April is Adenomyosis Awareness Month. Ado-what-o? A disease, similar to Endo; some say Ado is the cousin to Endometriosis. And many people with Endo also suffer with Adenomyosis. So, I figured I’d spread a bit of awareness of Ado during this month and learn something in the process.
A few folks who attended our Endo walk suffer also from Adeno. And one who showed up to our last Endo support group meeting suffers from Ado (but not Endo). It’s a term I’m beginning to hear a lot more about. But, what is it?
So, if you’re reading this you probably already know a little bit about Endometriosis. Recently at our support group meeting, the question of iron levels and anemia came up. With all that bleeding, can we suffer from anemia or an iron deficiency?
And, again, the topic of iron levels and Endo came up at our Endometriosis Awareness & Support Walk: could the blood left in my pelvic region from shedding Endo have caused the “abnormally high” iron levels during a blood test?
As you may know, Endometriosis is not limited to just your reproductive bits & pieces. It can implant, grow, and fester in many places; the bowel included. But what does that mean? How do you know if it’s on your bowel? Today’s blog will go into that…Read on, dear Reader…read on. Word of warning : I will be using words like fart and poop! Why dance around the subject with flowery words when I feel like I’m a giggly 12-year-old girl?
It is estimated that between 5-15% (and some even doctors guess it’s actually between 3-34%) of women with Endometriosis suffer from Endo on their bowels. Bowel Endometriosis may affect the colon, the rectum, the large intestine, the small intestine, the colon, or the sigmoid colon. The implants may be physically located on the bowels, or even just located adjacent to them in areas like the Pouch of Douglas, uterosacral ligaments, or rectovaginal septum. The close proximity of the inflamed and irritated lesions may be enough to induce bowel Endometriosis symptoms. And these symptoms may also be caused by adhesions pulling or twisting the bowels.
So this entry’s going to get a bit personal. And possibly full of Too Much Information. But it is a topic that needs to be addressed. Not only for myself, but for countless otherssuffering from the same issues.
One of the symptoms of Endometriosis for a lot of EndoWarriors is painful sex (either during, after, or both), and it’s estimated that more than half of the people with Endo suffer from it. The fancy name for pelvic pain during or after sex is Dyspareunia. It’s common and it could have a myriad of causes and factors. Some of those factors can be vaginal dryness, herpes, Endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids, Adenomyosis, uterine tilt, bowel tenderness or fullness, pelvic inflammatory disease, infections, or bladder issues. The pain can be limited to the vaginal opening or canal, or it can extend deeper into the pelvic region and thighs. This pain can stop as soon as sexual activity is stopped, or can last for hours, or even days afterward. It can be a dull ache, a sharp pain, stabbing sensations, and can range from barely there to excruciating.
One of my readers recently contacted me asking if I could do some research for her. Her physicians suspect she may have hyperplasia. What is that, you may ask? It’s the changing or enlarging of cells or organs which may develop into cancer. Specifically, she is undergoing tests to see if she has endometrial hyperplasia. Now what’s that? It’s when the uterine lining (the endometrium) is too thick. Her question? Is there a link between Endo and hyperplasia?
I found this to be very interesting as I had an MRI before my diagnostic surgery which found I had abnormally thick uterine lining. The first part of my surgery last year was to go in and perform a D&C (dilation & curettage) to remove some of the thick lining. So now I’m not only researching for my reader, but for myself (although my D&C biopsy came back normal).
I’ve read bits and pieces here and there that Endometriosis can grow on or inside of your lungs. An EndoSister had posted in one of the many Facebook support groups that I follow that she has Endo on her lungs, which causes her to cough up a lot of blood. Others replied that they have it as well, but it leaves them in the hospital with collapsed lungs every month. Which got my juices flowin’ to find the documented cases of Endometriosis on the lungs, how it was excised (if at all), etc. Here goes! This is NOT meant to scare you. Just educate us all, including myself.
Endometriosis is usually found within the pelvic cavity, but has also been known to be found northward and latching onto the liver and diaphragm. It has also been found on the membranes surrounding the lungs and heart. Even rarer, it has been found on the brain, in the lymph nodes, and on the eyes.
Thoracic or Pulmonary Endometriosis is when Endometriosis implants/adhesions are found in your thoracic region, and can be found on your trachea, bronchi, diaphragm, lungs, or heart. It was first medically documented in 1953. Today, we focus on the lungs.
I have heard that sometimes when physicians conduct a hysterectomy where the uterus was shredded/broken down and removed through small incisions then biopsied, cancerous cells could be detected during the biopsy. And that the presence of those cancerous cells may remain in the abdominal cavity post-procedure, which may spread and continue to develop. Some women who this happened to ended up having to go through a intense radiation therapy treatment to remove the cancerous cells.
Nikkia was diagnosed when she was 23 years old. Now 31, she lives in Arizona and she and her husband are trying to conceive their second child. Please keep them in your prayers as they are facing the difficult decision of a hysterectomy due to the complications of her illness.
Nikkia’s Journey: Endometriosis has a long history in my family. My grandmother passed away at a young age of endometrium cancer (the lining of the uterus). My mother has had two surgeries to removed fibroids to the point it didn’t help so they did a partial hysterectomy. For me I started noticing sharp pelvic pain when I was 22 . My husband and I was trying to conceive but was unsuccessful.