Endometriosis & the Kidneys

A doodle of a human kidney pointing at a diagram of the renal system

In the past, I’ve researched how Endometriosis can affect the renal system, specifically the bladder or ureters, and how that could even cause blockages that cause kidney issues and severe problems.

Today, I’m going to talk about Endometriosis and the actual kidney.

A study published in October of 2018 discussed a 45-year-old woman who had flank pain and blood in her urine.  Imaging studies found a mass on her left kidney.  A surgery was performed to remove the suspected renal mass and a portion of her kidney, and pathology confirmed it was an Endometriosis lesion.  It was removed from her “renal parenchyma,” which is the solid part of the kidney that filters blood and makes urine.

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Endometriosis Excision Surgery 3.0

Pre-surgery photograph of Dr. Mel Kurtulus and Lisa Howard taken by Brandy Sebastian, titled Resilience.
Dr. Mel Kurtulus and I before heading in. Photo courtesy of Brandy Sebastian; used with her permission

On July 18, 2018, I underwent my third robotic-assisted laparoscopic excision of Endometriosis by Dr. Mel Kurtulus ( of San Diego Womens Health).  As always, I love to share my experiences with you – not only to create awareness of this illness, but in the hopes that the process of my surgery (and later recovery) may help you, or others.

Before I go on, I just want to take a moment to express my joy in the above-photograph.  I am a detached head, floating beneath a fluffy warm-air blanket in the pre-op area, enjoying a wonderful moment with an incredible surgeon and man.  Thank you, Brandy, for capturing this.  And thank you, Dr. Kurtulus, for being so marvelous!

Okay, on with the nitty-gritty!

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Share Your Story: Sarah

story

New to San Diego, Sarah was diagnosed with Endometriosis when she was 38 years old, after seeking help for over 20 years.  Today, a year later, she shares her long and difficult Journey with us.

Sarah’s Journey:  I’m home from this year’s Endo March. I met some lovely people, reconnected with new friends (I’m new to San Diego), and learned a lot. One of those lessons was hard. It’s not as simple as saying Endometriosis changed my life or changed me.

It’s that it, along with other health problems, shaped me and, as all of this runs its course, my identity is changing. Parts of what I value about myself have shifted and this time the change is so deep that it may be irrevocable. I don’t know if I can get those pieces of me back. I used to be strong. I used to be fast. I could paint a painting in a day, code a website so that your head spun, learn a skill and build a 16 hour class around it and teach it inside a week.

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Cervical Endometriosis

Sprinkle-covered donut
…not really a cervix, but you get it… 😉

So, WordPress shows me a lot of the searches that people run that lead them to my site.  One has recently come up again and again.  “Cervical Endometriosis” and “Endometriosis on Cervix.”

Seeing as I’ve never touched up on that particular location, I figured I would today!

What are the symptoms? How are you diagnosed?  What’s the treatment?

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Share your Story : Kyla

Text that reads "I don't know how to proceed at this point..."

Kyla is 34-years-old.  Nine weeks ago she had a total hysterectomy and is struggling with a potential diagnosis of Endometriosis and needs our help…

Kyla’s Journey: Hello everyone .. I recently had a total Da Vinci hysterectomy with bilateral tube removal due to several years of horrible pain with my monthly cycles and irregular bleeding with painful intercourse. I have had a very rough recovery, suffering 2 large hematomas and am still slowly recovering at 9 weeks post op. I have suspected for a long time that I had/have endo. My Dr. Has not discussed her findings during my hysto. ..she has only told me that she removed extensive scar tissue.

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Endometriosis & The Bowel

Diagram of human bowels

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.

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Reader’s Choice : Can Men Get Endometriosis?

Male symbol

Last night, my boyfriend and I were talking about Endo’s “weirdness” how it can pop up in strange and unheard of places, and he popped the question (no, not THE question…), “Are there any reports of men having Endometriosis?”  I remembered reading somewhere that there were a few rare cases of it, but hadn’t read them deeply enough to understand their situations, diagnoses, and prognoses.  So, we have our topic for today!!

In rare cases, cis-men develop Endometriosis.  Transmen also suffer from the disease. But we will focus on cis-men for this blog: it appears many have been treated with long-term or large doses of estrogen therapy, but some are healthy men who have no history of cancer or estrogen treatment.  Here’s what I could find:

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Share Your Story : Lisa

A red-headed pirate laughing and holding her tankard of ale

I realized that I’ve asked you to share your story, but haven’t actually put mine out there in one place (maybe a snippet here or there)….time to get everything out on paper so it leaves my head and heart (sorry it’s so loooooong…I couldn’t stop!).  I was diagnosed when I was 35 years old in 2014. 

My Journey:  I started my period when I was 12 or 13 years old.  I remember them hurting (but not as devastating as they have in my adult years), but figured it was normal.  I grew up hearing we were cursed because of Eve’s decision to sin, punished into pain and childbirth. I also heard that some of my family members had really painful periods. So again, it was normal. Classmates said they had cramps, too…so I figured mine were just normal. I became that girl in Junior High and High School that would walk around with a hoodie tied around her waist every month because I’d almost always overflow.  I had classmates come up to me during the really hard cramps, ask if I was okay, that I was white as a ghost and sweating…and I’d spend time curled up in the Nurse’s office after taking an Ibuprofen. But it was normal. Every girl went through this.  Right? My family physician had wanted me to go on birth control, but just to prevent “baby accidents” from happening, which I quickly dismissed since I had no intention of having sex. Little did I know BCP may have helped with the pain…

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