to come off the pill as I do get asked this quite often. I will keep your details on file and let you know when it is ready 🙂

  4. Amy

    So what process would you suggest for getting off the pill? Following your REACH plan for a few months first? I am truly terrified to get off the pill. I had surgery to remove endometriomas six years ago. Within months the pain was terrible again. After going on the pill I had NO pain at all for five years. I briefly went off the pill to try a supplement that someone suggested and was hit full force with the pain again within a month or two. Since going back on the pill the pain is manageable but getting worse. I often wish I had not stopped the pill because at least I could live my life and just try to deal with the side-effects of the pill instead of debilitating pain. I would really need a solid plan to try quitting it again. Thanks! Appreciate your positive website. So many endo sites are just super-depressing.

  5. Poonam

    Dear Melissa,

    Your articles are great and helped me lot. I am diagnosed endometriosis and on endosis since 4 months. I have been spotting since last 20 days while i restarted endosis after 2 months of trying to conceive. In ultrasound they have diagnosed 3mm endo. Please help if this is severe as doctor os planning laparoscopy in next 2 months.
    I have started diet and exercise and helped lot. Can i conceive naturally.

    Thanks and Regards

  6. Tisi

    Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for sharing and for the wonderful website. I am not on the endo diet, but have adjusting my eating habits in a similar manner. My GYN is suggesting M*rena due to fear of infertility. I know it is my decision, but after reading horror stories, I’d decided against it. My PCP said he likes to be cautious as well, but that he worries about infertility as well without the IUD. I had decided against it, but at this point I don’t know what to do, as I want to start TTC when I graduate (in 2 years). I am 34 now, 35 later this year, so there may be additional risks when I am 36-37. I have been going the “natural route” for a year now, including changing my dietary lifestyle and using natural progesterone cream. I understand that you cannot be advise me on what I should do, but if you have any more insight, I’d appreciate it. I have read a few of your blogs, including the one about using the cream for endo treatment. Please assist.

  7. Melissa

    Absolute pleasure Desh and so happy that I was able to speak to you directly through this article. I am excited for your journey ahead sweetheart!

  8. Melissa

    That is fantastic Holly and congrats on having a “good” period 🙂 It does prove how effective diet and lifestyle changes are for managing endo! Go you!

  9. Holly

    I was never on a pill (because I didn’t think I’d ever remember to take it), but I was on the depo shot for a while, then had the IUD in from June last year to June this year. A few months ago I really started changing my diet and started the endo diet. After I started feeling better I started having a period every other week. I figured it was because my body was trying to straighten itself out and the IUD was in the way of that. So after I had it taken out I was spotting for about a wk, then had some ghastly cramps and started what I guess was a period (not much to it but the cramps). A month later I’m having my first real period in a long time and I don’t think I remember having one this ‘good’. I think it proves I made the right decision. My doctor wanted me to have a hysterectomy instead. Ugh!

  10. Desh

    Hi Mel,

    I am so glad I read your article “Wont my endometriosis spread if I come of the contraceptive pill. I felt as though your article was directed at me. I have been going over this question in my head a millon times. I do believe in the natural approach , I have started the approach by changing my diet , the next step will be exercise and cleanse. I havent yet ditched the contraceptive pill, I just want to get into this approach one step at a time.

    Thank you for all your support

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I'm Melissa

Sick of dealing with endometriosis and ready to move forward?

I empower women to stop feeling like a victim to their endometriosis and find empowering ways to reduce pain & symptoms. 



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