Chronic Pelvic Pain…. Endometriosis?

For about 6 1/2 years now, I have been having some pretty excruciating pain starting around the time I ovulate and lasting until my period begins two weeks later.  In the beginning it was just a mild twinge every once in awhile, a vaguely uncomfortable feeling, but not enough to really rock my world.  It progressed, however, until it was an evil enemy that would pounce on me unexpectedly and quickly with ferocity.  It left me feeling paralyzed with pain, and drained of all energy.  At one time I was taking 2 Ibuprofen every 4 hours and was still in pain.  My personal theories (after considering everything under the sun) included endometriosis and ovarian cysts.  Needless to say, both possibilities worry me because of their links to infertility.

I finally went to the doctor (why do we delay these things so long?) in September and had a transvaginal sonogram.  That ruled out any ovarian cysts.  I probably have a small amount endometriosis, my doctor said, but we won’t need to do anything about it unless I have problems conceiving (I really love that she didn’t try to push an procedures on me at this point).  It’s funny that just a little bit of endometriosis could cause all the pain I have experienced, but that’s the way it works.  Sometimes, the doctor said, a woman can be full of growths and not experience any pain at all!  Doctors will often suggest hormonal birth control as a way to stop ovulation and therefore get pain relief, but I am becoming pretty passionate against synthetic hormones, so that is really not an option for me.

Thankfully, I am discovering that I am able to control a lot of my pain with diet.  During the last few years I have greatly improved my eating habits.  I eat a vegan diet, concentrating on whole foods and avoiding processed products.  We have also started buying only organic foods.  During the last two months, during the time when I know I usually have pain (between ovulating and starting my period), I have REALLY concentrated on eating only whole, non-processed foods.  I have a theory that preservatives exacerbate the problem.  I haven’t been completely free from pain during these last two months, but the pain has definitely occurred with less frequency and intensity (I have kept detailed records for a long time).  In fact, last month was the first in a long time that I didn’t take any Ibuprofen for the pain!  I do regularly use a heating pad and that is very relaxing and soothing.

Now that I know with some certainty what I’m up against (and that it’s not something horrible like cancer), I feel quite a bit better.  My pain usually originates from the right side, and at my appointment I was told that I had probably actually ovulated from the left side that month.  That actually made me feel great because I thought, “Hey, even if endo is screwing up my right ovary, maybe I at least have a fully-functioning left one!”  Here’s hoping and praying that I don’t have fertility problems.

If I can’t conceive after 6 months of active trying, my doctor said to come back and she would go ahead and refer me to a fertility specialist.  They would do a laparoscopy to see if something (endo growth) was blocking my fallopian tubes.  My regular gyno could do the same thing, but the fertility specialist would be equipped to use more finesse when clearing out obstructions to facilitate fertility, since that is their obvious goal.  Hopefully I will never have to take that step, but it’s nice to know what to expect if it came to that.

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