If you’ve been a long-time follower of the blog, you may remember in 2014 when my surgeon found Endometriosis on my diaphragm. Several years later, it had completely disappeared (yay!). And it hasn’t been found in any of my subsequent surgeries. This research has been a lot of fun because of my own personal journey.
We’ve previously shared Endo Lady UK‘s experience with her own diaphragmatic Endometriosis, as well as a surgery to remove diaphragmatic Endo. We’ve even had a few brave readers, Lyndsayand Tabitha, share their own stories about endo on their diaphragm.
Melinda lives in Guyana in South America and was 35-years-old when she was diagnosed with Endometriosis. Now 40, she has started an Endometriosis Support Group in her country. May she bring the government, the women, and the medical professionals together to raise Endo awareness and improve healthcare for the Guyanese citizens!
Let me begin by thanking Lisa Drayton from Bloomin’ Uterus for giving me that little nudge I needed to start this Endo conversation in Guyana. My journey with Endometriosis has been a long and very painful one.
During the latter half of my teens I started having severe pains, heavy bleeding, bloating, lower back pain and constipation during my menstrual cycle. The pain was so intense I would sometimes faint.
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.
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.
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.
Here we go again! Discussing taboo topics that nobody ever really wants to talk about.
You may remember a few months ago I met with a gastroenterologist to discuss my complaints of pain before, during, and after bowel movements. Anyway, he referred me to a colorectal surgeon here in San Diego for some further testing. A few months later and my insurance finally approved the appointment! And *poof* my very first visit to a colorectal surgeon took place last week (nearly five months after my initial visit with my PCP to discuss these complaints)…
So, you may know that I have been having poopy issues. Severe pain when going Number Two, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
Anyway, two months after my initial consult with my PCP I finally saw the gastroenterologist today (the appointment process took that long…). Went in not knowing what to expect…
But we just sat and talked for about 30 minutes. We discussed my medical history, my Endometriosis, my diet change, supplements, my poopy symptoms, etc. He is very familiar with Endometriosis. We threw around Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis. We talked about each, compared them to my symptoms, and even discussed what I do now to keep my symptoms “under control,” as well as what the medical community could offer me for symptom control (which was prescription-strength identical to what I do now : laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication, cramping medication).
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 THEquestion…), “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:
I had read that chewing your food thoroughly helps with the digestive process, makes you feel fuller, and triggers healthy enzymes and hormones. Chewing at least 40 times before swallowing ensured *something*…but I forgot what. I had also recently undergone a 7-day colon cleanse, and without going into the gory details saw a lot of things that surprised me.
So I think I’m going to try to make an effort to chew my food more thoroughly. Maybe not 40 times per mouthful, but definitely more than the half-chew-swallow routine I’ve become accustomed to. But before I blindly decide to chomp more, I’d like to look into why it may be beneficial. And, of course, that means I’d like to share my findings with you.
What does any of this have to do with Endometriosis? Meh, probably nothing. BUT…if it can help my body become an optimal working machine, well-greased, and healthy: you bet I’ll try chewing better!