How Do You Treat Endometriosis? Trump's Birth Control Order Puts Women With The Condition At Risk
One of the scariest part of Trump's birth control order is how many women will be unable to afford access to birth control— whether they're using it to prevent pregnancy or as a treatment for another health condition. Many people don't realize how many different conditions birth control is used for, but it is a crucial part of many women's health management.
But before we look at the other benefits of birth control, let me say one thing loud and clear: We should not have to talk about the other things birth control does besides prevent pregnancy to justify it being covered by insurance. The fact that it prevents pregnancy is important and it is enough. Women have a right to do with their bodies and that fact that some people might not like the idea of preventing pregnancy does not mean that we need to come up with other reasons to justify it.
That being said, it's important to acknowledge the other health issues that will be left untreated because of a lack of access to birth control. An endometriosis is one of those.
If you're not familiar with endometriosis, it's when tissue similar to the endometrium— which should be inside the uterus— is found outside of the uterus and in other parts of the body. The most common side effect of this is pelvic pain, though other side effects include long periods, heavy cramps, bowel and urinary disorders, and even infertility. Endometriosis affects over 175 million worldwide and, in the US, it is estimated that 10 percent of women are affected. Though not every woman will have every symptom and side effect, for many the pain is completely debilitating.
"I was so incredibly isolated for several years because I was too fatigued and worn out to hang out with friends. I had a reputation as the 'fun police' and most people who I thought were my friends ended up dropping me," Kyra Yeo, who struggles with endometriosis, tells Bustle. "There were some days that I didn't know how I could possibly survive and I didn't know how to live my life like that."
There are different ways that women try to tackle endometriosis, but one way to treat the pain is through birth control. It doesn't cure endometriosis, but it does help to alleviate symptoms. "Endometriosis leads to severe pain during menstruation due to the fact that endometrial tissue that lines the uterus has grown in other areas of the body," Rachel Gelman, DPT and Director of the San Francisco Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center, tells Bustle. "This tissue still behaves as regular endometrial tissue, but since it is not in the uterus it has no where to go during menstruation and instead thickens and gets stuck wherever it is in the body." If that sounds painful, it's because it really, really is.
"Some forms of birth control impact hormone levels which can suppress menstruation and therefore can decrease the symptoms of endometriosis," Gelman says. "...Birth control can help decrease pain severity allowing individuals to be more functional and complete activities of daily living. Removing the mandate may mean that some individuals may miss more days of school or work due to their debilitating pain levels."
So many women are rightfully worried about what will happen if their birth control is no longer covered through their insurance. Here's why they are at risk.
Birth control can help women with pain, fertility, and so much more.
TALK TO ME WHEN YOU HAVE ENDOMETRIOSIS, OVARIAN CYSTS, PAINFUL IRREGULAR CYCLES ETC... BC is for more than just our sex lives you pig https://t.co/FVC4dEB7zI— Sarah Hyland (@Sarah_Hyland) October 6, 2017
Using it for your sex life is totally great, but it's amazing how many people don't realize the other reasons women take the pill.
Absent menstrual periods, menstrual cramps, PMS, endometriosis, Primary Ovarian Insufficiency, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - all treated by BC https://t.co/O7mGcVis07— Remy Carreiro (@Remy_Anne) October 8, 2017
It's not the only medical condition treated through birth control.
People saying women only use birth control for sex is getting me heated as hell. Apparently you've never heard of PCOS or endometriosis— Shanae (@CarpenterShanae) October 7, 2017
As someone who used the pill to treat PCOS during my teenage years, I totally agree.
I have severe endometriosis that has resulted in two surgeries. The medical treatment is birth control medication. #birthcontrol— Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) October 6, 2017
The long-term effects of endometriosis can be devastating, but the pill can help make life more bearable.
American Men: we can’t get it up— ⚖️Ms. Mueller⚖️ (@wethefreople) October 6, 2017
GOP: here, have some viagra
American Women: we want to prevent pregnancy, cysts, fibroids, severe PMS, migraines and treat endometriosis
GOP: lolololol go home, sluts #HandsOffMyBC
THIS. SO MUCH THIS.
I have endometriosis. I can't have kids. I'm on the pill because it's helping my horrible throbbing cramps not be as horrible.— Addy Payne (@AddyPayne90) October 6, 2017
Even Mara Wilson AKA Matilda gets it. People like Addy shouldn't have to suffer.
I'm from the UK, I need birth control to help with endometriosis, it's free for me. I can't believe the US can behave like this to women.— Emma (@emmajo15) October 6, 2017
In other countries, this isn't the way that women are treated. Their right to basic health care is protected.
Listening to the brutal details makes it clear just how necessary access to birth control is.
BC is also used for the following:— Lauren Mitchell (@LawhhRenny14) October 8, 2017
1. Ovarian cysts
3. Menstruation & hormonal regulation
4. You're a dumbass https://t.co/7M87aGOZVH
So many women with awful periods will know how much birth control can help.
Why should women with endometriosis be forced to suffer?
BC treats irregular periods, cramps, endometriosis, acne, and prevents unwanted pregnancy— Maria Onusko (@monusko215) October 7, 2017
Birth control is NOT controversial#HandsOffMyBC
Not controversial, not at all.
#HandsOffMyBC the fact that the one thing that is preventing my endometriosis is being more regulated than guns right now is infuriating— Madisen Toth (@frenchietoth) October 6, 2017
And this horrifying truth.
Birth control is important for a lot of reasons— one of them is preventing unwanted pregnancies. But listening to women who suffer from endometriosis shows just how crucial birth control is for them. And how infuriating it is that this administration doesn't respect our basic right to access health care.