Oral Contraceptives: Potential Treatment Option For Endometriosis And Uterine fibroids

Updated on June 3, 2023

Do you feel unbearable period cramps? Is your period flow unusual every other month? 

These are all symptoms of Endometriosis. It is a painful condition that can interfere with your daily life. Endometriosis causes tissue similar to the uterine lining to grow in other areas of your abdomen and pelvic area. Experiencing pelvic pain, or painful urination might be an accompanying feature. Every woman experiences manifestations of endometriosis differently.

Medications are often used to help control the symptoms of endometriosis in multiple forms. Oral contraceptives often help people have lighter, less painful periods. To learn more about this condition, find Oral Contraceptive Clinical Trials near you.

About Oral Contraceptives

Consider using any of a class of synthetic steroid hormones, to suppress the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Oral contraceptives used to combat endometriosis and fibroids is making the rounds for quite some time. The two female hormones, FSH and LH stimulate the release of estrogen from the ovaries, which in turn stimulates ovulation. However, when FSH and LH are suppressed, the chances of ovulation and therefore fertilization are significantly reduced.

Oral contraceptives are drugs efficient enough to manage endometriosis and fibroid-related pelvic or menstrual cramps. Some other advantages of oral contraceptives are:

  • Uninterrupted sex
  • Regulates menstrual bleeding, making them lighter and less painful
  • Reduces your risk of cancer of the ovaries, womb, and colon
  • Reduces PMS symptoms(premenstrual syndrome)
  • Balances hormones to reduce acne
  • Safeguards against pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Protection against pregnancy

Many commercial preparations of oral contraceptives contain a combination of estrogen (estradiol) and progesterone (commonly norethindrone). In general, a recommended dosage of oral contraceptives is in a monthly regimen that parallels the menstrual cycle. The mechanism of the action takes time to work before producing results. Therefore, pregnancy protection is frequently ineffective until the second or third pharmacological cycle. 

Progestin-only preparations (also called Minipill) work by thickening the mucus lining the cervix, making it more acidic. This renders the ovaries hostile to the implantation of eggs following fertilization. A drawback of progestin-only preparations is that it is somewhat less reliable than combination preparations. While an advantage that enables its use is fewer side effects associated with it. In certain cases, progestin may be infused intramuscularly as a deposit that slowly releases the hormone throughout one to three months.

Understanding Endometriosis and Uterine Fibroids

Before we delve into how these 2 conditions are alike and how they differ, let’s first have a look at their definition.

  1. Uterine Fibroids: Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous, smooth muscular tumors. They grow inside your uterus from the layers of the womb, outside your uterus, or in the wall lining of the uterus. Uterine fibroids often appear during the child-bearing era. Fibroids are almost always benign(not cancerous) and never develop into cancer. A dangerous characteristic of fibroids is that not all fibroids are symptomatic. Those with symptomatic fibroids( heavy menstrual bleeding and pain) find it hard to live with them. Treatment for uterine fibroids depends on the intensity of your symptoms.

  2.  Endometriosis: A condition in which endometrial-like tissues (like the lining of the uterus) grow outside of the uterus where it doesn’t belong. The abnormal overgrowth attaches itself to organs, outside the uterus such as fallopian tubes, bladder, large intestine, and even the lungs. In endometriosis, the body is unable to get rid of these tissues as it does in a normal menstrual cycle. Therefore, the tissue build happens over time, creating cysts. As the scar tissue forms around them, symptoms such as pain and discomfort evoke. It is estimated to affect more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44.

Diagnosing fibroids and endometriosis

At a doctor’s visit, you may have a preliminary diagnosis of fibroids or endometriosis after hearing about the patient’s symptoms and conducting a pelvic examination. Doctors may also recommend an MRI or ultrasound to:

  • Withdraw the fibroids 
  • Evaluate the count 
  • Where are they located

While a doctor may also use ultrasound and an MRI to detect endometriosis, a true diagnosis can only be made with surgery. Without surgery, the doctor can assume the diagnosis based on information gained from testing and symptoms.

Who is at risk?

Women of childbearing age may be affected by either fibroids or endometriosis.

