Some of you may have read my blog entry about tampons and dioxins (if you haven’t, you can here), which struck up a conversation with one of my friends : what about rayon in clothes?
So, while I began my research I decided to do something different. Rather than write a blog about rayon and the possible exposure to chemicals and dioxin, I decided to just share the links with you. There are many!
If you’re worried about over-exposure to chemicals, toxins, or dioxins with your food and household products, what about your clothing? It’s on you all day, and up against your skin – soaking in all things!!
Is there merit behind these articles? That’s your question to answer…Happy reading!
Body Ecology – The Top 6 Fabrics You Should Avoid Wearing and Why
ESSAI – Can This Outfit Make Me Toxic? written April 1, 2011, by Alana Shuma
Today is October 21, 2016 – the day for the “Be Bold, Be Bald” cancer awareness and fundraiser campaign. So, while I wear my fancy bald cap in solidarity of my friends and loved ones who are either still fighting cancer, have survived, or have passed on – I’m using today’s festivities as inspiration for today’s quote:
“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.” ~Audre Lorde (who passed in 1992 from liver cancer)
Audre’s words ring true for SO many issues in life. Talk about things: with your friends, your family, your physicians, strangers – bridge those gaps. You have no idea what similarities you share or what insights you may provide.
To any of my EndoSisters, or friends/family who want to learn about Endometriosis, please sign up for this FREE webinar hosted by the Endometriosis Family Support Group via RMC Charitable Foundation. It will take place on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, at 7:00pm Pacific Standard Time. Dr. Andrew Cook is considered one of the few “excision experts” in California, his office staff are absolutely incredible to talk to, and the Vital Health Institute has been so supportive for our blog’s library.
You *must* email Erin@RMCcharity.org in order to get the webinar information and to register for the event. I know what I’ll be doing next Tuesday evening!
One of our local EndoSisters has recently been diagnosed with endometrial polyps, something I know absolutely nothing about. So what happens when I know nothing? I research!
What is a polyp?
A polyp is an abnormal overgrowth of tissue, usually a lump, bump, or stalky growth (hence the mushrooms above). They’re most commonly found in the colon, but can be found in the uterus (known as uterine or endometrial polyps), cervix, stomach, throat, nose, and ear canal. There can be just one polyp…or there can be lots.
There can be just one polyp…
Most polyps are benign (non-cancerous), but there may be a risk that these abnormal cells may develop into cancerous ones. And they can range in size from a sesame seed all the way up to the size of an orange.
Today we’ll be focusing solely on endometrial polyps. If you’d like to read the symptoms of other polyps, please click here. Endometrial polyps only grow along the inside of the uterus, up against the lining.
Before I go into what the symptoms are…I need you to understand that many women do not have any symptoms or complaints – and endometrial polyps may be discovered during routine ultrasounds.
Symptoms of endometrial polyps may include infertility, irregular menstrual bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding, severe menstrual cramping, bleeding between periods, bleeding after sex, and even vaginal bleeding after menopause. Some women even complain of brown discharge for several days after their periods. This sloughing may occur because polyps may rub the inside of the uterus, causing irritation and exposing blood vessels, which may bleed. Infertility may be caused by polyps blocking the fallopian tubes or even inflamed uterine lining being unable to accept an egg, interfering with the egg and sperm doing their happy dance. Endometrial polyps have been known to interfere with IVF treatments and they should be removed prior to starting IVF treatment.
While we’re talking about vagina, I just want to note that cervical polyps can also cause unusual discharge, bleeding during sex, or even heavier bleeding during periods.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms and don’t know why (or know why, but may suspect something more), have a talk with your doctor. I know a lot of these symptoms mirror symptoms of Endometriosis…Self-advocacy is soooo important.
Nobody is really certain why polyps develop, although studies are ongoing.
Some factors which may cause your body to create endometrial polyps include inflammation, the presence of a cyst or tumor, excess estrogen (they’re sensitive to estrogen), or even the presence of a foreign object. One theory is that polyps are more likely to form due to the changes brought on by the menstrual cycle and the surge and decline of hormones during that process.
Some people are also moresusceptible to growing their very own polyp. Women who have had children, or women who are over 40 are more likely to develop endometrial polyps. Also, there have been connections found between endometrial polyps and hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, are taking post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy, who have a family history of Lynch Syndrome or Cowden Syndrome, and women who have taken Tamoxifen.
Tamoxifen is a drug which blocks the body’s receptors so estrogen can’t work it’s magic. Women with breast cancer (or at a high risk of developing breast cancer) most often take Tamoxifen; however, it has also been used to treat infertility, bipolar disorder, Riedel’s thyroiditis, retroperitoneal fibrosis, and McCune-Albright syndrome. As a curious side note, studies have shown that Tamoxifen may be linked with stimulating Endometriosis growth since it also thickens the endometrial lining. *runs away*
As usual, it starts with a verbal medical and symptom history and physical examination. Your doctor may order imaging studies (hysterosalpingogram [a special x-ray using dyes], ultrasound, or CT scans) to visualize any polyps and get a sense of their size and location. However, a regular ultrasound (aka sonogram) and transvaginal ultrasound may not show the polyps and a special “water ultrasound,” called sonohysterogram (or SHG for short), may be required. A saline solution is injected through the cervix into the uterus to expand it a bit and allow for clearer visuals. This allows them a better look around the inside of the uterus. Doctors may also use a hysterscope to peer around the inside of the uterus. This is a small illuminated tube that goes up the vagina and into the uterus. Sounds like fun…
Although these methods may lead your doctor to assume you have polyps, the only way to confirm the diagnosis is by performing a biopsy.
