Free Endometriosis Webinar: Dr. Justin Lin

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Our good friends at the Endometriosis Family Support Group in Riverside at doing it again! July 19, 2017, they’re offering a free online webinar by Dr. Justin Lin entitled “Fearing Endometriosis and Your Function.”

If you’d like to log on and attend, please email Megan at Megan@RMCcharity.org or follow this link.  Registration is free, but required.

A huge thank you to Megan and the Endometriosis Family Support Group for all that they do!  For more information on their organization and when they meet, please click here.

 

 

 

Endometriosis in Rhesus Monkeys

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In the past, I’ve written about Endometriosis being found in two mandrillus sphinx,  a German Shephard and cynomolgus monkeys.  I know when I think of Endometriosis, I often simply think of it as a women’s disease…but have to remind myself that men can get it, as well as animals.  A study hit my inbox this morning about monkeys, rhesus macaques, developing Endometriosis.

The 2017 study published in Primate Biology discusses rhesus macaques (aka rhesus monkeys) that were housed at the Biomedical Primate Research Centre in the Netherlands and the New England Primate Research Center in the United States.  Not only did the study discuss the spontaneous development of Endometriosis in these creatures, but it focused on the genetic similarities between humans and these monkeys in the hopes of continuing the studies of finding genetic links to the illness.

Eight monkeys from the Biomedical Primate Research Centre had Endometriosis.  Their ages ranged from 12 to 21 years of age; none had prior surgeries.  Seventeen monkeys from the New England Primate Research Center had Endometriosis, and they ranged from 12 to 20 years old.  Four of those 17 had previously delivered offspring via cesarean sections.

In both facilities, the monkeys were housed in large social groups in the hopes of “mimicking the natural ecology” of uncaptive life. They were fed monkey chow, fruits, vegetables and grains.   And, as a matter of procedure, anytime an animal passed away (either naturally or by euthanasia), an autopsy was performed.  Tissues were flash frozen and set aside.  The study reviews those detailed medical and histology records of each monkey, as well as any preserved tissue samples.  Almost all of the monkeys were of Indian origin, with the exception of a few mixed breeds and one with Burmese descent.

Many of the monkeys who were posthumously diagnosed with Endometriosis had previously exhibited the usual signs and symptoms: bloating, pain, painful periods, or “cystic lesions” detected via ultrasound.  Every time I read of an animal with the disease, it breaks my heart; we, at least, can express our pain.  They cannot.

The DNA and genetic analysis of the study goes waaaaaay over my head…so I’m not even going to try to summarize it for you.   It did clearly mention; however, that it may result in an altered immune response, which may affect Endometriosis.  But you can read it for yourself via the link in the Resources section below.

As usual, more studies are needed!  And that’s the hope: to spawn one that may lead to a better understanding of the cause of Endometriosis.

Resources:

Primate Biology (Article, June 2017) – Spontaneous Endometriosis in Rhesus Macaques: Evidence for a Genetic Association with Specific Mamu-A1 Alleles

Primate Info Net

~ 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

Two New Studies: Endometriosis & Effects on Partners

Love Couple Man Woman Holding Hands Relationship

In June 2017, two new studies were published both focusing on the effects of partners of women with Endometriosis.

In the first study we’ll be discussing (from The Journal of Obstetrics an Gynaecology Research), 51 partners of women with Endometriosis completed and returned questionnaires.  A breakdown:

  • 75% reported a negative affect on their own day-to-day life;
  • 52% felt their finances were affected (partly due to the fact that their partner’s weren’t able to work as much, if at all);
  • Although 70% of the partners were involved in the healthcare decision-making process, only 34% felt that healthcare providers had engaged them in that process;
  • 80% stated they hadn’t received information about dealing with Endo as a couple;
  • 74% reported on affect on sex life, mostly due to the pain it causes their partners. (All except 8 partners said they could not have sex because of the pain it caused);
  • 56% reported on affect on their relationship; and,
  • It suggested that better education and support be provided to partners of women with Endometriosis.  And it stated, “Involvement of partners from the beginning, normalization of symptoms, and education may assist in dealing with the burden of the disease.”