  • Women of all ages are at risk for endometriosis, often those in their teen and young adult years. (14-55 years)
  • Fibroids on the other hand, often affect women between the ages of 35-49 years. According to studies, African-American women are at a higher rate of risk than other racial groups, putting them at increased vulnerability for uterine fibroids.

Endometriosis vs Uterine Fibroids

How strongly do you believe the characteristics of endometriosis and uterine fibroids are related? Pelvic pain is certainly not the only symptom they share in common. The truth of the matter is, that the two would be positioned extremely close to one another on a family tree if you were to put them together.

With both endometriosis and uterine fibroids, some women may not have any symptoms at all. While many others may encounter inconvenient or catastrophic symptoms which might disrupt their everyday life.

You might come across various similarities and differences between uterine fibroids and endometriosis symptoms. A major similarity is where they both form (location of occurrence). Symptoms associated with the conditions are:

  • Prolonged menstrual periods
  • Abnormal bleeding during periods
  • Frequent micturition
  • Pelvic pain or pressure due to overgrowth of tissues
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Constipation 
  • Bloating
  • Pain before and during periods
  • Fatigue
  • Painful micturition during periods
  • Painful bowel movements during periods
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Delve into what they share in common

  • Pelvic Pain- Painful sex and localized pelvic pain pelvic is shared by both.
  • Infertility- As a consequence of severe cases of either condition, fertility can be adversely impacted.
  • Growths- Both are associated with abnormal growths of varying sizes.
  • Heaving Menstrual Cycle Bleeding- A common characteristic.

Other than mirror symptoms, some evident differences exist between the two: 

  • Timing of Pain- Although both of the conditions are capable of painful onset during the menstrual cycle. Endometriosis-related pain happens before the cycle starts and at other times when urinating while menstruating.
  • Constipation – Large tumors such as uterine fibroids can interfere with normal bowel movements, causing constipation.
  • Longer Menstrual Cycles- Menstrual cycles last longer than usual(>7- days) with uterine fibroids.

How They Differ is as follows

Endometriosis vs. uterine fibroids, it is crucial to analyze and recognize the distinction between them. Yet, several women compare these illnesses for a precise reason, stating that they have a lot in common.

  • Where they Grow- Endometriosis-like tissues grow and attach themselves to different organs. Whereas fibroid tumors only affect the uterus.
  • Timing of Pain- While pain is common in both, endometriosis-related pain can happen before the cycle begins, and while urinating during the cycle.
  • Constipation- A feature associated with fibroid tumors.
  • Longer Menstrual Cycles- Cycle prolongs in fibroid tumors.

Impact on pregnancy

Is endometriosis vs fibroids the same thing? Well, both are gynecological conditions associated with the:

  • Greater risk for infertility
  • Difficulty with fertility or pregnancy

Certain similarities exist between the 2 conditions. In some instances, women might have endometriosis and fibroid disease overlapping at once. Theoretically speaking, both are two different conditions, requiring different diagnostic approaches for confirmation as well as different treatment strategies accordingly.

Common gynecological conditions (endometriosis vs fibroids) impose difficulty in conceiving, but it is still possible to become pregnant with either condition. Some women experience no symptoms or issues during their pregnancy, while others may experience complications in such cases.

A few examples of complications in the presence of fibroids and endometriosis are:

  • If the fibroids continue to grow during pregnancy, they can take up the space available inside the womb needed for the baby’s growth. This might interfere with normal delivery, acting as a prerequisite for Cesarean section delivery. 
  • Endometriosis can also cause complications during pregnancy, including an increased risk of miscarriage and preeclampsia. 

Your doctor will likely express a desire to keep a sharp eye on your health if you become pregnant whilst having endometriosis or fibroids.


Similar Symptoms of completely different conditions are the case in Endometriosis vs. fibroid tumors. In most cases, both diseases manifest themselves with unpleasant symptoms, which are very similar. Understanding the manifestation of the disease concerning age is important. The sooner endometriosis is diagnosed, the better the prognosis of the patient with therapy. The goal is to prevent further progression and maintain reproductive health, and quality of life in general

Exploring effective treatment options in oral contraceptive clinical studies may be a possibility if you or a loved one is dealing with endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Participants who meet the requirements get free study-related medical care as well as travel reimbursement. To discover other research options and to learn more about these projects you can visit clinical research centers.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.