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:

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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 ūüėČ Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Endometriosis & Perineum

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It’s the only photo I could think of that wasn’t … vulgar

Well, this was a first for me.

I’ve read numerous studies of Endometriosis developing in scar tissue after c-sections or other abdominal surgeries, but this one caught me by such surprise that I wanted to share it with you! ¬†It’s¬†important to any EndoSisters who may have delivered children naturally and have complaints of pain…”down there.” ¬†Read on!

A 38-year-old woman had birthed a baby vaginally 12 years ago, undergoing an episiotomy.  Three years ago she developed pain on the right side of her vulva.  The pain increased during her periods.  Two years ago, that painful spot began to swell. And swell.  And swell until it was an inch long and an inch wide and turned into a hard, discolored bump.  None of her doctors were able to offer her answers or relief.  So, further investigation was needed.

Where was this swelling? ¬†You know sometimes women who give natural birth have to have their (insert grimace here) vaginal openings…made wider in an effort to avoid tearing? ¬†It’s a procedure called an episiotomy – a small incision through the muscular tissue of the vaginal opening, down the perineum toward the anus. ¬†In 12-year-old giggle-girl terms: they slice open the gooch; the taint. ¬†Okay, let me compose myself again…

Anyway, this poor woman had developed an inch-long/wide bump in her episiotomy scar which was painful RIGHT THERE! ¬†Could you imagine wearing jeans? Sitting down? Even just walking? Ugh…

An MRI was taken and it was discovered that the lumpy-bumpy stretched along the perineum and was also involved with the puborectal muscles ( little sling that encircles the rectum – if you’ve seen the Squatty Potty ads on TV or Youtube, it’s the little rubberband muscle that relaxes/released your colon-goods)¬†AND her anal sphincter. ¬†Surgery was ordered and they excised the mass, as well as 1cm of healthy tissue surrounding the lump. ¬†They also reconstructed her sphincter (thank goodness). ¬†Biopsies of the tissue confirmed the suspected diagnosis of scar tissue Endometriosis. ¬†And six months after her surgery, she was still symptom-free. ¬†There was no prior history of Endometriosis mentioned in this article.

I was flabbergasted. ¬†I know Endo can develop¬†wherever and I really shouldn’t be surprised – but all the hullabaloo I’ve read about is women developing scar endometriosis after c-sections. ¬†Just know that it can develop…um…elsewhere…even if you haven’t had a c-section

This just goes to affirm my beliefs that if you have a hard, painful bump *anywhere*, please talk to your doctor and pursue answers.

And happy Tuesday! ‚̧

Resources:

Babycenter All About Episiotomy

Panacea Journal of Medical Sciences – (April 2017; Article) A Rare Case: Episiotomy Scar Endometriosis with Anal Sphincter Involvement

~ 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 ūüėČ Validate my writings. ¬†Or challenge them. ¬†And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. ¬†Yours ~ Lisa

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 Рshe 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/

 

 

 

A New Publication re: Abdominal Wall Endometriosis

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Some of you may have read¬†my previous blog about Cesarean scars and Endometriosis (if you haven’t, you can read it here). ¬†In the studies referenced in that blog entry, all of the women complained of bumps or lumps or pain in their c-section scars. ¬†Turns out they had developed Endometriosis in their scar tissue; likely the cells were transferred during the surgical procedure.

But…correspondence¬†published just a few days ago references a woman who was found to have Endometriosis growing within the fascia of¬†her abdominal wall nearly 1.25 inches above her scar line. ¬†She was 41-years-old and had complaints of the bump for the past 3 years. ¬†It didn’t bug her; she had no symptoms. ¬†It wasn’t discolored…it was just a mass. ¬†A bump. ¬†A lump…that just sat there. ¬†She had previously undergone two c-sections (one seven years ago and one 10 years ago). ¬†An ultrasound classified the lump as a cyst, nearly 32 x 23mm (1″ x 1.25″) in size and doppler scanning showed it had a blood flow. ¬†So, a biopsy was taken, which¬†revealed it was an Endometriosis mass. ¬†It was excised and hadn’t come back within six months. ¬†But it was, in fact, confirmed as Endometriosis.

The authors hope that this leads¬†healthcare workers to consider the possibility that masses outside of¬†abdominal scarring may be Endometriosis. ¬†They’re not just limited to appearing within surgical scars. ¬†The mass¬†needs to be¬†biopsied and handled accordingly. ¬†If you’d like to read the study, it’s linked below.