The second study, published in the Oxford Academic publication, Human Reproduction, included 22 male partners of women with Endometriosis answering questions.  In summary:

  • Nearly half of the participants stated sex was rare to non-existent.  This was due to pain, lack of desire due to medication, fatigue, stress, bleeding before/during sex, or even just feeling unattractive.  Four of the men stated matter of factly that they don’t want to pursue sex because it hurts their partners;
  • It affected the ability of many to have children, or frustrated efforts to conceive;
  • Many men reported a difficulty in their work due to taking time off of work to be with their partners, childcare, or household tasks.  Many of these men felt an added pressure to provide more income due to their partner’s inability to work as much (if at all);
  • New roles in the relationship developed since the diagnosis: accompanying them to appointments, taking time off work to care after surgery, household chores and tasks, child care, and a much deeper support role emotionally;
  • Most men expressed feeling helpless, frustrated, worried, and angry (anger was directed toward healthcare) regarding Endometriosis;
  • The majority of men felt there was a lacking of support for partners of people with Endometriosis.
  • And my favorite?  Many described that since the diagnosis, they’ve learned to become better partners:  caring, listening better, more supportive, has brought them closer, strengthened the relationship.

I am grateful for an understanding and supportive partner, but I also know that many women don’t have a partner who is as understanding.  And that breaks my heart.

If YOU are the partner of someone with Endo and are searching for support, consider joining the Braave support network (they’re on Facebook here); it’s specifically for partners of EndoSufferers.  If you know of any other support groups for partners of people with Endometriosis, please let me know! I’ll add them here.

And, both studies are linked below in our Resources section, if you’d like to read them.

 

Resources:

Braave – online support network for partners of women with Endometriosis

Oxford Academic Human Reproduction (Article, June 2017) – A Qualitative Study of the Impact of Endometriosis on Male Partners

The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research (Article, June 2017) – Exploring the Impact of Endometriosis on Partners

 

A 1946 Study on Endometriosis

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While doing a bit of research for a recent blog entry, I ran across a study from 1946 describing Endometriosis.  I found it fascinating!

Written by Drs. Fallon, Brosnan, and Moran in Massachusetts, The New England Journal of Medicine published the study on November 7, 1946, and I wanted to point out some quotes that I found of particular interest:

frequent

missed

private

blueberry

octo

cramps

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radium

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pox

time

To read the entire study yourself, please click here.  Groan if you will at reference to retrograde menstruation, treatment with castration, becoming a baby-factory, regression of the disease once the ovaries are removed, and…a cure. I just severely enjoyed the verbiage and disease descriptions from  70 years ago and wanted to share it with you.

Have a wonderful day!

~Lisa

Endometriosis & the Appendix

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Here I go again, once more intrigued by Endometriosis growing in odd places inside the body.  Today I’m going to focus on the appendix.  I’ve read that many women have their appendix removed because physicians may confuse Endometriosis pain for the symptoms of appendicitis.  But on Tuesday an article hit my email about Endometriosis growing on the appendix…and I became obsessed.

Please remember: I don’t write this to scare you, or freak you out, or say that all of your right-sided abdominal pain is from Appendix Endo.  Take a deep breath – I like to document these things in case anyone would like to discuss it further with their healthcare providers so they may be aware during surgery.  Appendiceal Endometriosis is considered extremely rare and it is suspected that only 1-3% of all cases of Endometriosis involve the appendix.  But…knowledge is power.

What & Where is the Appendix

The appendix is part of the gastrointestinal tract attached to a section of the large intestine, where it meets the small intestine.  It is located in the lower right section of your abdomen, and is a skinny 4″ long tube.  If you have pain in that location, especially when it’s pushed on, physicians may suspect appendicitis.

Appendix: Necessary Organ or Leftover, Useless Tissue?

Depending on who you ask, the appendix does (or doesn’t) serve a purpose.  Hence why so many people no longer have theirs.  If it’s inflamed, it’s typically removed.

Many believe the appendix to be a “vestigal organ” or an organ that used to have a purpose, but has since evolved into uselessness.   Recently, though, some researchers have theorized that the appendix is not a useless flappy tube, rather it houses good gut bacteria – aiding in recovery from GI issues and illnesses and strengthening the immune system.