Some figures say that 3-5% of polyps can be cancerous or pre-cancerous. So, a doctor will most-likely want to perform a biopsy on any polyp they find, just to confirm it isn’t cancerous. Cancerous polyps are very rare, but chances increase slightly as we age (over 50 and they increase even more). If cancerous endometrial polyps are discovered, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy.
And, beware – if you have a history of non-cancerous (benign) endometrial polyps, you may have an increased chance of developing uterine cancer. A 2012 study stated that 25% of patients with endometrial cancer had a prior history of some sort of benign endometriail biopsy. So, go in for check-ups. Often.
Well, I hate to say this…but what I’ve been reading online for treating endometrial polyps is much of the same of what many of you have known for treating Endometriosis…
Wait and see what happens. Most small polyps that don’t cause any symptoms may just resolve on their own.
To treat symptomatic cervical or endometrial polyps, your doctor may prescribe progestin or even GnRH agonists in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the polyp…say it with me, “Lupron Depot.” It’s like we can’t get away from this drug. AND once the treatment is stopped, the symptoms may return.
If a woman has a history of miscarriages and is trying to conceive, or she has a family history of cancer, or the the symptoms don’t resolve, her doctor may opt to remove the polyp. The removal of a polyp is a procedure that rolls off the tongue : a polypectomy.
The polyp can be removed with a D&C (dilation & curettage), where the inner lining of the uterus is scraped clean. However, there have been instances where this doesn’t remove a polyp; it just wiggles it around a bit.
Remember that little illuminated tube (hysterscope)? It can be inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus, along with itty-bitty tools like scissors or a laser, and the polyp can be cut away. Some surgeons may use a tool known as a resectoscope, which is a tiny tube that (you guessed it) goes up into the uterus. The resectoscope has a tiny wire lasso on the end which allows the surgeon to wrangle and hog-tie the polyp (well, not really), remove it, and send it off to biopsy. Yeehaw!
For those who wish to seek a more natural route of treatment, there are a lot of articles online. If you go this route, please consult with your physician before starting anything! Herbs and supplements that some claim to help relieve symptoms, and reduce or even cure polyps, include: apple cider vinegar, angelica, butcher’s broom, castor oil, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, clove, fenugreek, flax, garlic, ginger, goldenseal, green tea, red raspberry leaf, marshmallow (the herb, not the sugary white smooshy deliciousness), mustard seed, tea tree oil, xanthium, and yellow cedar. Increasing your fiber intake will also help your body flush excess estrogen from the body.
Once a polyp is successfully treated and/or removed, there’s always a chance it will reappear. Statistics show that 15-43% of endometrial polyps reoccur.
Want a fighting chance against developing polyps? Unfortunately, endometrial polyps cannot be prevented. If they’re coming, they’re coming. Just take heart knowing they’re really, really common…And do go in for your regular check-ups, including an annual ultrasound, to keep an eye on your insides.
Think you have Endometrial Polyps?
I, again, cannot stress enough to you how you must have a conversation with your physician. It all starts with a talk.
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research :) Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa
Today had a stressful beginning for me. So, my stress has inspired today’s Feel Good Friday quote!
It is, of course, written by Frank Herbert, the author of Dune, one of my all-time favorite movies:
“The mind can go either direction under stress—toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.”
I had to keep telling myself it will all be okay, that I have the money to handle this and that, to keep breathing, to force the shaking hands and shaky breaths to go away. To think POSITIVE thoughts instead of negative ones.
Yes, car repairs may be costly. But, I have the funds for them. And if the total goes above my means, I’ll find a way. And even better? The repairs may be an easy and cheap fix! I cannot dwell on what I won’t know until next week. Let. It. Go.
Yes, I was late to work because of the car trouble. But, my employer is understanding and will allow me to make up the time. No harm, no foul.
I spun myself up into a stressful little tizzy-ball last night and had trouble falling and staying asleep. If I had embraced the positive thoughts and released the lack of control and stress, I would have slept better. I don’t know what the repairs will cost. And I don’t know what the repairs will entail…until I know, I shouldn’t dwell on it.
Which brings to mind another Frank Herbert Dune quote, “Fear is the mind killer…” Let. It. Go!
What are you dealing with that’s stressful right now? Are you able to find the positive spin? Focus on the known and not the unknown? Try to deflate the sense of urgency and desperation?
Well, here I am, alive and doing well! Surgery was on September 21, 2016, and today is my 3-week surgiversary.