Subsequent to the writing of this original blog post, I learned of another episode of abdominal wall Endometriosis (so I’m updating it here). ¬†A 36-year-old woman who had no medical history except for a c-section complained of a lump (that didn’t hurt at all) on the left side of her lower abdomen. ¬†An ultrasound found¬†thickening of the abdominal muscle in that spot and an MRI was able to confirm that this thickening was a lesion which gave signs of bleeding. ¬†Her doctor suspected abdominal wall Endometriosis and excised the mass.

Got a bump¬†in or around your c-section scar? ¬†Talk to your doctor! ¬†Haven’t had a c-section, but still have a lump or bump? ¬†You should still go talk to your doctor.

*Updated May 8, 2017*

Resources:

Clinical & Experimental Dermatology – (Article; Jan. 2017) Development of Abdominal Wall Endometriosis in a Region Distant from a Cesarean Scar

Journal of Clinical Urology (May 2017; Article) Abdominal Wall Endometriosis

~ 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 ūüėČ Validate my writings. ¬†Or challenge them. ¬†And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. ¬†Yours ~ Lisa

Endometriosis in the psoas major muscle

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An article was published on October 30, 2016 in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, which caught my interest.  We know that Endometriosis can grow in a lot of places other than the reproductive organs and pelvis.  This study found Endometriosis growing within a muscle: the psoas major muscle.

The pso-what-is muscle? Well, that’s what I said.

Psoas_major.gif

It’s a pair¬†of muscles that run from the lumbar spine, along the back of the abdomen, and end¬†inside the hip area. It helps flex our hips, aids our walking and running, and can improve posture. ¬†In some places, it’s as thick as a wrist! ¬†As a side-note,¬†weak psoas muscles can cause back pain, hip pain, limited movement in the hips, tight/deep pelvic pain, belly aches, constipation, and a twisted pelvis. ¬†Dr. Axe offers some tips, tricks, and stretches to help strengthen your psoas muscles.

Okay, now back to the study!

A 49-year-old Chinese woman was admitted to the hospital because she had increased CA-125 levels. ¬†If you’ve followed my previous blogs, you’ll remember this could be an indication of the presence of Endometriosis. Seven years prior, she had a hysterectomy and oopherectomy (removal of her right ovary) – she had a uterine myoma and ovarian Endometriosis.

After screening and testing, the doctors found a mass in the left side of her psoas muscle and thought she had a tumor. ¬†She didn’t have any of the usual signs and symptoms of Endometriosis. ¬†She was discharged from the hospital (at her insistance).

Three months later she returned for an MRI.  The mass had grown by 3cm and was also involved with her iliac vessels.  Her CA-125 levels were still increased.  And her physicians needed answers.  An exploratory laparotomy was performed and the mass was visualized in her psoas major muscle.  It was 10x10x8 cm and was inside the muscle tissue.  They continue to fear it was a tumor.

Rather than remove the mass in its entirety, a portion was removed and biopsied: confirmed as Endometriosis.  She received more than 3 months of Lupron Depot and the remaining mass decreased in size and her CA-125 levels stabilized.  The authors surmise the lesion may have transplanted during prior surgeries and hope this case report sheds further light on the illness.

Yet another example of extra-pelvic Endometriosis, as well as post-hysterectomy Endometriosis. ¬†Here’s to hoping this case study¬†continues to push the medical and scientific community into further research and greater funding toward better understanding Endometriosis – and one day finding that much-needed cure.

Resources:

Dr. Axe

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine – Article (Oct. 2016) Endometriosis in the Psoas Major Muscle: A Case Report

Yoga International

~ 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 ūüôā¬†Validate my writings. ¬†Or challenge them. ¬†And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. ¬†Yours ~ Lisa

Endometriosis & Salt/Sodium

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I enjoy salt. ¬†Love it, actually. ¬†And one night my Jim asked if I thought salt altered my Endometriosis at all. ¬†We’ve all heard too much salt is a bad thing for blood pressure, watch your sodium-intake, blah blah blah…but I didn’t care – I love my salt. ¬†Well, his question stuck with me over the months and it’s finally time to look into it.

I’d always thought salt and sodium were the same thing…nope. ¬†Table salt is a blend of ingredients, including sodium. ¬†Sodium is a natural mineral. ¬† Sodium helps our bodies balance electrolytes and fluids and is mainly stored in our kidneys. We pee out any excess sodium our body doesn’t use.

