Bye Bye Nuva Ring

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Nuva Ring No More

This post is for all my female readers out there!

Since my diagnosis of Endometriosis and undergoing a laparoscopy in January 2013, I’ve struggled with managing my endometriosis without the help of any medicine. I’m finding that my cramps are unbearable for 2 days of the month and I’m spending a whole week miserable with PMS symptoms.

My doctor suggested I go back on birth control because that is shown to help symptoms of endometriosis. Before trying to have a baby in 2011, I’d been on the Nuva Ring for almost 9 years. I never had any problems with it and liked not having to worry about taking a pill each day.

I decided to go back on the Nuva Ring to help control my endo. Well, 1 month later and I’m throwing in the towel.

Let me tell you why…

I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until last week but I’m fairly certain all of the symptoms I’ve had for the past month relate directly to the Nuva Ring. Obviously, with all my other issues from food, these could be related to some new food intolerance but the timing of when I started using the ring and when the symptoms started is just too coincidental.

For 4 days after insertion, I suffered from migraines. I was on a trip with my mother and continually popped Excedrine to control the pain. I was nervous because I typically only get them for 1 day at a time. The fact that it didn’t go away scared me.

The day I took the ring out, I enjoyed another wonderful migraine and finally the heaviest day of my monthly cycle came with a bang and a migraine that sent me to urgent care to get a shots in my butt.  I’d never had a migraine in my right temple and it worried me that this one came with serious vomiting. I even had to do it outside of the urgent care with people walking by to go to the grocery store. Certainly, not one of my classiest moments. I despise vomiting.

One of the shots was a pain-killer and the other one was phenergen for nausea.

A few days before I took the ring out, I developed major anxiety and started having panic attacks for no reason. I spent a whole night crying in our kitchen over nothing and laying in bed with my husband sobbing. Eventually I started mumbling something about the word “gluten” and how much I was sick of hearing about it. I even pulled out some Buspar (anti-anxiety) from last year to help calm my nerves.

My usually normal complexion quickly filled with pimples and cysts on my face like a 14-year-old boy and I managed to gain 10 more pounds in just under 4 weeks. This puts my post celiac weight gain at 30 pounds instead of the 20 I already was frustrated with before going on the ring.

I’ve had the ring out for a week now and all of my anxiety is gone. No more panic attacks. I lost 3 pounds. My face is starting to heal and I hopefully am done with these headaches. I’m going to a new doctor in about 6 weeks so I’m going to track my symptoms and anything else that happens to see if they occur without being on the Ring.

It’s interesting there are also class action lawsuits on the Ring and CBS News even has an article about the potential fatal dangers of this drug. As with any drug, there are always risks but when they start piling up, that’s when maybe it’s needs a second look.

So, let’s recap –

In the first month of going on the Nuva Ring I had the following happen:

  1. 10 pound weight gain
  2. Major anxiety
  3. Panic Attacks
  4. Cysts and pimples all over my face
  5. Migraines
  6. Fatigue

I made an appointment with a new doctor in just a few weeks and decided to cease using the Nuva Ring. My biggest concern is wondering why this time around I’ve seen such negative side effects when prior experience showed my body responded very well to the Ring. Weird.

I’ll post my progress over the next few weeks and keep you updated after I go to my new doctor. I hope he will have some answers for me! But I would love to hear from you, if you are comfortable sharing…

Have you experienced anything like this with the Ring? 

How have you managed your Endometriosis?

A smiling and happy Rebecca

 

What is a Laparoscopy and how is the recovery?

Last Wednesday I went in to have an Laparoscopy completed to do an exploration for endometriosis or other problems causing my symptoms. Endometriosis was confirmed after an hour long surgery.

What is a Laparaoscopy? It is a surgery done by small incisions in the abdomen and/or pelvic region with a camera. It can confirm diagnosis of things like fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and tumors or can be done for surgical procedures like partial hysterectomies, lump removal and endometriosis tissue removal.