Is it useless?  Does it safely store good gut bacteria?  Who really knows…

Endometriosis versus Appendicitis

Symptoms of appendicitis can include fever, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, vomiting, an inability to fart (yes, I said “fart”), constipation, or diarrhea.  Many of these symptoms can mirror complaints and symptoms of Endometriosis.  Hence, an often misdiagnosis of appendicitis.

Appendicitis may develop because of inflammation, an infection, or even a blockage to the appendix.  When infected or blocked-up, the bacteria inside the appendix goes nuts, the appendix can fill with puss and swell up.  If left untreated, it can burst or rupture…which simply means it tears.  It shouldn’t pop like a balloon.  If it does rupture,the nastiness-fluid from within can spread all over the pelvic cavity, which may infect other organs or even cause sepsis, which can be fatal.

Is every bit of lower right-abdominal pain associated with appendicitis? No. It could just be something you ate, bad gas, period cramps, anyyyything.  Or it could be appendicitis.  AND some women with Endometriosis of the appendix don’t have any symptoms – it’s just discovered by accident.

But that being said: sometimes Endometriosis can affect the appendix…One study stated that out of 1,500 appendectomy biopsies,  0.80% had Endometriosis.  I’ve read that some surgeons believe that the appendix should be removed during Endometriosis excision surgery as a preventative measure, even if it appears healthy.

If you’re worried, please do your research and talk to your healthcare provider.  As usual, there doesn’t appear to be any type of pre-operative diagnostic tests for the presence of Endo on the appendix. Ya gotta go in and see it for yourself…aka surgery.

Now, for the SCIENCE!

Documented Cases of Endometriosis on the Appendix

And before you bury yourself in reading numerous cases of women with Endometriosis of the appendix, I wanted to share an image with you of what Endometriosis on the appendix can look like.  Dr. Andrew S. Cook of Vital Health took this photograph during an excision surgery and has granted me permission to share it with you today:

Endometriosis-of-the-Appendix
Photo by Dr. Andrew S. Cook, Vital Health Endometriosis Center; used with permission

Endometriosis on the appendix is nothing new – as my research will show.

The earliest published study I found online featuring Endometriosis on the appendix was published in 1929 in the Canadian Association Medical Journal.  It covered three cases of women with Endometriosis:  one with an Endometrioma, the second with Endometriosis on her appendix, and the third with Endometriosis in a surgical scar.  I find it incredibly interesting that they dissect the theories of Endometriosis for each: contributing the first to Sampson’s theory, the second they simply note as “an unusual situation”, and the third they cite the German’s theory of tissue change (metaplasia).  Just a fun little piece of historical literature on our disease. (I sense a new obsession festering…)

In 1960, medical records were reviewed from 30 appendectomies which occurred between 1919-1955 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.  Each was pathologically confirmed as Endometriosis of the appendix.  Of those 30 women, 11 presented with symptoms which mimicked appendicitis.  Four of those 11 presented with pain at the onset of their periods.  It was noted that none of the 30 women had recurrent symptoms after their appendectomies, although many of them were found to have pelvic Endometriosis.  Sixteen of the 30 women also went through partial or full hysterectomies at the time of their appendectomies.

In 1975, researchers combed through medical records of the Kapiolani Hospital in Hawaii and reviewed 12 documented cases of appendiceal Endometriosis, ranging from 1968-1973.  During those years, the Hospital performed 1,496 appendectomies – of those, 12 tested positive for Endometriosis of the appendix.  Additionally, the researchers interviewed the 12 women for further details and information.  Many were found to have Endometriomas during surgery, too.  Seventy-five percent of those women complained of abdominal pain prior to their surgeries.  Which means, some didn’t – they had complaints of lower back pain and period pain.  Unfortunately, the study doesn’t go into detail of how they fared after their surgeries.

A study published in 1981 documents a 23-year-old Nigerian woman who was 35-weeks pregnant and had complaints of vaginal bleeding and right-sided pain.  Appendicitis was suspected, so a surgery was performed and her appendix was inflamed and torn.  Her appendix was removed and the child was safely delivered by c-section.  A biopsy revealed Endometriosis along the appendix wall where the rupture occurred, but nowhere else.

