Ever wanted to kill everyone you come in to contact with?
Happens to me a lot, though it’s not strictly relevant to why I’m here writing this. But let’s use this to slide easily into the subject of girl hormones. This girl’s hormones have gone a bit wrong, and I’m currently entering the estrogen muddied waters of treatment for uterine fibroids and endometriosis. The first is a benign kind of muscle tumour, found in or on the uterus. The second is where womb lining either forms in places outside of the uterus. Basically, a wandering period. Yup. That’s what I said.
Fibroids can be small or large, harmless or problematic. They can disappear on their own or need cutting out. They can just sit there doing nothing. They might be genetic, they might not. They might have environmental triggers, they might not. They might cause you pain and problematic periods. They definitely interact with the hormone estrogen and they are not that uncommon, particularly if you are over 30 and have never given birth. I am both of these things and my maternal grandmother was a sufferer, so thanks for that Nan!!
Endometriosis is, well, I’m still trying to get my head around that part. I went to see a nice lady with a terrifying ultrasound ‘wand’ expecting to be told about the fibroid it turns out that I do have. I wasn’t expecting the bonus feature of the endometriosis bit, which is still a theory as it can only be fully diagnosed with a laparoscopy which my nobby GP doesn’t seem to think I need. We’ll talk about him later. But in the meantime I’ve been hanging out on google and the NHS website to enjoy some fairly stomach churning literature on this biological phenomenon. This has explained away a long tick list of symptoms that I have experienced pretty much since I hit puberty. I’m not going to give you the full, crampy breakdown now but cramps are certainly on it. There’s also a load of horrific stuff associated with endo that I don’t have, and I thank my stars for that pretty much every time I think about my girl bits, which is pretty frequently at the moment.
Should I say horrific stuff associated with endo that I don’t have yet? Because that is the biggest anxiety for me at the moment. I was hormonally unstable and frequently sick as a teenager. I spent 16ish years on the pill and it went away. I’ve been pill free for a couple of years now and the symptoms are slowly creeping back and at the moment I am living my life around them with plenty of pain relief and big knickers. But it’s not easy. I’m not great at pain, I’m a massive scaredy when it comes to medical procedures and I have an over active imagination so this is already getting worse before it actually starts getting worse. Which, according to my sources, it is likely to do.
So I thought I’d write about it, while I wait for my gyne- referral letter and scour the web for tales of how this all might end, and what might make it better in the mean time. Dietary control is of interest to me as a keen cook/food obsessive, as is the environmental influence- by which I mean growing evidence of various everyday chemicals that are suspected to accumulate in the body and mess with our hormones (estrogen in particular). I don’t like the term ‘toxin’ as it is misleadingly generic, but parabens and pthalates and, get ready for this one, placental extracts in beauty products are on my hit list.
Yes I said placental extracts. In your night cream. Vom!!!!! More reasons to go vegan at the cosmetics counter.
It is easy to sound upbeat about it all and make jokes about laying some nice moisture rich placenta on your face, but in truth it is an emotionally taught time. I’m sure a lot of other people have found mixed relief and anxiety when getting this diagnosis. It’s good to put a name it, especially if you’ve spent time being told you have ‘just’ got period pain or IBS or something similar. It is, however also vaguely terrifying to dip a toe into the inconclusive research waters of not one but two only sort-of understood physical conditions going on right inside you.
I feel daunted, and to be honest I feel invaded too. My first coping mechanism is to visualise my fibroid as an amiable take on the parasitic bloody stump stomach exploder from Alien. I’ve named him Charlie, and I’m sure he’s got little glasses and enjoys Terry Pratchett novels. Mort in particular. I’m not sure why I’ve made him a boy, some surfacing latent man hate, no doubt.
My second coping mechanism, well, you just read it.
I’ll be back.