Health & Fitness., My Reproductive Nightmare

Endometriosis and Exercise

Warning! This is a girly business entry. If you are squeamish about girly business, come back tomorrow!

I’m in the middle of the 48-72 hours every month where I hate my life. Endometriosis causes a lot of problems in a lot of different ways for a lot of women. However, almost all of us have that same 48-72 hours of Hell. We may have other bad points at other times in the month (I am in a lot of pain when I ovulate) and most of us have just crappy days randomly throughout the month (Random bleeding! So fun and unexpected!) – but we ALL have that 48-72 hours where we want nothing more than a full hysterectomy. And possibly gender reassignment. Just to cover our bases.

(Whenever I talk about my endometriosis I always have to add: I also get ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids which can exhibit similar symptoms so in any given moment what I could be blaming on my endometriosis could also be caused by something else. In the big/general picture and for the purpose of this blog entry? It doesn’t matter. But I always feel like I should remind people of that.)

Basically…I’m in a lot of pain. I can keep in mildly at bay with steady doses of ibuprofen (I’ve tried stronger things like Loratabs but I have negative side effects with those) but I’m by no means happy. I can’t sleep well because after 3 hours the ibuprofen stops numbing the pain enough to sleep so I take Ibuprofen PM which lasts longer because it knocks me out. But I wake up groggy.

But – here’s the fun part! So…the ibuprofen helps me sleep for longer chunks of time, which means I have…um…accidents. Essentially I have to choose: More sleep because of less pain which means: hemorrhaging on my sheets OR Less sleep and more pain but no extra laundry the next day.

That’s a fun decision to make every month.

During the day I can’t be away from a bathroom for more than an hour and I always keep a change of clothes in my car just in case I’m not fast enough. And let me tell you – I can’t remember the last month where I didn’t have to change my clothes at least once. THIS IS A FUN WAY TO LIVE!

So…how does all of this relate to exercise? It basically means for 48-72 hours I’m useless. I can sometimes handle boot camp, although I didn’t go this morning. I can sometimes do a short run, although I didn’t go last night. Most of the time? I sit home or in my office whining and wallowing for the 2-3 days of hell because at least at home I have drugs, tampons, and plenty of clothes. Also? Fewer chance of embarrassing moments. You know, I went through all of my teen years without one “OOPS!” moment relating to my period (something you have nightmares about as a newly menstruating teenager) and they’ve happened so often as an adult that I’ve perfect the art of carrying my cross-body purse so that covers the right areas below my waist. JUST IN CASE.

Yeah. So I don’t exercise during that period. (GET IT? PERIOD? HA!) I usually don’t go more than 48 hours without doing something, but I cut back drastically and I hate every minute of it.

And this makes me MORE miserable because running is my therapy. Boot camp is my counseling. Going 48 hyper-emotional/hormonal hours without those two things? Makes Happy-Go-Cheerful-And-Optimistic Kim a total bitch.

Not to mention my entire family suffers. Donnie knows my look, the one that accompanies a phrase like, “Honey, we need to head home okay?” The look I give indicates the flood gates have been compromised, I need a rescue mission…STAT. This totally irritates him because – why should he have to leave his good time for my reproductive issues? But he accommodates too because…well…ew.

I know a lot of you first stumbled on this blog because I used to talk about my struggle to stay pregnant when trying to have kids. A lot of you have the same reproductive issues. So, I guess I wanted you to know, they never stop making your life hell even when you’re not actively trying to have kids! YAY FOR US! I will have an ablation down the road, when we’re ready to completely sign off on kids, but for right now? I just have to suck it up. And just pray that no big races ever fall during those 48 hours.

9 thoughts on “Endometriosis and Exercise”

  1. I don’t have Endometriosis , but I do have PCOS (enter, ovulation pain! Fun! So TWICE a month, I get to keel over in pain. Yeah!)

    Also, I have really heavy bleeding — not to the level of yours, but enough that I have to carefully think of my protection strategy each night. And each morning it looks like a crime scene in the bathroom. In fact, just Monday morning, in the bleary-eyed wake of yet another mess, I had this weird flash of paranoia that if I died, Manoj would be charged with something because surely, something HORRIFIC must have happened for all of that blood.