How does¬†high sodium effect us? ¬†If your kidneys can’t process the sodium well or fast enough, it¬†gets to your blood. ¬†Sodium retains water, which makes¬†your blood vessels swell, which means your heart has to beat more to pump it around, which leads to high blood pressure…which can lead to a whole slew of problems.

Endometriosis and inflammation are bosom buddies. Recent studies are finding that high salt intake may very well effect the immune system and promote inflammation, as well.  It can also cause a lot of discomfort and pressure around your joints, due to the swollen veins.  People with Rheumatoid Arthritis may feel these effects even more, as some medications may cause the body to retain more sodium.

But, as usual, science goes back and forth.  There are studies that say it increases inflammation, and studies that say it has no effect on inflammation.

How much sodium is too much sodium? ¬†The FDA recommends no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day for adults under 50 years old…or 1,500mg of sodium per day for adults over 50, or people suffering with high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease. ¬†One teaspoon of table salt contains slightly over 2,300mg of sodium. ¬†One teaspoon of sea salt contains about the same amount. ¬†So, one teaspoon of salt is the daily allotment for most people. ¬†One. ¬†Teaspoon. ¬†Some people salt their food while cooking, others salt for seasoning once it’s hit the plate, and others (um…me) do both. ¬†Whoops.

Salt is often used as a preservative, which means most processed foods may contain a lot of sodium.  Mmmmmmm bacon.  Sodium is also found naturally in food and may be higher in seafood, dairy, vegetables, and meat.  Read the labels.  Do your homework.  Make a grumpy face.  For a chart on examples of different sodium levels (in mgs) in different foods, click here.

An example (let’s pretend this is my food & drink for one day…which it isn’t):

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THIS is what I ate yesterday…

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PaleoLeap wrote an interesting piece dissecting studies of sodium intake and they¬†opine that high salt intake doesn’t lead to inflammation – but the intake of junk foods (which are often sodium-laden) do. ¬†The Paleo Diet also anaylzes a lot of recent studies of sodium intake and inflammation and suggest that it does increase inflammation.

Back and forth. ¬†Back…and…forth.

I’m gonna read my labels and try to make an effort to at least keep my sodium intake within the¬†daily recommendations. ¬†I’ve done it with sugar (well, a whole hell of a lot better than I used to…). I tracked my sugar intake for a week and got a good sense of what had how much – it will be fun with sodium, too!

 

But, what are you going to do?

 

Resources:

American Heart AssociationNew Sodium Targets Could Help Put Food Choices Back in Your Hands

American Heart AssociationSea Salt vs. Table Salt

Arthritis FoundationHow to Eat Less Salt

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition – (Abstract; 2012) Dietary Salt Intake is Related to Inflammation and Albuminuria in Primary Hypertensive Patients

JagWireScientists Explore Whether a Little Less Sodium in the Diet Translates to Less Inflammation, Oxidative Stress in the Body

Journal of Nephrology – (Abstract; 2010) Impact of Adopting Low Sodium Diet on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Coagulation: A Randomized Controlled Trial

LivestrongSalt, Sodium, & Inflammation

Paleo LeapIs Salt Really Inflammatory?

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Р(Abstract; 2009) Is Higher Sodium Intake Associated with Elevated Systematic Inflammation?  A Populatrion-Based Study.

The Paleo DietNew Studies on Salt: Adverse Influence Upon Immunity, Inflammatoin, and Autoimmunity

US Food & Drug AdministrationLowering Salt in Your Diet

~ 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 ūüôā¬†Validate my writings. ¬†Or challenge them. ¬†And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. ¬†Yours ~ Lisa

Reader’s Choice : Endometrial Polyps

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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?

uterine_polypsA 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.

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.

Symptoms

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.

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mmm…Cracker Jacks

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.

Causes

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 more susceptible 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*

Diagnosis

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…

hysteroscopy

Although these methods may lead your doctor to assume you have polyps, the only way to confirm the diagnosis is by performing a biopsy.

Cancer

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 Рif 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.

Treatment

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.

Recurrence

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.

Prevention

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.

Resources:

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology – (Abstract; Aug. 2000) Exacerbation of Endometriosis as a Result of Premenopausal Tamoxifen Exposure

Ayurvedic Cure Р9 Top Herbal Remedies for Polyps

Breastcancer.org

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology – (Abstract; June 2016) Hysterescopic Polypectomy for Women Undergoing IVF Treatment: When is it Necessary?

