My Reproductive Nightmare

Girl Talk – Running and Endometriosis

My Best Friend

SO. I have endometriosis, but I’ve also had ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids. If you are a male – you should probably stop reading now. It’s about to get all girly up in here.

Severe cramps/painful periods – or “dysmenorrhea” for you medical types – can often be blamed on any one of those three issues. I tend to blame it all on the endometriosis because there are millions of women who suffer with endometriosis so it gives everyone a point of reference. I have had severely painful cramps for 10’ish years or something. They were so bad through several points in my life that I found myself having to take sick days off work at least once a month. This causes problems since most businesses only give you 5 days a year. AND I MENSTRUATE EVERY MONTH. Which, you know, seems excessive to me. But whatevs.

But since I started REALLY running, I think I’ve only had to miss 2 days related to my girly bits. The cramps have REALLY subsided. Now, I still have bad days and I still over-indulge in ibuprofen every month, but I rarely am actually incapacitated by it. UNFORTUNATELY – my suffering was always 2-part. And this is where any males who stuck with this entry should REALLY turn away now.

I also suffer from menorrhagia and menometrorrhagia. Basically? I bleed a lot. And it can be all month. And with the subsiding of the severe pains, it seems the bleeding has increased from “A Lot” to “OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE IN THE BATHROOM FOR 72 HOURS EVERY MONTH.” And I’m not exaggerating. Whatever “method” I choose to use to deal with this, NOTHING keeps me away from a bathroom more than an hour. And let me tell you – THIS IS AN AWFUL WAY TO LIVE. It also creates a lot of dirty laundry which is the most depressing part. Screw the hormone fluctuations associated with my cycle, you know what makes me the most batshit insane? The constant need to change my pants due to MENORRHAGIA. It’s embarrassing and it makes me feel about as awesome as you can IMAGINE it would make me feel.

So, yeah. Things are BETTER with running. But they still SUCK ROYAL DONKEY BALLS.

I did plan to get some “cleaning up” done last April. They were going to go in and burn some of the endometriosis off my girly parts, and they were going to give me a D&C (For Fun! Not for miscarriage! Who knew?) to just get everything cleaned up so that Donnie and I could maybe still try to have another kid someday. But then the tornado came and took out power to the entire city for 5 days and I haven’t rescheduled. I will reschedule, but we’ve actually been wondering if we’re done having kids or not. If we’re done having kids, they can do a lot more to “treat” me. So, you know, I suffer with excessive bleeding and tolerable cramps as long as I run, until we decide.

But I really do think the running has helped with the cramps. I think I’m probably at a “normal” level of monthly pain now, with periodic “severe” days where I used to be the opposite. Will running help your cramps? I don’t know. But I know that I’ve heard from a lot of sufferers who run, the same thing. Now, if only I could find something to stop the other joys associated with my wonderful reproductive system. Something other than ripping it all out, of course.

22 thoughts on “Girl Talk – Running and Endometriosis”

  1. I’ve recently been diagnosed with what probably is endometriosis. My lady bits doctor told me she can’t confirm it without surgery but my symptons point that way. (Though sound much milder than what you are suffereing) So after making the decision 3 years ago to get the Paraguard IUD and eliminate the hormones i was getting from the pill, now I’m back on the pill (day 4 of my first pack actually). I’m ok with taking the pill again as I never had any problems when I was taking it. I have notcied in the past couple of months that when I’m truly hurting exercise feels fantastic. While I’m completely tempted to lie on the couch with a heating pad, I actually feel better up and moving around. So I make sure I get my 5-6 day of working out in every week (running is included but I only do 2 miles a day at the most), take my pills, keep a supply of pain relviever and other needed lady supplies and I’m coping. My thoughts are with you. Man, being a lady is just hard work.

  2. I’ve definitely heard this before (exercise/running = less severe cramps) and know that when I’m truly in a running groove, my own cramps seem better. (Of course, my current solution works even better – breastfeeding = no periods at all! WOOT! Let’s forget the downside of having a baby dangling from my chest all.the.time and having no personal space and freedom, to do such things as running… and concentrate on the NO PERIODS part. yes, indeed)

    Good luck with all the rest (I, too, bleed a lot when I am actually having my period… but yours seems about 1000x worse, so all I can say is, WOW. GOOD LUCK.) – I hope you get the proper medical care for YOU soon, whatever it might be!

  3. Good timing on this post- I am about to get my girly parts, as you so eloquently put it, ripped out. I am done having kids because 4 is enough but also, my problems make another pregnancy I’ll advised. I have to have it done through the abdomen which means I will be unable to drive for weeks. I am not happy about it but I will be glad not to have the awful cramps anymore. I feel for you and totally sympathize. After my recovery, I am making a renewed fitness goal and you really have inspired me so thanks! But I will never get up at 4 am.

