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  1. #1
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    health-related question for females (TMI warning)

    Hello

    Let me just say that I have nothing against male FSUers reading and commenting, but do so at your own risk.

    And the question is: fibroids. Have you had them, what did you do about them, if anything, and so on.

    I finally went to see a GP about the awful cramps I've been experiencing throughout my cycle (but not during my period). The doctor thought it might be a cyst and sent me to have an ultrasound. The sonographer told me I've got fibroids. I'm going back to the doctor next week to get full results and discuss the next step. Since I deeply resent the mostly out of pocket nature of local health care (having grown up with free universal healthcare), the more informed I am to start with and the fewer times I've got to go back the better. So, please contribute to my knowledge pool.

    The background to this is that symptoms do not quite add up in my brain based on internet research. It's supposed to be heavy/painful periods, but my periods are very light and nearly pain free. My current symptoms are strong pains and cramps, it kind of feels like my uterus is being twisted into knots. They start soon after the end of my period and do not ease off until a couple of days before the next period. Mid-cycle they get can get so bad I can't move, at other times it's more like constant abdominal discomfort. Yep, it's like being in some degree of pain for 3 weeks out of 4... I do experience some bloating at times, but have always thought it to be related to food. Similarly, I have always blamed the frequent toilet trips on my daily consumption of 2-4 L of water.

    I had extremely heavy and painful periods in my teens, which then grew lighter but remained fairly painful and in the end I went on the pill at 22 or so for a few years (North Americans might be familiar with Tri-Cyclen, which is meant to be a low dose pill). I have been off the pill for nearly 2 years and have not been using any other form of hormonal BC since. At first, I got some period cramps, but then these strange pains started appearing and getting stronger. The past few months have been especially unpleasant, and having ruled out stomach sleeping and wide, tight elastic PJ waistband as causes, I finally realized this needs to be looked into...


    Thanks in advance for any contributions. I'm feeling a bit freaked out looking at the treatment options online.

    Lothlorien

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    Ugh, that sucks! I feel for you. Hang in there!

    Yeah, the symptoms are backwards from typical period-related stuff. Hormonally, it makes sense that women normally cramp during their periods since it's the uterus doing the squeezing. (The hormones also cause all smooth muscles in the area to go a little haywire, which is why so many of us also experience weird digestive issues during that time as well.) The cramping between periods is completely backwards from that.

    My mom had really painful cramps during her periods that turned out to be endometriosis. I have no idea if that's in anyway related, but it's all I got right now. Sorry it's not much help.

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    I am headed off for work right now, but when I get back I will post some more information for you. My new doctor is one of the leaders in the field of endometriosis and fibroids. It took me six doctors to find one who I like and can work with on these problems.

    He has given me a load of information, including books that he has written on the topic.

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    I have one fibroid, reeks havoc every month for me. I have heavy long periods that come about every 14-18 days and have been for 4 years. I am in peri-mental pause but haven't missed a period yet. Cramps are annoying each period too.

    www.womentowomen.com is a great women's health website, check it out.

    Its a pain in the ass to be a woman and fibroids are very common among us, good thing after mentalpause many fibroids shrink and go away naturally.

    I feel your pain!
    Without fear you cannot find courage

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    Thanks so much.

    The doctor initially suspected cyst(s) or endometriosis, but none of that. I won't be finding out the details until I see the GP again mid-week next week. I'm kind of stumped, since it seems like heavy and/or irregular periods are the norm with fibroids, but mine are quite regular and very light. It would help to know my family's history, but I have no information at all.

    The Women to Women website mentions that relationship problems can be contributors. Must be my body's way of reacting to my horrid ex-relationship. Except why is it happening now, with the ex out of the picture for months and me feeling so happy?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lothlorien View Post
    Hello

    I finally went to see a GP about the awful cramps I've been experiencing throughout my cycle (but not during my period). The doctor thought it might be a cyst and sent me to have an ultrasound.

    The background to this is that symptoms do not quite add up in my brain based on internet research. It's supposed to be heavy/painful periods, but my periods are very light and nearly pain free. My current symptoms are strong pains and cramps, it kind of feels like my uterus is being twisted into knots.
    Endometriosis? That's what it sounds like, based only on symptoms; but if the ultrasound showed a fibroid... could it be you have both?

    And you're off the pill right now, yes? One thing that some doctors suggest re: fibroids and endo is to go *on* the pill. So that would be one suggestion. For the pain, take Advil/naproxin sodium. That's what doctors recommended to my sister, and she says it helps tons.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    You didn't say how old you are. It might matter. The other day when at my doctor she asked if I had any family history of early menopause (I'm 41). In any case, it occurred to me that if you're anywhere near that age the hormones could be starting to do strange and atypical things.

    Good luck, and I hope you find a solution soon!

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    I thought my post makes my age bracket pretty clear. 29 it is.

    Off the pill indeed, but want to go back on BC and that's part of the reason why I went to see the GP. Will be getting the Implanon/Janelle/Norplant thing, I think.

    I've got an aversion to pills - that's what being brought up in a "suck it up unless you're near death from pain" mode does to you. Besides, I don't think taking Advil or equivalent for 3 weeks out of 4 would be a good option or one endorsed by a doctor...

    The sonographer only mentioned the fibroids, possibly to explain why the exam was taking forever and getting increasingly uncomfortable (she needed to do the measurements). I might have both indeed - will find out when I see the doctor. But fibroids are a given.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    Endometriosis? That's what it sounds like, based only on symptoms; but if the ultrasound showed a fibroid... could it be you have both?