In a nutshell : my Endometriosis had returned, bringing with it a leaking cyst and a bunch of adhesions. Endo had also decided to now grow on my bowel (the outer layer of my sigmoid colon) and my ureter (the tube that carries stuff from kidneys to bladder – he had to detach my ureter, clean it up, and reattach it). AND it disappeared from my liver (doc couldn’t find any there this time). He was able to cut out all of my Endometriosis, except for a lesion that is on my diaphragm. He cut away all of my adhesions and put my organs back where they belong. I’ve still got both my ovaries and fallopian tubes. My uterus was stuck to my bowel, my ovaries and tubes were a rat’s nest, and my uterus was also stuck to the right side of my pelvic wall. It just sounds like such a mess…But, he did confirm that my bladder’s exterior AND interior were completely healthy and Endo-free.
For those who enjoy reading medical mumbo jumbo, an excerpt from my Op Report:
Here’s a little comparison chart of what was found (and done) in 2014 and 2016…as well as the difference in COSTS from the two surgeries. Don’t get me started on the inflated costs of medical care in the U.S…
This recovery was SO much easier than my 2014 surgery. I was far less bloated, hardly had any residual pain from the CO2 gas, and felt a lot better both physically and mentally. Don’t get me wrong; it was still hard (I’ll save that for another blog entry), but it truly was night and day, comparatively. And it’s still rough…I can only sit, stand, or walk for a small amount of time before having to switch it up a bit because of the pain that creeps in around my incisions and abdominal muscles. And I’m still severely restricted until early November on what I can do…and I’m sure I’ll be building up my strength and endurance for a while after that.
BUT : I haven’t had any recurrent Endo pain since my surgery (other than those associated with surgery). Wonderful news.
Below is a little .gif I put together so you could see the difference between 2014 & 2016 for the first nine days after surgery. When I asked my surgeon what he did differently from 2014, he let me know that he let out as much of the CO2 gas as he possibly could.
And here I am now (well, October 4, 2016):
If you’d like to see photographs of my insides and the teeny surgical tools, click here🙂
So, now that I’m all freed-up of 99.9% of my visible Endometriosis, the adhesions have been cut away, and my “anatomy has been restored,” as Dr. Kurtulus so eloquently wrote, what’s the plan? I’m giving up birth control pills since they didn’t do anything to keep my Endometriosis from returning (I hate the side effects so much). I’ve already had one period since surgery – it lasted a whopping 3 days and the pain was so minimal on Day One that it was handled with two Ibuprofen. I’m also monitoring my pain levels and diet daily (made easier via Google Slides). I’ll go back to see Dr. Kurtulus in April for my annual exam and pap. BUT if I notice any horrible return of pain before then, I’ll make an earlier appointment. And, at the advice of my physician, I’ll continue my efforts to “eat healthy, drink healthy, and exercise.”
I am so grateful to my gyno/surgeon, his staff, the hospital, the surgical team, my wonderful Man, my Mum, and my Rosie. And to all of you who sent me care packages, you’re awesome – they were used well.❤
Here’s to hoping recurrence is a thing of the past…
And, if you made it all the way down to the bottom, yes…that is a poop with a corn in it. What better way to illustrate those are my guts?😉
I hope that you’re all doing well today. And if you’re not – if you’re struggling to get out of bed, just lay there a few extra minutes. If your heart is heavy with despair, have a good cry. If you’re in pain, hug that heating pad (or cat, or grip that pencil, or bite your lip) a little tighter.
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
You do possess the strength to overcome. And if you don’t yet realize that there is a burning ember inside you, seek the flames of others. You do not need to endure alone, although you are capable and strong enough.
Congratulations, Neffie McKee of Ohio, for winning our September Coloring Contest! You’re automatically entered to win our Grand Prize: having your design printed on a t-shirt next year! All profits of the t-shirt sales will go to the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
If you’d like to enter our contest, a winner will be picked every month until April 1, 2017. For more information about prizes and where to download the template(s) and enter, click here: https://bloominuterus.com/2016/09/15/endo-coloring-contest/. The more times you enter, the greater your chance of winning! And the best part? Spreading Endo awareness and having fun at the same time! Who doesn’t like coloring?!?
Now, a bit about Neffie:
My name is Neffie and I have a history of stage 4 endometriosis. I like to say that I have a “history” of endometriosis because I consider my endometriosis to be in remission after seeking an excision specialist almost three years ago. I try to remain active in the community because I believe that mainstream endometriosis treatment has a long way to go and I want to do my part to educate others who are still suffering. It’s important to me that women know their options and to know that people are advocating for them. I have not forgotten how horrible and hopeless it can feel and I hope that someday that will change for everyone with endo.
Thank you, Neffie, for submitting such a beautiful piece and such incredible words of encouragement. ❤
ohmygod it’s already Friday? And after NOON on Friday? Okay, okay…let’s go find a great quote!
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Some of us beat ourselves up over how slow and carefully we must now traverse life. But keep moving. Keep going. You will get there, wherever *there* happens to be.