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Endometriosis UK
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Birth control with Tumeric?

Hello all! Just got diagnosed with endo a couple months ago. They put me on a low dose combined birth control pill. I just started taking it this week but wondering why I'm still having pain. Has anyone had a good experience with a low dose BC? Also wondering if you've combined BC with Tumeric with any luck? I'm up for any suggestion on how to deal with the pain.

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Hi Emily welcome. I don’t know anything about what you posted but I’m sure ones on here do just didn’t want to pass by and not say hi. X

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Thanks for replying! Just seeing this sight exists helps me 👍 hope you’re finding ways to get help too.

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I would be very cautious. As far as I am aware Turmeric is both contraindicated for hormone sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, endometriosis, fibrosis etc, and some try to claim it may help. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which is very close in structure to oestrogen and can bind to the oestrogen receptor and thus mimic hormones, which has lead some people to concluding it may be beneficial for people with hormone sensitive conditions however, as far as I am aware, there has not been a single robust scientific study to demonstrate any positive effect. So I would be very cautious about using something that can mimic a hormone when very little is known about it

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Thanks! I’ll definitely be cautious and talk to my obgyn if she knows anything more about it... what about just combined contraceptives to help?

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Theres a lot of evidence to show the pill does lighten periods and can help with symptoms, though word of warning it may take a couple of cycles for it to really kick in due to the way they work. The combined contraceptive pill contains a mixture of oestrogen and progesterone, which prevents ovulation, the hormones can also make the lining of the womb thinner, hence periods become lighter over the course of a few months as the lining thins out. I’ve found it has helped me because otherwise I had wildly irregular periods, I could go 8 months without one then have 3 in the space of 6 weeks so knowing exactly when it was going to hit has helped me plan out pain relief and stuff. The pill normally does have side effects so don’t be afraid to experiment with a few different brands if one doesn’t work for you, or you get side effects don’t be scared to go back theres about 50 different ones on the market so they will find something that works.

Depending on how painful your periods are, you can talk to your obgyn about non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, these belong in the same group as ibuprofen, such as naproxen or mefeminic acid (which are stronger and hence on prescription), and how to take them in a way that is suitable for you. They’re painkillers which work by preventing the production of prostaglandins, these chemicals cause contractions and are thought to be the main producers of cramp and menstrual pain. There’s different theories about how is best to take them, if you take them when you start getting pain, or some doctors advise you to take them the day before your period starts so you are “ahead of the pain” in a sense. It truly depends on what your doc would recommend but depending on your symptoms the pill alone may not solve everything. The horrible thing about endo is it appears everyone is a little different and a lot of work does into getting a combo of medication that may help.

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Thank you so much for your in depth reply! What I'm finding is that I'm in pain most of the month especially right after I use the restroom or exercise...feels like an extreme bladder cramp or something. So I really want to figure out how to deal with it without taking painkillers every day =/, although right now they're pretty necessary for my pain. I'll definitely give this birth control some more time. I'm feeling slightly emotional and tired but nothing too unbearable yet. Thank you so much again!

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I get exactly the same symptoms and from what I have found in the scientific literature (and having spoken to a lab mate of mine who works on prostaglandins) is I think it’s likely the prostaglandins being released by endo tissue is causing the bladder to cramp and contract.

I’m going to be really picky because I often feel like theres misunderstandings about NSAIDs like ibuprofen etc, they’re technically not painkillers, they are anti-inflammatory drugs (and easing the inflammation is in turn what causes the pain to ease), they help address the underlying inflammation that causes the pain. There’s no shame in needing them, and I’m never a keen supporter of the “try and not take them” take full advantage of everything you can do to help. I would seriously get an appointment with your doctor and go in and discuss a pain management plan, I did this last month and I’m still on the same drugs as I was before but we’ve changed at what times I’m taking them etc to make them more effective.

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Wow! Glad to hear someone can relate to me, although I wish none of us were dealing with this. Okay, I’ll definitley talk more with my doctor about pain relief. What I’ve been doing so far is alternating between ibuprofen and Tylenol as to try not to hurt my stomach and liver too much :/

Which ibuprofen does definitely help...

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Hey, just wondering- is there any scientific evidence that turmeric is contraindicated with endo? I've been told and read completely the opposite so have just started taking it myself, but don't want to do any harm if I've missed something! My understanding is that it's one of the best natural anti-inflammatories available and is being investigated as an anti-cancer drug? Thanks!

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None either way that I have managed to find in humans specifically focused on endo, the studies come from mice or rats using experimental endometriosis models. While in these models Tumeric was shown to be effective in helping with the illness, the issue arises if you’re already on hormonal treatment such as the pill and or other contraceptives as most already have oestrogen in them, so if you’re taking turmeric on top of it, which can mimic the effect of oestrogen, there is the chance that you are increasing the effective dose of oestrogen in your body. This can inadvertently exacerbate hormonal dependent conditions due to high concentrations of oestrogen and can lead to unintended side effects. Furthermore Tumeric is metabolised by the liver, and hence if you’re on another medication that is also metabolised by certain liver enzymes you can block those enzymes and lead to increase drug concentration in the blood – this is the same reason why there’s notices on some boxes saying not to eat grapefruit with certain drugs as it means they are not metabolismed and can build up in the body.

