Where, oh where has my bits pain gone?
January 9, 2007 10:22 PM   Subscribe

After years and years of intense menstrual pain due to endometriosis, it has suddenly eased. Frankly, this is so marvelous, but strange, I'm becoming worried. Could something (else) be wrong with my ladybits?

I started having wildly, shockingly, in bed drinking kahlua and milk, popping Advil like candy, and waiting to die menstrual pain by the time I was 13 or 14. At 19, I had the laproscopic surgery to diagnose and laser, followed by six months of temporary menopause-inducing Lupron, a year of depo-provera, and finally Yasmin birth control pills, cycled to avoid my period whenever I can afford to. All of these things had little or no effect on my pain. At that time, my endo was at a fairly early stage, a fair amount of "chocolate blisters" but little or no scar tissue or adhesion.

Now I'm 25. About four months ago, I had a really terrible period. It was worse than normal, even for me. Ever since then, they've been sort of easy. Uncomfortable, sure, but I haven't prayed for a bold of lightening to strike me down to safe the suffering in months. It's quite nice, I'm enjoying the break, but after ten years of feeling one way to suddenly feel a different way is disconcerting.

I've always read that that not all phases of endo are equally painful. Later stages with lots of adhesions can hurt less than earlier stages. I know I should go the the gyno and see what's up, but frankly, I've never had a truly helpful doctor in regards to this issue. Plus, I'm not insured right now and am relying on Planned Parenthood for my birth control, so I haven't really got a primary caretaker to consult. How worried should I be by this change of symptoms?
posted by mostlymartha to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In my experiences with various lady-bits-related health scares, Planned Parenthood was one of the very few places I trusted. I have had many horrible doctors, but Planned Parenthood (in Houston) never let me down. I even went there for a cervical biopsy once. I've found that due to the nature of their business, they are the best at talking to people on their own level without being patronizing or insincere. They will work with you regading payment for whatever treatment (if any) you need and the Houston office at least had the most up-to-date instruments and knowledge available.

My opinion is that if you aren't in pain, bleeding severely or wishing God would just let you die already, it's not an emergency. That doesn't mean you should ignore it, but don't freak out about until you are able to see the doctor. (IANAD, just a sympathetic woman.)
posted by Brittanie at 12:10 AM on January 10, 2007

I know some people will think this is a full of shit idea, but if I were you I would a) spend a lot of time googling endo and b) know that no one is going to give you an adequite answer to this.

Endo is not well understood by anyone. I don't know if you know how to do a medline search, but it's a very accessable database of medical studies. There are a lot of entries there about endometriosis, but few that detail large, high quality studies on the subject. In other words, medical science has not clearly established the causes or best treatments for this disorder. As you've noticed already, most doctors are not terribly helpful on this issue, because clear guidelines are not in place.

A visit to a medical office could be helpful in establishing the severity of the condition. You could have another lapro (which I believe is used as to diagnose as well as treat this condition). Not sure if a sonogram would be useful here. In terms of Planned Parenthood, I think it will simply be a matter of luck whether you find someone helpful there or not.

In any case, finding the stories of women who have experienced this, and getting ideas from them on the course it has taken for them, and how they manage it, would probably be helpful. That's why I'm recommending just googling.

My personal two cents says - if you're feeling better, that is wonderful and don't worry.
posted by serazin at 12:30 AM on January 10, 2007

Any severe change warrants investigation, IMO, and IANAD.

Bodies change over time, as you are reminded each month with the short term changes women normally experience, but there is long term change, too. You may just be damn lucky and something that caused you problems in your youth is resolving as you age, but what have you got to lose by having this checked out? You'll rest easier KNOWING than guessing, right?

Are you doing anything different? Diet change? Exercise? New drugs related to other problems? Weight change? More sex/less? Less stress/more? Is there anything that correlates with this? Skin changes/acne? Allergies changed? New cat?

Good luck. I hope it's just age giving you a health dividend, but it never hurts to get more info.
posted by FauxScot at 1:19 AM on January 10, 2007

FWIW, I had extreme dysmenorrhea when I was younger -- I mean, really bad -- but when I got to my late 20s it got a lot better. Just something about the hormonal balance changed, I guess. Now, I was never diagnosed with endometriosis though it had been mentioned once or twice by docs who never went beyond that, so this may or may not be relevant. But my understanding is that it's not necessarily abnormal, either.

I never thought that it could be bad, because, hey, less pain, right? So I never mentioned it to a doctor. I wonder if I should have...
posted by litlnemo at 2:41 AM on January 10, 2007

mostlymartha, I was onyl dxed with endo 2 months ago, but I experienced an easing in symptoms in my mid-late 20s as well, only to have the pain come back with a vengeance in the past couple of years. I attributed it to a change of hormones like litlnemo. Not to say I had no menstrual pain, but it was much better for me. (One of the interesting things for me about the diagnosis is that I really have finally realized other people just don't mean what I mean when they say 'bad cramps.' It's very odd.)

Sounds like you should make a PP appointment but not stress. Good luck!
posted by miss tea at 4:19 AM on January 10, 2007

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