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Hi all. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2009 following an emergency cystectomy of what the surgeon determined was an endometrial ("chocolate") cyst growing from my left ovary. Prior to diagnosis I had no symptoms that indicated something was off about my reproductive area--I had somewhat heavy periods throughout my teens but nothing too out of the ordinary; never anything close to the horrible pain that most endometriosis sufferers have to deal with. A tendnecy toward developing ovarian cysts is my only major symptom.
Since being diagnosed, my gynecologist has stressed the importance of regulating my reproductive system with hormonal birth control. Although there are still some unknowns about endometriosis, it is linked to hormone levels and my doctor explained that the best course of treatment in young women who have not yet had and want the option of children is a regimen of hormonal birth control. I certainly don't want another surgery for another cyst, so I've been on some form of hormone treatment since 2009.
My problem is that I am very sensitve to medication and therefore susceptible to side effects common to birth control, particularly anxiety and depression. My other limitation is a heart condition diagnosed in my early childhood that makes me predisposed to higher blood pressure. Because of the potential danger of being on a standard 35 microgram combination pill, my choices are only among low-dose estrogen perscriptions. I've cycled through probably five or six low-dose varieties and have not yet found one that fits my body chemistry: most trigger depression or wild mood swings and I feel out of control of my emotional state. The perscription that's worked best thus far is my current BC, NuvaRing, which provides only 15 micrograms of estrogen a day. But even at this low low dosage, I'm still having side effecs like constant spotting, bloating, and some emotional instability, though not as severe as my previous experience.
My inquiry is this: Has anyone else here been similarly susceptible to birth control side effects, but had to be on BC as treatment for endometriosis? Did you find a low dose perscription that worked well for you? Can anyone suggest other treatments like dietary restrictions or herbal supplements that have worked, either alone or in combination with other treatments? The NuvaRing is the best option I've tried, but it's far from perfect. I'm beginning to seriously worry that I won't find a treatment that works for my endometriosis yet allows me to feel normal. Any advice or suggestions welcome. Thank you.
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