Despite it being sold in health food stores etc it is not something I would personally consider safe without consultation with your medical staff, to make sure there are no drug interactions and it’s safe with the dosage of contraceptive you are on.

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Hmmm, I see your point. But equally I don’t think we have any evidence that turmeric consumption increases effective estranged circulation, or even just that turmeric blocks the oestrogen-breakdown enzyme? Because by that logic, we (and anyone on birth control in fact) should be seeking to avoid turmeric and many other anti-inflammatories in our diet. Wish I could ask my doctor but every doctor I’ve ever asked just says they can’t reccomend anything that the nhs doesn’t prescribe! But it’s true experimenting on yourself is not necessarily wise 😂

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No research has been done on the interaction of turmeric and birth control, however given the molecular mechanism of the compounds that is in turmeric, you are taking something that acts the same as oestrogen, on top of birth control that has oestrogen in it, with little to no evidence to suggest so that it is safe in the long run, or it is beneficial. We do know from animal studies that turmeric has been shown to bind to and activate the oestrogen receptor, and we do know that excess oestrogen can cause lots of other problems.

Compounds in turmeric are metabolised by the enzymes Cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) and Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) which also metabolises a huge number of medications that include some antidepressants, antianxiety, antipsychotics, antibiotic and antifungal drugs. There is also evidence to show that turmeric can slow blood clotting, NSAIDs like diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen and mefeminic acid also do this as well, meaning if you are taking it with these drugs there is a chance you could affect clotting which is not that great an idea.

The thing with trials are, when they’re done in humans they’re done on people who aren’t taking anything else, the same with animal studies, when using experimental models of endometriosis these researchers are looking at mice with endo, taking only turmeric…that doesn’t mean it’s safe and effect to take at the dose humans would, it doesn’t inform us on the side effects, nor does it tell us if its safe to take in combination with other drugs. Also when you’re taking it in pill form, you’re taking thousands of times the normal dosage you’d get from eating a curry or eating something with turmeric in it, so low dose turmeric in your diet is unlikely to cause problems. However the research is a reason to be excited for the future, it appears a compound named curcumin (it produces the bright yellow colour) is the main mediator of turmerics anti-inflammatory effects in animal studies. However, it is not very stable, which is making its development as a drug difficult, but, should that be overcome development of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory drug is exceptionally likely.

I realise I'm one of the more radically pro-science people about but, it does worry me that people take supplements that are not robustly clinically tested, and where the drug interactions are not fully understood.

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Thanks for your reply. I’m actually a scientist myself so I do appreciate evidence-based caution and being mindful of drug interactions! But in my opinion we don’t yet have sufficient evidence of negative interactions to the detriment of overall health either to be able to advise anyone on birth control not to consume turmeric or other similar supplements. If we did, it’d be fairly high-impact considering the amount of women who do take turmeric whilst on birth control! For example, I don’t think we have evidence that turmeric “acts the same as oestrogen” in humans, even if it activates the same receptors in animal models. Blocking the metabolising enzymes also seems logical, but again no evidence just yet. But of course you’re right that highly bioavailable forms of curcumin should prompt more caution. It is definitely an interesting research area!

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Hey!

They put me on the pill to begin with..it only helped for a few months..but then the pain was back all day every day.

I had my lap a week ago and had a Mirena Coil fitted but I still have bad pain all day everyday.

Did they take your endo away? Or did they just put you on the pill..as they didn't take mine even though it's covering both ovaries and womb..When I go back in 6 months I'm going to say I want it taken away as I'm still in pain everyday..I don't think there is any Miracle cure except have it taken away!

Hope you feel better :-) x

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Thanks for replying! No, I havent gotten it taken out... they just put me on the pill....sorry you feel pain every day =/

I hope they figure out a cure soon!

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Hi! I always think If you've got endo and they know the person is suffering..they should give you the option of having it taken away..I thought if they found anything during my lap they would take it then and there but the never! Why leave some in pain and other daily problems! :-( xx

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Hi Emily :) welcome I take the pill loestrin back to back for 3 months and then I have a break and repeat that’s the only thing that keeps the pain away it takes time, I usually felt pain relief after the first 3 months and I also take a daily tumeric supplement :) there have been studies to show tumeric inhibits endometriosis growths at the same time it is highly anti inflammatory it helps a lot with all kinds of pain , I’ve nevef really stopped taking tumeric (curcumin from Holland and baretts) I’m very sure it has helped reduced my back pain I think anything purely natural is far better In my opinion. I highly recommend you try going gluten and dairy freee this really helps too :) xxx

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Thanks so much for your reply!! I'm taking something pretty similar to loestrin. Yeah I keep reading about how great Turmeric is but have seen that it also can mess with your hormones too. Can I ask you what dosage you take every day? I love cheese, creamer, and bread!!! But I'll definitely try that too... also can you take turmeric while taking tylenol? Also how long did it take for the turmeric to work?

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I took lo loestrin after my c section and it really messed up my body even more than pregnancy hormones. Ive been doing acupuncture to try to help my hormones after coming off it. I take turmeric every night since it fights inflammation, but it is more bioavailable when you use it in your cooking. Nicole jardim is an expert on what to take for certain conditions related to the menstrual cycle and hormones.

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