For as long as I can remember, I've had gynae problems!
I started my periods at the age of eleven. For the last 23 years, I seem to have had pains and issues that I thought were "normal" and I should just deal with. After all, I can't compare my pain with somebody else's, so how do I know what's right and what's wrong?!
In my twenties the pelvic pains started and my doctor referred me for a colonoscopy to check for IBS (a common mis-diagnosis I believe) and I was discharged with no findings. I thought the "put up and shut up" attitude was better if the doctors had found nothing, after all, they're the experts right! My advice to anyone knowing what I know now is this old cliché - you know your own body and you should keep pushing for an answer until you have it! Do not give up!
In my early thirties, I had a cervical erosion following post coital blood loss and was referred for a colposcopy treatment. I'm thankfully ok in that department now : ) At a similar time, I started developing constant pelvic pains coupled with stabbing twinges here and there; these have steadily worsened and have come to a head in the last couple of years.
Summer of 2015 after sexual intercourse, I had to ring NHS 111 because I felt so ill. The pain was so unbearable; I was losing the sight in my eyes and feeling like I was about to pass out, I would go from cold to hot sweats in a matter of seconds, I felt so nauseous. I also felt like my insides were going to fall out through my vagina and the unbelievable pressure I felt on my cervix was too much. The call handler told me to go to hospital immediately...to be honest, I think she thought I was in labour!
At the hospital, I was given pain relief and Buscopan to relieve the spasms. I had a FBC done. They tested for pregnancy - negative. I am still utterly shocked to this day that they did not do a US scan on me, but I'm no doctor! If my knowledge is correct, almost a third of all young females presenting with pelvic pain at an A&E department have ovarian cysts and complications can be life threatening! Later that day, I was transferred to a gynae ward for an internal examination and was later discharged with one of two diagnoses; PID or a ruptured ovarian cyst. Their thoughts were the latter since my white blood count was showing signs of fighting something off.
I had an US about 6 weeks later and this showed I had an ovarian cyst within my left ovary. For this reason and judging by my medical history, my follow up in the gynae department 6 weeks later still was laughable. I was told I had severe OV pains coupled with Mittelschmerz and functional ovarian cysts - nothing to worry about apparently. When I asked her why then did I get so much pressure pain on my cervix, she told me this was due to fluid loss at the time of the month! All the signs were there; pressure on my cervix, pain during intercourse, constant pelvic pain, pain during toilet time, losing old blood prior to my period yet I was still discharged from their care!
My consultant requested a routine follow up US 12 weeks later and this is when I feel like they finally started to take me seriously. The scan showed the ovarian cyst now measured 6.3 x 4.7 cms and contained echoes; blood I was told. Following this, I received a letter asking me to have blood tests to rule out cancer; not very tactfully done either...it was like, your cyst has grown and you should get your CA125, AFP and Beta HCG done to be on the safe side. My mind went in to overdrive; I thought my consultant was requestinig these tests because he knew something I didn't, he'd seen something on my US surely! With hindsight, I now know that this was an over-reaction and shows just how delicate this was now making me feel. No tests are fully conclusive and the Dr was simply ticking requirements off a list!
My next follow up was more of a being told what to do. I have two options, have an op / don't have an op - I opted for the operation. I wanted a laparoscopy and felt like I finally deserved to know what was going on inside my body.
I'm now one week passed operative laparoscopy and doing well. The operation took longer than expected as my cyst turned out to be an endemtrioma that had fused itself to my pelvic wall. The Dr also found endometriosis in other areas that were cauterised during the op. Stage 2, mid thirties and no children. He sent me away to make babies if we can!
What happens from here, I don't know. What I do know however is that I am glad I now have a name for what was making me feel so unwell and can work with the doctors and my body to try and find a way to manage the pain. If my husband and I have a baby, great. If we don't, then I'll be safe in the knowledge that we tried everything we could to make it happen and it just wasn't meant to be.
To anyone out there who knows there is a problem, but feels they're not being listened to, trust in yourself, trust that you know your body and if you want a second opionion, go and get one!
Love K x