If you find yourself avoiding the word “pain” when talking to your gynecologist, you may benefit from desensitization. The goal of desensitization is to desensitize the brain to the sensation of pain. This can be done with a series of injections.
Desensitization injections are typically given by a specialist called a pain management specialist or gynaecologist.
Desensitization injections are given to:
- People who have had a bad reaction to treatment for endometriosis
- People who have had a bad reaction to pain-relieving medications, such as opioids
- People who have a history of drug abuse involving opioids
- People who were given an incorrect dose of a pain-relieving medication
- People who are being treated for ovarian cancer
Desensitization is not a substitute for getting a diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis.
What the research says?
A meta-analysis study looked at the results of studies that compared pain and health outcomes for endometriosis patients who received desensitization and those who received a placebo.
In this study, people who received the placebo had a 27 percent increased risk of developing a pain disorder (such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or chronic pelvic pain), while those who received desensitization had a 36 percent decreased risk.
A review study looked at other studies that looked at the effects of desensitization on endometriosis pain. After reviewing these studies, the researchers concluded that desensitization had an overall positive effect on pain. However, they also noted that the evidence wasn’t strong enough for doctors to recommend desensitization as an option for reducing endometriosis pain.
What you can do?
For people who have had a bad reaction to a pain-relieving medication, you may benefit from desensitization if you’re experiencing pain. People who have been given a treatment with opioids or are being treated for ovarian cancer may benefit from desensitization.
For people who have had a bad reaction to endometriosis surgery or who have endometriosis symptoms that don’t go away, you may benefit from desensitization.
Desensitization is not an alternative for getting a diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis.
If you’re considering desensitization, talk with your doctor to make sure it’s the best option for you.
How to prepare?
Desensitization shouldn’t be done without your doctor’s approval. Talk with your doctor about desensitization before any treatments are given, so that you understand what to expect.
Your doctor may also want to do a physical exam beforehand. This will allow them to check for any signs of infection or other complications, and to rule out any other health concerns.
What happens during desensitization?
Your doctor will explain what will happen during the desensitization procedure.
Typically, the initial injections are given by a pain management specialist or gynaecologist. The injections are given in two separate locations:
- Peritoneal injection: One injection is given into the peritoneum. This is the tissue that lines the inside of your abdomen, just above your pelvic area. The location of the injection may be slightly different for each person.
- Intestinal injection: One injection is given into the lower intestine. This is the tissue that runs through your abdomen and down to your small intestine.
After the injections, you’ll need to wait a few days to a week to see if the desensitization process has worked. You may need to follow up with your doctor for a few days or weeks afterward.
What happens after desensitization?
You may need to follow up with your doctor to make sure that the desensitization process has worked.
It’s important to stay in touch with your doctor after desensitization to make sure that the treatment is working. Some of the symptoms of endometriosis may return after desensitization, so it’s important to return to see your doctor for follow-up.
If your treatment doesn’t work, it may be possible to try other treatments.
Is desensitization effective?
The research that’s been done so far suggests that desensitization may be effective at helping people with endometriosis control their pain.
However, more research is needed to fully understand how desensitization works and what the long-term effects are.
What are the risks and side effects?
Some people may experience side effects after receiving desensitization. These may include:
- Pain that’s worse than before desensitization
- Belly pain
These side effects usually only last a few days after the desensitization procedure.
If you have endometriosis, your doctor will likely monitor you while you’re receiving the injections. They may also give you a steroid medication to help with any pain and other symptoms.
How do you prepare for desensitization?
You’ll need to tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking. They’ll also ask you about any medications you’re taking, including pain-relieving medications.
You’ll need to stop taking these medications for a couple of days before the procedure.
What happens during the procedure?
Before the desensitization procedure, your doctor will give you an injection into your abdomen to numb the area. They’ll then place a local anesthetic to numb the injection sites.
You’ll be asked to lie down on a table while your doctor performs the procedure. Your doctor will use a small needle to inject either the peritoneal or the intestinal area.
Your doctor will inject the medication one of two ways:
- Peritoneal injection: The medication is injected into the peritoneum. This is the tissue that lines the inside of your abdomen.
- Intestinal injection: The medication is injected into the lower intestine. This is the tissue that runs through your abdomen and down to your small intestine.
After your injections, you may need to wait for a few days to a week to see if the desensitization process has worked. You may need to follow up with your doctor for a few days or weeks afterward.
What does the desensitization process involve?
Before you receive the injections, your doctor will give you a physical exam to check for any signs of infection or other complications.
They’ll also perform a blood test to rule out any other health conditions that may be causing your symptoms.
If you’re being given the peritoneal injections, your doctor will also give you local anesthesia to numb the injection site. They’ll then inject the medication into the peritoneum.
If you’re being given the intestinal injections, your doctor will give you local anesthesia to numb the injection site. They’ll then inject the medication into the lower intestine.
What should I expect after the treatment?
After the desensitization injections are given, you may need to wait several days to a week to see if the desensitization process has worked. You may need to follow up with your doctor for a few days or weeks afterward.
If the desensitization process doesn’t work, your doctor may give you another injection.
You may also need to take anti-inflammatory medication for a few days to a week.
What is the long-term outlook for desensitization?
Desensitization is the process of temporarily suppressing your immune system to help your body adapt to the effects of endometriosis.
The long-term outlook for desensitization depends on the severity of your symptoms.
If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend other treatments. These may include:
- Surgery to remove your endometriosis
- Surgery to remove your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or scar tissue
- Hormone therapy to help control your symptoms
If your symptoms are mild or moderate, you may be able to manage your symptoms by taking a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
If these treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove your endometriosis.
What is the bottom line?
Desensitization may help you manage your symptoms of endometriosis and reduce your pain.
What’s the takeaway?
Desensitization can help you feel better after a bad reaction to medications or surgery used to treat endometriosis.
Desensitization can also help reduce how much pain you feel.
Generated by AI