Another study in 1981 reviewed the medical records of 50 patients diagnosed with Endometriosis between 1968-1978 at Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Of those 50, 16 had confirmed Endometriosis of their appendix, the youngest of whom was only 14 years old…and the oldest?  Sixty-two!  Their complaints ranged from abdominal pain, to heavy periods, to GI complaints.  Many had pain located in their lower-right abdominal quadrant.  Pre-operative diagnoses included acute appendicitis, uterine fibroids, and ovarian cysts.  During surgery, two were found to have ruptured appendixes with abnormalities, six had inflamed appendixes, and eight had normal-appearing appendixes.  Seven of the 16 women also had total hysterectomies performed at the time of surgery.  Biopsies on all confirmed Endometriosis.  After surgery, two had recurrences of Endometriosis and it was later discovered in their sigmoid colons.

In 1983, a study reviewed the literature and medical records from 1950-1981 from the Department of Pathology Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark.  During that time period 10,000 appendices were removed and biopsied.  Of those, 22 tested positive for Endometriosis of the appendix.  Of all of the medical records reviewed during that time period, 800 patients were found to have Endometriosis.

In 2007, a study was published about a 35-year-old Japanese woman who complained of three days straight of abdominal pain (especially on the right side) and nausea.  She had a history of mildly-painful periods, and had finished her last one three weeks prior.  She was admitted into the hospital and imaging studies revealed fluid within her pelvic cavity, as well as inflammation of her pelvic lining.  The physicians suspected either a perforated/ruptured appendix or a ruptured ovarian tumor or dermoid cyst.  Surgery was performed and the appendix was found to stuck to her abdominal wall and was also “markedly enlarged” – so it was removed.  Biopsies confirmed the appendix wall had been infiltrated with Endometriosis and likely caused her appendix to rupture.  She was discharged two weeks later and was doing well.

In 2008, a study was published about two women in Turkey with appendiceal endometriosis.  A 45-year-old woman went to the ER because of severe pain and nausea during the second day of her period.  Lab work and imaging studies revealed nothing out of the ordinary, but she was tender to the touch.  Due to the progressive severity of her pain while at the hospital, a laparotomy was performed and her inflamed appendix was removed.  The interior wall of her appendix was confirmed by biopsy to to have Endometriosis present.  Secondly, a 41-year-old woman went to the ER because of nausea, painful urination, and severe pain on the right side of her abdomen.  Again, testing appeared mostly normal and due to the progression of her pain, surgery was performed.  Her appendix was “covered with a brown-dark red colored material.”  A ruptured endometrioma on her right ovary was suspected as having released the fluids throughout.  Biopsy results yielded Endometriosis.

In Africa, a 2008 study was about a 25-year-old woman checked into the hospital with complaints of right-sided abdominal pain for the past day.  She was also nauseous and vomiting.  Lab results were normal and she was sent home and told to consult with a gynecologist.  Three months later, she again went to the hospital with identical symptoms.  The lab results were normal, but she was admitted for two days, then released.  Four months later, she returned.  This time she had the abdominal pain with diarrhea, but no nausea or vomiting.  Tests showed she had a small cyst, and she was admitted for five days.  Upon release, she was urged to consult with a gynecologist and a psychiatrist (I wish you could sense my anger as I typed that last word…).  Nine months later, she was readmitted to the hospital for the same issues.  This time, they performed an appendectomy and her appendix appeared normal…that is, until biopsy (yes, you guessed it) – it confirmed the presence of Endometriosis on her appendix.

In 2010, a study was published about a 29-year-old Japanese woman who had right lower abdominal pain for two days.  She had similar symptoms about a year prior.  She had a history of painful periods, accompanied by fever, and had been treating with her gynecologist with traditional Chinese medicines.  Imaging studies showed a slight calcification and thickening of her appendix wall and she was diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and sent off for am immediate appendectomy.  It was removed, appeared mildly inflamed, and was sent off for biopsy.  You guessed it:  Endometriosis.  After surgery, she had no residual pain or feverish periods.