    This past weekend, I was supposed to have gone on a float trip, but it got canceled. Thank goodness, because how would I have navigated an effing RIVER in conjunction with all the needed menstrual accouterments. Seriously, how would that work??

    Anyway — I am so sorry you have to go through, Kim. I know my situation is nothing near to yours and I can’t imagine how limited you must feel each and every month. Sadly, I actually feel better when I exercise and probably, that would help you too. 🙁

    Hang tough, Kim!!

  2. Have you tried a diva cup for the bleeding? I bleed a lot and the diva cup has saved me. And my pants! Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Ok, so I do not have endometriosis but I often find myself with cramps so bad that I can’t do much more than shuffle around the house with a heating pad. When I was younger teachers, female relatives & medical folks all told me that ‘exercise will lessen the pain you have from menstrual cramps’. Every month I want to punch these people in the face b/c I am a dedicated bicycle commuter & despite putting in anywhere from 30 – 100 miles a week as well as any swimming or other exercise they often seem worse instead. Thanks for allowing my rant & I hope your 48-72 hours go by as quickly as possible.

  4. I’m on the depo Lupron shots on a long term basis due to my stage 4 endo/PCOS. I just can’t have my period, when I do, I want to die. I tell everyone it is the 2nd worst pain of my life, childbirth being the first. But basically for a week out of the month I’m in dire pain and I want to shove my face full of food, only to turn around and have diarhea and upset stomach for the next 3 days… it’s a nightmare, I know. And there isn’t an easy answer or cure. I went on the Depo Provera shot about 4 years ago and that helped because it stopped me from having periods. But like all things involving endo, my body of course couldn’t cooperate and eventually I started bleeding through. So next step, the Depo Lupron. Usually, they only recommend Depo Lupron for 6 months at the most. But for me and my situation, they are allowing me to be on it long term as long as I do an estrogen add back. And that has kept all of my symptoms at bay for a couple of years now. The downside is that the Depo Lupron basically puts you into menopause for the period of time you take it. So you get to deal with all fun things menopause brings! Hello hot flashes! But the estrogen add back helps with that. The biggest drawback is the expense. The shot itself is $900/month, with insurance I pay about $100/month for it. My doctor is hesitant to a hysteroctomy or an ablasion because he says that doesn’t necessarily stop the endo growth, especially if you keep your ovaries. So this is my two cents about what’s helped me. I know the hell you are going through and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Hope you feel better soon and I hope I’ve helped. Or you could do what my sister does, she has endo too and she swears that eating brownies laced with marijuana is the miracle drug. 🙂

  5. So sorry that you’re hurting! I can’t imagine trying to exercise during that pain. I had endometreosis, fibroids, and ovarian cysts too (pretty much since my 1st period at age 13) and it was misery. I finally decided to have a partial hysterectomy in 2010 because it was apparent that we’d never be able to have kids and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Literally, within a couple of days after surgery, I felt better than I ever had before. I’ve heard that ablation really helps too, but it wasn’t an option for me because of prior surgeries.

  6. I have it also…am so sorry for anyone else who has to go through it. have you considered ablation? hysterectomy? my mom had it done at 38 and she was so much happier after. i can’t commit to having no more kiddos, so i am not ready yet, but after we decide that? i am having that sucker yanked clean out! good luck kim!

  7. Hope you get to feeling better friend! So sorry you have to go through this. Thinking about you!!!

  8. I have the exact same issue – although it lasts more like 5 days. I’m actually kind of looking forward to menopause…I am tired of living in fear of embarrassment 1 week a month. And the pain sucks too.

  9. This might sound odd, and maybe it’s not an option with your various issues, but I’m on hormones without a break. I use a Nuvaring, so that means I just replace that sucker every three weeks. Before I had kids I was on the pill every day (with no week off at any point) for several years.

    It. Is. AWESOME!

    I know it’s not for everyone, but it has changed my life. No period EVER!!!!
    No migraines (except for the odd weather-related one), no breaking out in zits, no bloating, no delicately-balanced emotions, no dashing to the bathroom at awkward moments. I LOVE IT, and cannot recommend it enough for those whose doctors are on board with the concept.

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