Healthline РWhat are the Symptoms, Types, and Treatments for Polyps?

Ilana Sowter Acupunture Melbourne

International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology Р(Article; July 2016) Increased Expression of Nestin and VEGF in Endometrial Polyps: an Immunohistochemical Study

Livestrong Holistic Treatments for Cervical Polyps

Mayo Clinic

Medline Plus

News Medical РOther Uses of Tamoxifen

OBgyn.net

Search Home Remedy Р6 Best Home Remedies for Polyps

Texas Fertility Center

The Angeles Clinic

The Center for Menstrual Disorders & Reproductive Choice

The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India – (Abstract; Aug. 2016) Endometrial Polyps and Subfertility

US National Library of Medicine Р(Abstract; April 1994) Endometriosis and Tamoxifen Therapy

US National Library of Medicine – (Abstract; Nov. 2012) Risk Factors for Developing Endometrial Cancer After Benign Endometrial Sampling

Wakemed Health & HospitalsLearn What to Expect from Endometrial Polyp Removal

Womens Health Concern

~ 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 ūüôā¬†Validate my writings. ¬†Or challenge them. ¬†And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. ¬†Yours ~ Lisa

Reader’s Choice : Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

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A bird’s eye view of the pelvic floor muscles

Have you heard of pelvic floor dysfunction? ¬†I hadn’t; not¬†before meeting women who suffer from it. ¬†And I’d never heard of a pelvic floor before that, either. ¬†We’re going to focus today on pelvic floor dysfunction in women (although men can get it).¬† But¬†what is it?

The pelvic floor is made up of a lot of little muscles, nerves, and tissues all working together for your body to function. ¬†Imagine it¬†as a tightly-woven basket at the underside of your pelvis, sweeping from front to back, and side to side. ¬†Not only does it support the organs of the pelvis, but it¬†also wraps around the urethra, rectum, and vagina. ¬†When these muscles, nerves, and tissues stop working properly (they are too tense or too lax), it’s called pelvic floor dysfunction. ¬†It can cause pain and difficulty with urination, defecation, intercourse, and lower back pain.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes pelvic floor dysfunction, but¬†know that it does exist…and can occur for a lot of different reasons. ¬† Data shows that almost 50% of people that¬†suffer with constipation actually suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction.

The symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction vary:

  • Feeling like you have to poo a lot over a short period of time
  • You feel unsatisfied about a poo and feel like you’ need to go more
  • Straining to poo
  • Constipation
  • A frequent need to pee. ¬†Sometimes once you start peeing, you stop and start again mid-stream
  • It hurts to pee
  • You feel a need¬†to bear down to pee
  • Lower back pain
  • Ongoing pain in your pelvis,¬†genitals, or rectum
  • Painful sex
  • Muscle spasms along the pelvic floor

Many women with Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction.  Some of these women treat with antidepressants, which may worsen the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.

If you suspect you have pelvic floor dysfunction, your doctor will get a complete medical history from you, including your symptoms. ¬†He/she may conduct an internal physical examination to determine how¬†well you can control your¬†pelvic muscles. ¬†Another test¬†may involve the use of an adhesive pad with electrodes between your anus and vaginal opening which¬†measures muscle contractions (this does not sound pleasant). ¬†A perineometer may be used, which is a small tampon-like sensor that is inserted into the vaginal canal that takes readings of muscle strength and weakness. ¬†An x-ray test may also be conducted: ¬†you’re given an enema and your muscle contractions are visible to the physician as you push out your poo (I’d die of embarrassment). ¬†Another test may check the weakness or strength of your ability to control urinating.

You’ve been told you have pelvic floor dysfunction. ¬†Now what? ¬†Several treatment options are available to you:

  • Physical therapy : internal or external manipulation of the muscles, trigger point release, massage, nerve release, and skin rolling.
  • Biofeedback and electric stimulation : working with a physical therapist using electrodes to measure and¬†improve muscle coordination and relaxation.
  • Ultrasound therapy : using sound waves to help reduce spasms and reduce inflammation.
  • Cold laser treatments : may be used to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Medication : low-dose¬†muscle relaxants may help ease pelvic floor dysfunction and restore¬†muscle control
  • Relaxation techniques : warm baths, yoga, breathing exercises, and stretching exercises may also help realign and restore whacky muscles
  • A change in diet : eat foods¬†that are well-known to aid in the pooping-arena, such as high-fiber¬†fruits and vegetables.
  • Surgery : in extreme cases, such as rectal prolapse, surgery may be required to repair dysfunctional pelvic floor muscles.

