Part Two: What is it like to Have Endometriosis?
Every month as you move through your cycle, endometrial growths (in addition to the normal endometrial cells inside your uterus) swell up with prostaglandin which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, cramping (mild to severe), and even flu-like symptoms. Endometriosis symptoms are typically more severe than regular menstrual symptoms, interfere with work/school/life, and are not remedied by over the counter medication. Endometriosis is categorized into five stages based upon what we find during surgery, not based on your pain level. These stages are minimal, mild, moderate, severe, and extensive.
Sahara, a local patient, describes her experience with Endometriosis, “Endo flares sucker punch. This has been my whole day. I look pregnant from bloating. My right ovary is in knots of pain that radiates out, up, and down my right side, down into my hip and up into my ribcage. Standing straight and tall is not an option.
I always wonder if anyone else is wondering why my pictures are often of me, in a bath, with my feet up. Again and again. Answer: It’s been recorded by doctors that heat aids with full-body Endometriosis symptoms. Many women report relief with a very hot bath, add magnesium sulfate that that mix and you have ‘pain relief soup.’ Bath is life.
Another question I’ve been asked, ‘You’ve had the surgery [Laparoscopic Excision], aren’t you better now?’ (It was phrased this way exactly.) Boy, do I wish it were that easy.
According to my specialist, since my Endometriosis had 15 years to go undiagnosed it is likely in my body in multiple areas, and not all lessons are large enough to be found with surgery or MRI, even tiny endo tumors release hormones that affect and harm the body.
I will continue to have MRIs to look for the Endo for reoccurring Neuroendocrine tumors (what they found on my appendix). In the meantime, it’s drugs and physical therapy for P.F.D. (pelvic floor dysfunction). To sum it up, no, I’m not better yet. I’m way better than I was before my surgery and I’m so thankful for that… but as my specialist said, ‘This isn’t going to just go away.’”
What can we do about endometriosis?
Endometriosis cannot be prevented with modern medicine, however, the symptoms can be treated and mitigated by surgery, LNG-IUD (Mirena), Liletta (which is local hormone therapy) or systemic hormone therapy (Orlissa). Recommended treatment approaches vary depending on how severe each individual case is. Depending on the patient, the most effective treatment can be performing a complete hysterectomy because the body no longer has the hormone cycles that cause the endometriosis to wax and wane. It’s important to realize that while mild period cramps are normal, severe period pain is abnormal. If you, or a family member, are experiencing severe period pain, please call our office at 530-345-0064, extension 281 to make an appointment. If we catch the Endometriosis early, we can contain it and prevent it from rapidly spreading. We can also provide you with options to help you mitigate or manage your symptoms. If you are struggling with Endometriosis or any kind of chronic illness, please take care and remember you are not alone.