A 2011 study was of a 36-year-old Greek woman who complained of abdominal pain, swelling, constipation, and an inability to flatulate (is that a better word than farting? I think not.  I still giggle.) for the past three days.  She had a history of using contraceptive pills and painful periods.  Imaging studies revealed a large blockage in her intestine which they presumed to be a tumor.  She underwent an laparotomy, and they discovered numerous adhesions, an inflamed appendix, and her bowel was incredibly swollen.  They removed the adhesions and her appendix and resected a large portion of her bowel.  Pathology reports confirmed Endometriosis on her colon and her appendix.  She treated with Triptorelin (a GnRH agonist) for her Endometriosis and six months later she had to undergo a second surgery to restore her resected bowel.  No Endometriosis lesions were found and she was doing well.

A South African study published in 2016 study discussed a 33-year-old woman who had been suffering with infertility, even after three IVF attempts.  She complained of pain to the right side of her abdomen for the last four hours, and was nauseous.  She was hot to the touch, and tender at the right side of her stomach.  Her pregnancy test and urine tests were normal, but given her infertility a CT was performed, which revealed a mildly-enlarged appendix, and let her physicians to suspect the onset of appendicitis.  Laparoscopy was performed to remove her appendix, which was was visually inflamed, and while inside they noticed a “reddish brown area” on her uterus, which was excised and biopsied.  Endometriosis was confirmed on her uterus and her appendix biopsy came back negative for appendicitis.  However, her meso-appendix (a flap of connective tissue between the appendix and the ileum) did come back as having Endometriosis on it.

A study published in a Canadian journal in 2016 was about a 34-year-old woman who went to the ER due to right-sided abdominal pain.  For the past several months, the pain had returned during her period, which she also started the day before she was admitted.  All of her tests came back normal (except for a cyst spotted on her ovary), and she was discharged home.  Five days later, she returned due to worsening pain.  Due to the suspicions of appendicitis, surgery was ordered.  Her appendix was not inflamed, but did have what was suspected to be a tumor – so the appendix was removed and sent off for biopsy.  The results came back that Endometriosis was on involved with the appendix and mesoappendix.  After surgery, she did not have any recurrence of pain.

Another 2016 study was of a 65-year-old woman in Turkey who had abdominal pain and nausea for the last 24 hours.  She had pain on the right side of her abdomen and lab tests showed elevated inflammatory markers and enlarged appendix.  An appendectomy was performed and a “brownish mass” was found on her appendix.  A biopsy confirmed it was Endometriosis.  She had no recurrent symptoms 30 months after her surgery.

In June 2017, the IJRCOG published a study from India of a 26-year-old woman with a history of Endometriosis.  A year prior, she was diagnosed with an endometriotic cyst, and given six months of Lupron Depot, followed by a birth control pill, and was pain-free.  Her pain returned chronically in her lower abdomen and she returned to her physician.  She was one injected with Lupron Depot, but a week later her pain was so intense she went to the emergency room.  Testing results raised suspicions of appendicitis.  She underwent a laparoscopy, and she was found to have a dense adhesions, a frozen pelvis, and an inflamed appendix.  Her appendix and adhesions were removed and upon biopsy her appendix was confirmed with Endometriosis. The authors conclude that appendix endometriosis is “very rare” and preoperative diagnosis is next to impossible.

There were many, many more studies I did not highlight here.  So many!!!

Again, if you’re worried, talk to you doctor.  Supposedly it’s very incredibly rare to have Endometriosis of the appendix, but it does happen.

 

Resources:

Acta Pathologica Microbiologica Et Immunologica Scandinavica (Article, July 1983) – Endometriosis of the Veriform Appendix

African Health Sciences (Article, 2008) – Endometriosis of the Appendix

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Article, 1975) Endometriosis of the Appendix

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Article, 1960) Endometriosis of the Veriform Appendix

American Journal of Surgery (Article, Oct. 1981) Endometriosis of the Appendix Presenting as Acute Appendicitis

Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Article, 2008) – Appendiceal Endometriosis: Two Case Reports

British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Article, April 1981) – Perforation of the Appendix During Pregnancy: A Rare Complication of Endometriosis

Canadian Medical Association Journal (Article, Sept. 1929) – Three Cases of Endometriosis

Case Reports in Gastroenterology (Article, June 2007) – Endometriosis of the Appendix Resulting in Perforated Appendicitis

Everyday HealthWhat is the Appendix?