Several of the gals in our local support group had the pleasure of going to a pelvic pain & pelvic floor therapy workshop hosted by Comprehensive Physical Therapy in San Diego.  It was wonderfully enlightening, and a few of the therapists also suffer from Endometriosis.

Prevention Magazine ran a story in 2014 (careful, lots of pop-ups) about pelvic floor dysfunction and followed the story of “Lisa.” ¬†The article also points out several tips and tricks you could do to help aid in the healing of PFD.

If you suffer from a pelvic floor disorder¬†and want to meet a community of people who also know what you’re going through, you may want to check out Voices for PFD.

Thank you, Toni, for suggesting I read up and write about PFD.  I learned a lot today.

Resources:

Cleveland Clinic

Interstitial Cystitis

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic – (Article; Feb. 2012) Recognition and Management of Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Monterey Bay Urology Associates

Prevention MagazinePrevention Magazine – (Article; April 2014) Why It Hurts Down There. What You Need to Know About Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The University of Chicago Medicine

Vital Health Institute

Voices for PFD

~ 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 ūüôā¬†Validate my writings. ¬†Or challenge them. ¬†And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. ¬†Yours ~ Lisa

New study : Endometriosis found in cynomolgus monkeys

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So, we recently wrote about Endometriosis being found in two mandrillus sphinx. ¬†Last year we learned about Endo being found in a German Shephard. ¬†Well, today we read about it being found in monkeys: cynomolgus monkeys. ¬†This is not the first time Endometriosis has been found in this breed of monkey, but we’re going to focus on just this new study today.

There are roughly 1,500 – 2,000 cynomolgus monkeys living in the breeding colony of the of the Tsukuba Primate Research Center in Japan, and it boasts of 200 newborns each year. ¬†Eight of these monkeys received ultrasounds and examinations¬†which led the facility to believe they may¬†of Endometriosis. ¬†Each of these monkeys was¬†raised at the facility. ¬†They were between 5-21 years¬†old. ¬†Half of them had given birth; the other half had never been pregnant. ¬†¬†They had always been fed daily “commercially-prepared monkey chow” and 100g of apple. ¬†Two of them had received embryo transfer procedures and some had cysts drained (which showed up¬†in routine ultrasound scans). ¬†The study does not discuss any further type of symptom suppression treatment.

Unfortunately, all eight of these monkeys perished. ¬†Three of those were found dead between 2005 – 2011; the remaining five were euthanized due to their declining state of health. ¬†All eight monkeys received autopsies and confirmed diagnoses of Endometriosis. ¬†A diagnosis “which was considered the cause of death or deterioration of the general condition of the animals.” ¬†Four of the monkeys had Endometriomas (chocolate cysts) on their ovaries, uterus, or other pelvic organs. ¬†They also had adhesions (scar tissue) and Endometriosis lesions throughout their pelvic cavity. ¬†Some were found to have Endometriosis lesions in their Pouch of Douglas, colon, and colonic muscle tissue. ¬† The two monkeys that had Endo lesions in their colon were also found to have Endometriosis lesions within their lymph nodes. ¬†Three¬†of the monkeys were also found to suffer from¬†Adenomyosis.

The data on each of these eight monkeys showed they had the following symptoms while they were menstruating:

  • decreased food consumption (all 8)
  • no bowel movements (6 monkeys)
  • loose bowel movements (7 monkeys)
  • loose bowel movements with blood (1 monkey)
  • bloating (4 monkeys)
  • vomiting (1 monkey)
  • enlarged or irregular uterus (5 monkeys)

The authors hope that further study of Endometriosis in Cynomolgus monkeys will help us better understand the disease in humans.  I just feel so awful for the animals that suffer with this illness.  We at least have a voice and can seek medical care (well, most of us).  And truly knowing that this disease has such a widespread effect on many, many species on this planet just makes it all the uglier.

Resources:

Human Reproduction Р(Article; Sept. 2016) Characteristics of Histologically Confirmed Endometriosis in Cynomolgus Monkeys

~ 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 ūüėČ Validate my writings. ¬†Or challenge them. ¬†And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. ¬†Yours ~ Lisa