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I was brought into an outpatient surgery center where they prepped me about 90 minutes before my procedure. They do a pregnancy test, hemoglobin test and start an iv with antibiotics. The doctor and anesthesiologist came back and talked to me before the procedure. My husband was able to come back and wait with me until they took me back into the surgery room.

The path to the room was very cold. The room appeared sterile and bright lights were everywhere. All the nurses introduced themselves to me and made me feel very comfortable. The last time I had a procedure done for my D&C I was asleep prior to entering the operating room so it was weird to be awake while they prepped me.

I came out of my surgery in the recover room with a very sore belly. The nurse kept giving me pain medication until the pain was a 3 out of 10. My stomach looked like I swallowed a basketball. My husband spoke with the doctor after my procedure which confirmed I had endometriosis and an inflamed bladder.

At home I was all set up on the couch. It was advised not to go up or down stairs and stay close to a restroom. I fell right asleep and my husband went to pick up the pain medication and nausea pills. I will tell you that every time I have surgery, I become extremely nauseous. I asked this time for the doctor to prescribe some Phenergen which will not only help you sleep but eliminate the stomach problems. I was given Tylenol 3′s which lasted through the weekend. After that I moved on to Aleve.

I really didn’t notice any pain in my shoulders and back like many people said I would and I think partially it’s because of the pain medication and staying laying for most of the time.

Here are some pictures!

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Now here are my tips for recovery –

1. Make sure you have someone the first couple of days to help pull you up off the couch or the bed. Your abs will be incredibly sore. I often found myself sliding off the side of the couch just to get up.

2. Go to the restroom – it’s going to burn but it helps alleviate some pain and fullness in your belly.

3. Drink lots of non-carbonated liquids.

4. Have food and snacks at home to help you. I basically lived off of Annie’s gluten free mac & cheese, jello and gluten free crackers.

5. You will likely be constipated. I resorted to yogurt even though I have lactose problems just to get my bowels moving. I ate 3 containers of yogurt and never had a loose stool or stomach ache.

6. If you just have the scope done with nothing removed and 1 entry point, I would say 3-4 days is a good time to recover. If you end up having things removed, plan on being out for at least a week.

7. Rest! Don’t try to do anything, even though it’s incredibly boring! I really believe I’m healing faster because I’ve stayed on the couch and forced my body to rest instead of jumping back into things too quickly.

8. Get up and move every few hours just to prevent stiffness.

9. Make sure you have baggy pants because anything tight around your waist will be very uncomfortable. Not to mention I gained 10 pounds right after the surgery and none of my normal pants fit me. So I’m glad I had some baggy pants laying around I could wear.

10. Dont stress. While it’s overwhelming to think about what  is going on, it’s important to remain stress free!

So, today is my last day on the couch and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m ready to get back into my gym and back to work. I finally can sit up for a little bit at a time and write this post. That’s been a huge struggle for me just to sit up right.

Many of you sent comments, messages and love to me while I was down and I appreciate it so much.

Thank you!

 

 

 

Endometriosis Diagnosis – Now what?

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If you’ve been reading along with my last few posts, you know that I’ve been worried something else is happening in my body other than celiac disease. Well, I finally have some answers.

Yesterday I had a laparascopy procedure done to explore some problems I’ve been having with cramping all the time. I am always terrified to get put to sleep for general anesthesia because there is a battle in my head about not waking up.

“Laparoscopy is a surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through a cut (incision) in the belly to look at the abdominal organsor the female pelvic organsLaparoscopy is used to find problems such as cystsadhesionsfibroids, and infection. Tissue samples can be taken for biopsy through the tube (laparoscope).” – Source WebMD

Before I went back in to the test, my doctor came in to talk with me and explain further about the procedure. 30 minutes if there is nothing to find and more like an hour if they have to remove tissue from endometriosis.