HealthlineWhat Does the Appendix Do?  Things to Know

Hiroshima Journal of Medical Sciences (Article, June 2010) A Case of Endometriosis of the Appendix

International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology – (Article, June 2017) – Concurrent Ruptured Endometrioma with Appendiceal Endometriosis: A Case Report

Journal of Emergency Medicine Case Reports (Article, 2016) – Two Cases of Acute Abdominal Intestinal Endometriosis

Journal of Medical Case Reports (July 2011) Rectal Endometriosis Causing Colonic Obstruction and Concurrent Endometriosis of the Appendix: A Case Report

Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada (Article, Oct. 2016) Isolated Appendiceal Endometriosis

Mental Floss (Article, undated) Immunology Study Suggests the Appendix has a Use After All

Science Alert (Article, Jan. 2017) Your Appendix Might Serve an Important Biological Function After All

Science Daily (Article, Jan. 2017) Appendix May Have Important Function, New Research Suggests

South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Article, Sept. 2016) – Endometriosis of the Meso-Appendix Mimicking Appendicitis: A Case Report

~ 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

A Question for You

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One of our readers, Harley, emailed me a question and I thought I’d put it out there for you to help:

“Can you post and ask questions for Life after Lupron? Specifically weight gain? I’ve read the whole thread on life after lupron but still haven’t quite found a lot of information. My last shot was May 8th so I’m slowly waiting for Lupron to get out of my system. I’ve been on lupron for 8 months now and I’ve gained 30 lbs. I’m so exhausted all the time that I don’t have the energy to work out at all-I usually go home and go right to sleep after working my full time job. I’m wondering if it will be possible to lose this weight, if my body will ever go back to normal, or if this is all my new normal now. I’m really open for anything to get this weight off-I’m miserable.”

If you’ve been on Lupron Depot, please let Harley know your own experience with how long it took for the side effects to dissipate and if you ever truly felt normal afterward.

Her email address is harley_conley07@yahoo.com

Thanks!!!!

Possible relief from painful sex or penetration? Vuva Magnetic Dilators.

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Vuva-whata-what?

I found these little pink … things … back in October 2016 when I was experience A LOT of pain with sexual intercourse.  I mean, a lot.  I was desperate.  After reading the reviews on how many women who use Vuva Magnetic Dilators had relief from painful sex, I was hooked.  But…I also couldn’t afford to purchase the kit.  And, let’s face it – I had my doubts about magnets in dilators (dildos?) helping me with anything.

So, I wrote the company.  Tara, the creator and founder, immediately wrote me back.  She, too, suffers from Endometriosis.  She also suffers from Vulvodynia and said her magnetic dilators helped her tremendously with her vaginal and pelvic pain, especially with sex!  AND – she offered to send me two dilators for free because she truly believed they would help and wanted to help women in pain.

She didn’t ask me to write this review.  I just wanted to.  And…again…I still had my doubts.

But before I get into my experience, I wanted to explain a little bit about my understanding of what the Vuva Dilators are and how they are supposed to work.

A dilator looks an awful lot like a sex toy you can buy anywhere.  BUT…a dilator is used for medicinal purposes and comes as a set of steadily increasing sizes/girths to help stretch the vaginal opening, or muscles inside the canal (no, I’m not good with scienc-y words).  This may sound painful, but you can get dilators that are *very* small, and work your way up to something that is more comfortable (or close to the size of your partner).  And it’s an incredibly slow and gradual process, stretching at your own pace, taking weeks to months. Vuva dilators are internally lined with Neodymium magnets, which supposedly help relax muscles and increase blood flow to the area.  You insert one of these bad boys for 20-30 minutes each day and that’s it.  There’s no stretching, no rubbing, no moving or wiggling around.  Just stick it in, watch a TV show while laying on the couch, and pull it on out. *voila*