  4. I’ve found Aleve to work better than ibuprofen for cramps. I used to have the “take the day off work because I’m throwing up from the pain” kind of cramps and Aleve would knock it back to a “curl up on the couch and think I’m going to die but at least I’m not losing my lunch” kind of pain.

    I’m one of the lucky ones though, pregnancy seems to have cured my girly issues. I consider that the trade-off for growing a freakin’ melanoma while I was pregnant.

  5. You don’t have to have your girly parts ripped out! Many years after I was finished having kids, I started bleeding really heavy and nonstop for about 4 months. My doctor performed a Uterine Ablation. Basically they burn out the inside of you uterus. I had a little spotting for a few days after the surgery, and nothing else. My body still sometimes tell me when I should be having my period. I may get a little moody, crave chocolate and potato chips…oh wait – that could me at any given time during the month, and maybe a slight cramp or two for about 30 seconds and that is it.

    The surgery itself took all of about 15 minutes. They did a D&C first then the uterine ablation. It did hurt bad in recovery but they loaded me up on som really awesome pain meds. But by 3:00 that afternoon I was motrin and barely needed it. Like I said before, a little light spotting for maybe a week. Oh, and no sex for about 4-6 weeks to give everything a chance to heal up.

    Ask your doctor about his option rather than going straight to a hysterectomy. For me it has been the best! I haven’t had to change my pants 3 times a day, sleep on towels and not be totally embarassed because my body hates me.

  6. I was the same way but when I had my first c-section he was able to explore and find the endo and the fibroids, the cysts they always see when the do my ultrasounds.

    Being a lady IS hard work!

  7. They did talk about doing the ablation last time, especially if we decide “NO” on kids. If we decide “YES” he was a little worried due to previous uterine scarring…but I’m definitely considering it!

  8. Cecilia, thank you for this. I’m going to ask my doctor about this, as I’m definitely done having kids and have been bleeding everyday since before Christmas. Something has to give! Making an appointment today.

  9. I’m actually going to talk to my lady doctor about this in two weeks. I have lived with the horrible heavy periods for my entire life and now that I’m in my 40’s cramps and a wacked out cycle have become an added bonus. I know now at this point I will not be having kids, so I’m getting it taken care of. So I feel your pain on the added laundry and the accidents. Black pants are my best friend.

  10. That’s funny that you say that, because I was on iron for a 6 months because they took my blood draw the week of my period and I was anemic.

  11. I have Stage 4 endo, so I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Second worst pain to childbirth. But running helps huh? I have always wanted to be a runner, but I haven’t run IN YEARS. Since, like, field day 4th grade. I don’t even know where to start! I have been reading all about your running and you already had me thinking about it, but this really brings it home for me. I did the depo provera shot for a couple of years because I don’t have pain unless I’m bleeding, so the doctors gave me that. About a year ago I had breakthrough bleeding for about 8 weeks straight and NOW I’m on the depo lupron shot, which essentially has put me into menopause. Which sucks. And a full hysteroctomy would put me into medically induced menopause. There is no easy answer with this stull. Along with my endo, I also polycystic ovarian syndrome, so yea, my uterus is a broken wasteland that brinds lots of pain, physically and emotionally. So.. now that I have rambled on enough… how does one start running?

  12. I am in a similar situation, don’t have anything diagnosable (they ran all kinds of tests) they just tell me unfortunately you bleed a lot… end of story. Yes they did talk about the ablation but i have to pay the first 4k out of pocket every year, and its just not in my budget to have elective surgery cost my family at this time. During the Christmas party at my son’s school (which is only 45 minutes long mind you and I was wearing a full pad AND a super tampon that was changed just prior to walking in the school) I had to race out of the classroom purse in hand because I could feel it almost RUSHING and knew there was going to be a mess, had I waited even a couple more minutes, I would have gone thru my clothes. I was near tears in the bathroom because I was so damn embarrassed, here I was RUNNING a craft project with a room full of 1st graders and I had to run out in front of them and a bunch of other parents. It sucks (I also had to run out mid-zumba this week…. but at least its all women and I figure one of them at least probably understands) *sigh*

  13. I had slight endometriosis. I had other symptoms… I could tell that my periods were getting worse ( but nothing compared to yours or the above stories!) after going off the pill that I had been on for years. So I had ablation two years ago, since we were definitely done with having kids! Best thing ever!! Until 2 months ago…when guess what started agian? But just for 2 months….now nothing again. It was a great thing to have done. I would definitely consider it before having everything taken out.
    Also, have you thought about abdominal massage for the pain? I had massage that happened to be during very painful days two months ago, and it really helped end the bleeding. I have a highly trained massage therapist friend who you could talk to. I think this is a form of therapy for some people. It is worth thinking about.
    We missed you this week! Ready to be back to our work out schedule. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I had an ablation a year and a half ago. Best thing ever. I haven’t had a period since (and they were really, really bad). If you guys decide for sure you are done having kids, I highly recommend an ablation.