My doctor was primarily looking for endometriosis. When I woke up after the exam, I learned it took almost an hour confirming the doctor’s suspicion that I have endometriosis.

So, what is Endometriosis?

“Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial tissue-which normally lines the uterus-in other parts of the body. Endometriosis typically grows in the abdominal cavity and most often attaches to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surface of the uterus, bowels, or other abdominal organs.

Endometriosis growths, called implants or lesions, often bleed during menstruation, causing pain. They may also develop scar tissue (adhesions) that can interfere with an organ’s normal function. Scar tissue can also cause pain and trouble becoming pregnant (infertility).

Endometriosis can be treated with medicines or with surgery to remove implants and scar tissue.”Source WebMD

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My doctor removed tissue found on several different organs so I came out with 4 holes all over my stomach and pubic area from where he entered to scrape the tissue cells. The procedure was pretty easy and after getting home I slept pretty much the rest of the day and night.

Today is day 2 of recovery, and I’m hurting pretty bad. It’s nearly impossible for me to sit up without incredible pain. If I just lay with my body elevated a little, it doesn’t hurt much. Moving seems to be the biggest hurdle right now. Instead of stitches, the openings were glued together. And, I heard from everyone I would have pain in my shoulders from the CO2 but I don’t have that pain at all, so that’s one less thing to be concerned about!

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I want to thank you all for being so incredibly supportive and sending all your love, thoughts and prayers for me during this time. Knowing there are so many people that care and are offering help warms my heart.

I don’t meet up with the doctor again for the next few weeks. No lifting 10 pounds or more for 3-4 weeks. No working out for a minimum of 2-3 weeks and resting for a few days to regain my strength.

After I see the doctor again, I will talk to him about what I am going to do for treatment options. Endometriosis does not have a cure and from what I’m reading can be challenging to treat. I am relieved that it isn’t much more serious like ovarian cancer or other serious reproductive cancers. The doctor also found my bladder to be inflamed and will refer me to a urologist to check to see what’s going on there.

If this is the last piece of the puzzle, I will be elated! I can’t emphasize this enough – LISTEN to your BODY!! If you feel that something is wrong, don’t wait unit its too late. Get help and get treatment. Don’t take no for an answer if your instincts are telling you otherwise.

Had I not switched doctors because I was unhappy with the last one, I probably wouldn’t have found out about the endometriosis this soon and it may have progressed into something much worse.

While I was doing my research, I came upon a study which found a connection between celiac disease and endometriosis. Doesn’t it seem like everything can be linked to celiac disease?

Check out this study:

PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATION:

Celiac disease (CD) involves immunologically mediated intestinal damage with consequent micronutrient malabsorption and varied clinical manifestations, and there is a controversial association with infertility. The objective of the present study was to determine the presence of CD in a population of infertile women with endometriosis.

METHODS:

A total of 120 women with a diagnosis of endometriosis confirmed by laparoscopy (study group) and 1,500 healthy female donors aged 18 to 45 years were tested for CD by the determination of IgA-transglutaminase antibody against human tissue transglutaminase (t-TGA) and anti-endomysium (anti-EMA) antibodies.

RESULTS:

Nine of the 120 women in the study group were anti-tTGA positive and five of them were also anti-EMA positive. Four of these five patients were submitted to intestinal biopsy which revealed CD in three cases (2.5% prevalence). The overall CD prevalence among the population control group was 1:136 women (0.66%).

CONCLUSION:

This is the first study reporting the prevalence of CD among women with endometriosis, showing that CD is common in this population group (2.5%) and may be clinically relevant.

F.M. Aguiar et al. Serological testing for celiac disease in women with endometriosis. A pilot study. Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2009;36(1):23-5.

I want to make sure those of you who may struggle with cramping throughout the month, severe periods and break through bleeding to get checked asap. There are serious ailments that can be caused by those symptoms. Get it checked before it checks you into something worse. If you have celiac disease, I think it’s fair to say we need to be extra diligent with our heath.

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