For more information, check out their webpage, which has all kinds of info on why magnets are supposed to work and testimonials.  https://www.vuvatech.com/

Tara shared a study conducted by Physician Care Clinical Research comparing Vuva dilators to regular dilators.  From February 2015-December 2015, a clinical study of Vuva’s effectiveness was conducted on 12 women in Florida.  A year later, the final report was prepared.  The 17-page report outlines the study, which was a randomized, double blind, crossover study for vulva/vaginal pain.  The women had complained of ongoing vaginal/vulva pain for at least three months.  Four areas were covered during the study:  pain with tampon usage, pain of certain areas around the vagina via a cotton swab test, the way a woman felt emotionally about vaginal penetration, and sexual intercourse.

The study’s down and dirty after using Vuva magnetic dilators as instructed (well, my understanding):

  • 90% of the women reported a decrease in pain with tampon usage.  This figure is actually for women who used the Vuva Magnetic Dilators AAAANNNDD women who used the regular dilator (non-magnetic; placebo).  So, using a dilator may help women who experience tampon pain. BUT, for those who used the Vuva magnetic dilators, they experienced twice the amount of pain relief than with regular dilators.  Those who used the Vuva magnetic dilators experienced 30% less pain for the “tampon test.”
  • The cotton swab test was gently prodding a woman around her vulva with a cotton swab and recording the pain levels.  80% of the women reported a decrease in pain levels after using the Vuva magnetic dilators.  On average, 28% less pain!
  • Many women who experience vulva, vaginal, or pain with sex begin to fear the act of penetration itself.  All of the participants stated they had a higher sense of control and self-image.
  • Each woman also kept track of their sexual intercourse, as well as any pain associated with sex.  Unfortunately, half of the women didn’t have sex curing the length of the study.  But for the half that did, 80% of them had sex more often than before!

BUT what about me? Ready for TMI?

Before I started the Vuva magnetic dilators, sex was uber painful.  Don’t get me wrong – it can still be painful…but, we’d have sex, and it’d hurt 6-8 out of 10.  And I’d cramp for several hours (sometimes even into the next day) afterward.  Granted, I had my laparoscopic surgery on September 21, 2017 and was still healing by late October, BUT sex was uber painful and crampy long before that surgery.

Here’s a little tracker on my sex pain, Vuva usage, and my thoughts:

Oct. 16: had sex (me on top) and pain during sex was a 6 out of 10.  Afterward, my cramps were a 3-6 out of 10 and lasted for an hour and a half.

Oct. 29: had sex (me on top) and pain during sex was a 6 out of 10. No cramping.

Nov. 7: I began using IntiMD dilators (just a regular dilator).  Even with the largest dilator, I did not experience changes or anything.  Followed instructions and felt this program was not right for me.

Nov. 10: Used my Vuva Magnetic Dilator for the first time!  No pain or discomfort.  Felt warm and full/fluffy (…down “there”) after 20 minutes of use…in a good way, like having soaked in a hot bath.  Magnet magic? Maybe.  Began to use regularly (every day or every other day).

Nov. 11: Had sex (six hours after using dilator, that weird sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain was a 2 out of 10, cramping was a 1 out of 10 and only lasted an hour.

Nov. 17: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain was a 1 out of 10, cramping was a 3 out of 10 and lasted a few hours.

Dec. 1: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex and me on my stomach).  Sex pain was ZERO!!!!  Cramping was a 2 out of 10, and lasted about 30 minutes.

Dec. 3: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex and me on my stomach).  Sex pain was a 1 out of 10, cramping was a 2 out of 10 and lasted about an hour.

Dec. 4: Had sex (me on top, my laying on my stomach, and doggy style).  Sex pain was a 3 out of 10, cramping was a 2 out of 10, lasting about 30 minutes.

Dec. 14: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain and afterward cramping were a ZERO! Oh my god.

Dec. 22: Had sex (sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain and afterward cramping were a ZERO! Again!!

Dec. 24: Had sex (me on top).  Sex pain and afterward cramping were a ZERO!!!