    And you're off the pill right now, yes? One thing that some doctors suggest re: fibroids and endo is to go *on* the pill. So that would be one suggestion. For the pain, take Advil/naproxin sodium. That's what doctors recommended to my sister, and she says it helps tons.
    My mom tried taking OTC pills to dull the endometriosis pain, and it didn't help. Chinese herbs (although it tasted super-nasty) helped a lot more.

    Eventually the solution which worked was surgery. She didn't look too hot post-surgery (anesthesia made her nauseous so she was throwing up) and she had to get her dressings changed regularly (which nobody in the family was willing to do but me ) and she learned that having your butt be out of commission for weeks is very inconvenient. But no more pain.

    Plus she was already in her 40s at the time, so it was really only a few more years until menopause anyway. But the pain was so bad she wasn't going to suffer those few more years.

    If you're going to do BC, implants will do the same thing as pills. I've got an aversion to BC because of the constant hormone dose and that doesn't sit well with me personally because I don't suffer from PMS or cramps so I technically don't really need it. It'd be the same difference pills or not.

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    I just had my annual exam today and found out that I have an enlarged uterus. I have to schedule a ultrasound... I'm only a little freaked out, hoping its something minor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shan View Post
    I just had my annual exam today and found out that I have an enlarged uterus. I have to schedule a ultrasound... I'm only a little freaked out, hoping its something minor.
    How old are you? I had this happen at 38, 42, 47 and 50! Sometimes its a thickening of the uterus too. Ultrasound is the first step and from there anything else D & C or endometrial biopsy.

    From what I understand in peri-mental pausel women this is common.

    Let us know.
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    The ultrasound (which will probably be the trans-vaginal kind, which gives great images) will let them measure the thickness of the lining and the overall size of the uterus, as well as the size of any fibroids. They'll also get measurements on the ovaries and see what the follicular situation look like. Have you also had blood work done to check hormone levels?

    If it is a fibroid-related problem, there are several treatments now that are pretty minor trans-vaginal procedures.

    If it is just a larger-than-average uterus, it may not be a problem at all. The ultrasound will really give you a lot of information, especially if you meet or talk with your doctor once he/she has the results.

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    I've had bloodwork which came out fine, I assume they checked hormone levels. I'm 35 if that means anything. We'll see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shan View Post
    I've had bloodwork which came out fine, I assume they checked hormone levels. I'm 35 if that means anything. We'll see.
    Yes, I started with peri-mentalpause symptoms at 35. Acne was the first sign that I was on the spiral down to mental pause!

    Its scary no doubt and please let us know!
    Without fear you cannot find courage

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    Endometriosis cannot be confirmed with an ultrasound. It needs to be visualized in surgery. It is definitely possible to have both endometriosis and fibroids. You can also have endometriomas, also known as chocolate cysts, which may be able to be viewed on an ultrasound.

    On the plus side, so many gynecological surgeries (exploratory, too) can be done on an out-patient basis with same-day surgeries, which keeps costs down for everyone.

    Endometriosis.org has some great information resources, including questions to ask your doctor on your next visit.

    Good luck, and keep us updated. Naproxen Sodium (Anaprox) is probably the best OTC meds for pelvic pain.

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    I had HUGE fibroids (one the size of a coconut plus two others) at age 34 and had my uterus removed -- never planned to have kids anyway, but the thought of never again having a period was too enticing, since they were so painful. Love the additional freedom and never had any regrets.

    Good luck with the diagnostic process and finding a treatment that works for you.

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    Fibroids can cause pain anytime of the month and not just during your period. I should know because mine did and I put up with them for 5 years before I had a hysterectomy.

    I have PCOS and I had the enlarged uterus along with 8 fibroids. Though we didn't know it until the surgery (and I had the an internal ultrasound every 3 months for those 5 years) I also had at end had some endometriosis.

    As for taking pain meds all the time, I had a continuous prescription of pain meds that I was told by my dr to take whenever and for every how many days in a row I needed them. They gradually got stronger.

    If age matters, I was 32 when we found my first 3. I had my surgery almost 2 yrs ago (July 1st) and I wasn't showing any signs of menapause at all. I was on oral BC and had been for a while but my periods had gotten gradually worse even with them.
    Have you hugged your kids and told them you love them today?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    If you're going to do BC, implants will do the same thing as pills. I've got an aversion to BC because of the constant hormone dose and that doesn't sit well with me personally because I don't suffer from PMS or cramps so I technically don't really need it. It'd be the same difference pills or not.

    I know it's going to do the same thing. But it's going to do it without having to pop a pill every day. Part of the reason I went off the pill was because I got fed up with having to pop a pill daily.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lothlorien View Post
    I know it's going to do the same thing. But it's going to do it without having to pop a pill every day. Part of the reason I went off the pill was because I got fed up with having to pop a pill daily.
    Having to take it at the same time every day does get tedious, but I figure one measly little pill per day is nothing compared to some of the drug regimens many people have to take in order to live.

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    I know someone whose fibroids were so bad that she was anemic from all the bleeding. After a couple of minor procedures she was finally hospitalized and got an emergency hysterectomy. She bounced back better than ever and was wishing she'd done it years before. So if it's bad, just go for the hysterectomy.

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