Endometriosis and How I Fixed It
Ever since I was 11 years old, I suffered from endometriosis. That is up until a month before my 25th birthday. After having an endometrial cyst leak for two months I had had enough. I broke down on my gynecologist's table after he said, cysts are normal and it will go away. But it wasn't, this cyst was a hard mass filled with blood that when ruptured slowly leaks blood into your abdominal cavity. The pain was immense the night it first leaked. I lived with it for two months, it would come and go but there were two three terrible nights that I considered going to the emergency room. I was discouraged and didn't go because doctors are notorious for turning away women with menstrual issues.
My symptoms included:
- Severe lower abdominal pain
- Pain with intercourse
- Passing 3-4 quarter sized blood clots a day
- Loss of appetite
After that breakdown, he finally heard me and offered to do a laparoscopic surgery to drain the cysts and look for endometrial implants. Finally, after almost 14 years of chronic pain I would have a resolution.
Surgical options are sometimes the best
Surgery is the only way to diagnose endometriosis. It can be done laparoscopically through two tiny incisions, one through your belly button and another along your pubic hair line. It takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. When I had mine, he found multiple endometrial implants throughout my lower abdomen along with the blood filled cyst that was leaking and 2 follicular cysts that were hiding behind my ovaries. He removed the implants and drained the cysts. Just like that, so simple. Recovery takes around 3-4 days before you are completely back to normal with some restrictions for two weeks. No sex, no baths, no lifting anything over 5lbs.
But let me tell you, the recovery was nothing. If you experience endometriosis-related pain, this will be a walk in the park. When I woke up after the surgery I felt cold, and just a bit sore, as if I had done a bunch of crunches the night before. By the end of the day, I was walking around and getting yelled at for trying to do too much. I was pain-free(super high on anesthesia) and didn't want to wait one more day to enjoy just being able to do normal things.
If you are having reservations about getting this done, don't. Discuss your options with your doctor. The end result is much better than suffering. Don't let a doctor tell you this pain is normal.
Don't lay in bed and do nothing
Birth control is just a patch, the endometriosis is still there. It will never go away on its own. I tried the pill unsuccessfully. I still had breakthrough bleeding and pain every month, even when I skipped the placebo week. Then I tried the nuva ring, the dumbest form of birth control invented. It would fall out because I couldn't get it placed properly, and then the puking. Oh my god the puking, the large amounts of hormones absorbed into my body made me so sick. I pulled that thing out, threw it in the trash and never looked back. Finally, I had gotten approval from my insurance to get an IUD. This was before they put these in women who hadn't given birth previously, so I needed to have my doctor get the OK from the insurance. It worked for exactly one year before my endo had made a raging comeback. I had a month long period. Not just spotting or light bleeding. I went through 3-4 XL tampons a day and had to wear a very large diaper-like pad overnight. I was anemic by the end of that month. My doctor and I decided it was best to remove the IUD and let my cycle go back to normal on its own. I tried without birth control for about 7 months before I broke down and got the surgery. My endometriosis was so bad, no birth control would have helped at that point.
I decided to go ahead and try another IUD. The Skyla to be precise. It is a bit smaller than the Mirena and stay in for 3 years instead of 5. So far so good, I am only one month in and I forgot I had it up until a week ago when I had some weird cramps. What I mean by weird are very sharp random(1-2x a day) pains that would shoot all throughout my abdomen and upper thighs. My doctor told me this was normal because my uterus just figured out it has a foreign object in it and is trying to shake it loose to push out. But then my period started and It went away. Whew! Made it through that, and let me tell you, that was nothing compared to the cramps I had pre-surgery. The reason I got back on birth control was to essentially stop the growth of more endometrial implants. This is my last hurrah for birth control. If this doesn't work I am giving up and, tying my tubes. I will not be having children anyway, read my other article on that if you're interested to know about that aspect of my life.
On a scale from 1 to 10 how bad is your menstrual pain?
Long story short, this has been a 14-year battle for me. Don't let fight this battle on your own. Talk to your doctor and do something about it. Pain is not normal, cramps are, not pain. There is a big difference. Pain is shooting and sharp that prevents you from standing up, or getting our of bed. Pain is when you have to take pain killers constantly and in excess in order to get through just a few hours. Cramps are when you take a Midol and can still get dressed and go to work/school.
Don't let anyone tell you this is normal. It's not. Fight it.