  15. Oh, endometrial ablation, how I love you so! We were definitely done with kiddos, and when my period came back with a vengeance after kiddo 2, my doctor recommended ablation. I had it done in November. Now on a monthly basis I get the very lightest spotting, but that’s it. Definitely recommended if you decide you are done with kids.

  16. Do talk to the Dr. about the Uterine ablation. He had briefly mentioned it about 5 years prior to me finally having it done. I should have never waited those 5 years! I had it done on a Friday morning and could have easily gone to work the next day. My life is so much better. A hysterectomy will put you into menopause and uterine ablation won’t until nature intends for you to be there.

  17. I didn’t have an ablation done (nor had I heard about it before reading the comments here) but I was that bleeder for 4 years straight! (Like the living in the bathroom for days bleeding) Not fun. I had a crappy doctor on top of it, so she just shoved pills at me and didn’t explain that I had endo or anything. I did have a good doctor after that who ended up putting me on Aleve (before it was on the market OTC) and that was a miracle! I had OD’d on ibuprofin (by accident) because it was not touching the pain. The aleve is the only thing that helps me anymore. After being on the pill for 10 years the bleeding got better, so if you’re still interested in kids I think (in my non medical opinion) that this might be the best option. If you’re done with kids though, go for the other stuff! Hopefully you get some relief soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I am one of the mostly lucky ones–I had the horrible, barfy, diarrhea-y cramps every month without fail until I had kids. After my first c-section, they went away, for years. Now the endo is coming back, and in weird places–my abdomen, sure, but also around my knees and in my thighs. Bizzarre. But my lady doctor says it’s not that unusual. I just ran across the article from the health concious Shazzie and she says she accidentally found a nutritional therapy that eliminated pain for her. I thought you might like it since you would like to avoid a hysterectomy. Might help someone. I’m going to try it.

  19. Yep. Yep. and Yep. I have had two endometrial ablations in the past 2 years. Helped somewhat but I agree with YOU. A good green diet and running/exercise has helped tremendously!

  20. I am so right there with you on this post. I mean…. not the running part to make it better, but the heavy bleeding and the rmissing work and the needing surgery but not wanting to do it because you want to make a family size decision first. I know the Minerva thing helps endo, and if i have surgery part of me wants to just tell them to put one it. But at the same time, I think “what if surgery makes me able to get pregnant again!” but then… waht if it doesnt (since it most likely wont) and then I have to have ANOTHER surgery because my dumb ass wont just accept what this and TREAT HER FUCKING DISEASE.

    So, yes. I get it. And I am so sorry you have to get it too.

    Maybe one of these days I will try the running thing… maybe ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Hey, I have a question for you….I was recently diagnosed with Endo…and the reason I actually went to the doctor is because I was experiencing extreme pain when I was running. Which was completely odd, since I had been running pretty much daily and several miles a day for a couple years. But then one time, back in September when I was running with my friend….I started feeling really lightheaded and idk, weird. When I got back inside and went to the bathroom, I noticed I had started bleeding. It only lasted for a couple hours and it wasnt a whole lot, but the bleeding along with the weird pain totally freaked me out! and it wasn’t anywhere near my normal menstrual cycle.

    So I stopped running. I’ve only ran 4 times since then…and have had pain and bleeding each time…and each time it got worse. The last time I ran, I only ran probably 500 feet before I felt that weird feeling in my stomach. By the time I walked back to my house the pain was so excruciating I could barely walk…I nearly passed out. I went to the bathroom and pretty much sat on the toilet for the next 5 hours…with bleeding and diarrhea….my head was spinning and my whole body hurt….it brought on my period, like 4 or 5 days early. (which was unusual for me) and I spent the entire time of my period in bed because of the pain. I was accustomed to painful periods before that…but this was extreme.

    When I went to the doctor…the first one had absolutely no advice or solutions. She ran all sorts of tests on me…said I was healthy and she couldnt find a problem and sent me walking…the second one found the endo….

    So My question is: Should I not run? Or should I try to start again? (I loved running, and my husband is a very active person and I feel so bad that I cant join him) One thing I did notice is that all of the aforementioned times that I ran…it was with someone else. I had not ran with someone else up until that time with my friend…and since I’m extremely competitive I did push myself harder than I normally did…such was also the case the next three times I ran…so should I try running again, just not pushing myself at all?

    I would love some input on this! Especially since there’s a 5k race coming up and I REALLY want to run it with my husband…but don’t know if I should.


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