Prescription Options

Could Depo Provera Treat Endometriosis?

October 1, 2018

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grows in other areas of the body — most commonly on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, along with other organs in the pelvic area. It can cause discomfort and irregular bleeding.

Endometriosis is a common problem, affecting approximately 5.5 million American girls and women of reproductive age.

Symptoms also seem to get worse around the time or your period.

There’s no cure for endometriosis. If it is not treated, however, it may decrease your chances of having the ability to become pregnant later on. Endometriosis is one of the top 3 causes of infertility. The objective of treatment is to control pain and stop the endometriosis from getting worse. Treatment may include medication and/or operation. The type of therapy you may seek usually is dependent upon the severity of your symptoms and whether or not you may want to become pregnant.

Depo-subQ Provera 104 is a contraceptive injection which comprises the progestin, medroxyprogesterone acetate. It obtained FDA-approval in March 2005 for treating endometriosis-related pain. This FDA-approval served as the first new medical cure for endometriosis pain relief in 15 years. Although this FDA-approval does not apply to the first Depo Provera shot, Depo Provera injections may also help treat the pain related to endometriosis.

How Does Depo Provera Help Treat Endometriosis Pain?

The progestin in Depo Provera is thought to help suppress the growth of endometrial tissue and might also reduce endometriosis-induced inflammation.

During your usual menstrual cycle, your hormones cause the lining of your uterus to thicken in preparation for a pregnancy.

If you do not get pregnant, the lining of the uterus sheds, and you bleed (that is exactly what causes your period). The hormones that control your menstrual cycle obviously rise and fall through your cycle. This rising and falling might lead to endometriosis symptoms to become worse. Also, if you have endometriosis, even when you have your period, the bleeding not just comes in the lining of the uterus — the endometrial tissue that has grown outside your uterus also bleeds. When this blood touches other organs, it can cause scarring and inflammation which is what causes pain.

The use of Depo Provera allows your hormone levels to stay stable throughout your cycle. It can help to narrow the lining of the uterus — this may lead to milder periods or none at all. Depo Provera can also prevent ovulation and lowers the total amount of estrogen circulating in the human body. The notion here is that the less estrogen stimulation the Candida tissue receives, the cell action occurs. This slows down the growth rate of this tissue. Just enjoy the lining of the uterus responds to such hormone levels, the mucous system does also.

What Other Medicines Treat Endometriosis?

Prior to using hormone therapy (like Depo Provera) for the treatment of endometriosis, GnRH agonists (such as leuprolide) have been the principal medication prescribed for endometriosis pain-relief.

This medication is a version of a naturally occurring hormone, also called a gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which helps to control the menstrual cycle. If you use leuprolide, it basically stops all ovarian and hormone action. Leuprolide is also associated with important negative effects, some of which include:

  • Vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, palpitations, sweating)
  • Bone reduction
  • Hypoestrogenic symptoms (vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleep disturbances)
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido

What Does the Research Say about Depo Provera vs. Leuprolide?

Among the most famous studies in this field compared Depo-subQ Provera 104 and leuprolide use in 257 girls who had been laparoscopically diagnosed with endometriosis.

There were 153 girls who used Depo-subQ Provera 104 and 146 women who used leuprolide throughout for 6 months. The results demonstrated that:

  • Depo-subQ Provera 104 is equally as effective for treating pain caused by endometriosis as leuprolide.
  • The two Depo-subQ Provera 104 and leuprolide use effectively reduced pain at the five main Illness symptoms: pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, pelvic tenderness, dyspareunia (painful sex), and induration (hardening and thickening of tissue).
  • Following 6 months of usage, Depo-subQ Provera 104 resulted in less bone mineral density reduction than leuprolide. In 12 months post-treatment, bone loss levels returned to pre-treatment amounts for Depo-subQ Provera 104 users, but maybe not for those who used leuprolide.
  • Both drugs equally contributed to significant improvements in quality of life and complete productivity.

The researchers reasoned that Depo-subQ Provera 104 treats pain caused by endometriosis as efficiently as leuprolide. But girls who employed Depo-subQ Provera 104 reported significantly less vasomotor (such as hot flashes or sweats) symptoms and hypoestrogenic symptoms (like sleep disturbances, mood changes, and vaginal irritation) and experienced significantly less decline in bone mineral density compared to women who used leuprolide. So, not only is it an effective contraceptive, Depo-subQ Provera 104 is as suitable and effective a treatment option as leuprolide for treating endometriosis-related pain.

Additional research also confirms the results. In fact, researchers examined all the studies that investigated using progestin for treating endometriosis that were printed in the previous decade (1993-2003). The combined results of all these studies demonstrated that medroxyprogesterone acetate, the progestin at Depo Provera is just as effective as GnRH agonists (leuprolide) in lessening endometriosis-related pain and in improving medical quality of life problems. The authors further explain that Depo Provera use in women with symptomatic endometriosis led to a substantial decrease in pain symptoms and cause a decrease in brand new endometriosis tissue development.

Depo Provera as an Endometriosis Remedy: The Last Word

Depo Provera has been used to successfully treat endometriosis. The main reason for its efficacy is that Depo Provera can assist in preventing ovulation. Depo Provera directly impacts the endometrial tissue by inducing it to thin out — this leads to lower levels of menstrual bleeding — which leads to pain relief.

However, Depo Provera might be much more temporary treatment for endometriosis. Though it’s successful in the short term, after stopping Depo Provera, there is a high chance that endometrial tissue growth will return. Depo Provera does not cure infertility related to endometriosis. If you want to become pregnant, surgery may be the best treatment option for endometriosis.

Depo Provera is as effective as leuprolide and other GnRH agonists in treating endometriosis-related pain. But, leuprolide is significantly more costly and is associated with much more embarrassing side effects. That having been said, there Depo Provera includes a black box security warning — when employed for two or more decades, Depo Provera can increase the reduction in your bones (that contributes to an increased risk of osteoporosis). Depo Provera use can also delay the recurrence of your fertility (roughly 50 percent of girls are going to have the ability to get pregnant in 10 months following their last Depo Provera injection, but it can take around 18 weeks for fertility to return). Some women report intermittent or continuous bleeding when using Depo Provera together with other unwanted side effects. Unfortunately, as soon as you are granted a Depo Provera injection, if you’re displeased with the unwanted effects, you should wait out the three-month time frame until all the hormones out of this contraceptive gradually renders your body. Therefore, if you are considering using Depo Provera as a treatment choice for your endometriosis, be sure to speak with your physician, so the two of you are able to find out whether the pain-relief which Depo Provera can offer outweighs these possible dangers.