What the heck am I talking about?
There’s a study published in August of 2018 that I just read, and it threw me for a loop. So I wanted to share it with you.
A 52-year-old woman went to her Primary Care Physician because she had a weird leaking hole near her right hip. It just drained a nasty discharge. He put her on antibiotics for two weeks, but it didn’t resolve. After suffering from the drainage for two months, she went to the emergency room. If you’re curious, you can see a photograph of her little hip-hole.
Her prior medical history included a nephrectomy (the removal of one or both kidneys) and a c-section. She also denied any changes to her bowel habits, any signs of infection, or abnormal weight loss. She didn’t have any signs of fever, her white blood cell count was normal, her blood circulation was fine, and her abdomen was a little bit tender.
A CT scan found a “cystic lesion” near her lower right pelvic area and a fistula that exited out of her body near her right hip. Now before I go on, I had to look up what the heck a fistula was.
In my super layman understanding? It’s a hollow tube from one place to another. In this poor woman’s case? From her bowel to the outside of her body. The authors classified it as an enterocutaneous fistula…You can only imagine what that discharge must have been. (Ewwww)
Due to the surprising results of the CT scan and a concern for a bowel perforation, she underwent a laparoscopy. The cystic lesion discovered in the CT scan was “severely adhered” to her pelvic floor and to her bowels where her small intestine and her large intestine meet, aka the terminal ileum. They removed the mass and the section of intestines in one fell swoop and the biopsy results came back as positive for Endometriosis…so she received a diagnosis of Ileal Endometriosis. The authors of the study believe that this Endometriosis caused the enterocutaneous fistula…the hole that she had been leaking discharge from her right hip. She was released from the hospital six days later without further incident.
Not only is this incredibly rare…it’s believed to be the first case of its kind. So please don’t panic at every oozing sore you may have on your body. BUT…do arm yourself with the knowledge that it can happen.
I was amazed and flabbergasted by this study. Of course, the authors don’t opine as to how the ileal endometriosis caused the enterocutaneous fistula, but chalk that up to one of the many mysteries of our illness.
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery – (Abstract; Aug. 2018) Ileal Endometriosis: a Rare Cause of Enterocutaneous Fistula – Please contact me if you’d like to read the entire article
Inner Body – Terminal Ileum
UCSF Health – Enterocutaneous Fistula
~ 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