Then I took a break from using my Vuva dilators due to the holidays…bad idea:

Jan. 4: Had sex (doggy style).  Sex pain was a 7 out of 10, cramping was a 3 out of 10, lasting about 30 minutes.  Vowed to renew Vuva usage!!  We’ve also since realized that doggy is just too deep for my nifty anatomy (I have a septated canal and two cervix) so we stick to less-penetrative positions now.

Jan. 19: Had sex (standing, from behind).  Sex pain and cramping were a zero!

Jan. 29: Had sex (standing, from behind).  Sex pain and cramping were a zero!

Feb. 23: Had sex (standing, from behind).  Sex pain and cramping were a zero!

March 7: Had sex (missionary, and sideways spoony-sex).  Sex pain was a 3 out of 10 and cramping was a 3 out of 10, which lasted into the next morning.  I had to take a Tylenol PM due to the pain.  It was also the day after my period ended, so things may have still been tender.

March 12: Had sex (me on top).  Sex pain was a zero, but cramping afterward was a 2 out of 10, which lasted about an hour.

**

That’s the extent of my tracking our sexual encounters and pain. We went from having sex maybe once every month or two to multiple times per month!  I felt like I was getting the “old me” back!  I was far more confident, less scared (although still a bit scared…), and very grateful.  And I even instigated several of our sexual encounters.  Woohoo!

Whether it was the magnets in the Vuva dilators, or the placebo affect making me feel better, or having recovered more fully from my September surgery (but remember, I did have this pain prior to surgery), or whatever – I’m grateful.

I must be honest – I haven’t used my Vuva dilators since March because life has been hectic and I haven’t set aside 20-30 minutes of my day.  I’ve been experiencing minimal pain with sex once more, and very minimal cramping.  But guess what?  After typing up my log today, it has renewed by desire to pick the program back up.

I am so grateful to Tara for the products.  And her support and encouragement.  If her products can help other women have less pain, I think that’s wonderful!  If you’d like to look deeper into Vuva Magnetic Dilators, the idea behind them, the instructions, the testimonials, or even purchase a set yourself, please check out https://www.vuvatech.com/

 

 

 

2017 Best Endometriosis Blog Award!

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Oh man! Here we go again!

Healthline surprised me with naming Bloomin’ Uterus one of 2017’s Best Endometriosis Blogs!  AUGH!  I’m so excited, and honored, and proud, and grateful, and overwhelmed!

Side-by-side with the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s blog, Dr. Seckin’s blog, Endometriosis Australia’s blog, Endometriosis.org, and so many other bloggers that I admire and respect!  It’s a huge honor for us all.  And I hope that each of these blogs will help point women in the right direction for their treatment (whatever their course may be), finding answers, and bonding with other EndoSisters.  We are a great community.

I know not everyone likes or agrees with everything I write.  And that’s okay.  We are each allowed to form our own opinions, ideas, thoughts, and paths.  But I hope that I am at least able to encourage thoughts, conversations, and support.

To scope out the other winners, please check out http://www.healthline.com/health/endometriosis-best-blogs.

Much love to you.

Lisa

Free Webinar: Fighting Back Against Endo

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Our friends with the Endometriosis Family Support Group have reached out and will be allowing me the great honor of speaking for their monthly Webinar this month!  So, on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at 7pm PST, please feel free to join us!  It’s FREE!  Registration is required, though, so you receive log-in information.  Please email Megan at megan@RMCcharity.org to RSVP.

I’ll be speaking about how you, yes YOU, can fight back in little ways.  Since I’ve no medical or nutritional background, I’m not talking about the diet, exercise, pills, procedures, supplements, or surgeries – nah.  Not that.

I mean the small ways of fighting back.  Regaining a sense of control.  Giving back to the Endo community, participating in studies, fundraising for an organization, speaking to schools, embracing other EndoSisters, etc.  We don’t have to have loads of money, be a part of a corporation, or work for a non-profit in order to make a difference.  We can just make a difference in our own communities, for our own lives, and for those around us. ❤

Again, if you’d like to come watch, register with Megan via email here.  If you cannot attend that night, it is being recorded and will be shared later. 🙂

*squee*

~Lisa