what if they dont find anything

Surgical Intervention- “But what if they don’t find anything?”

One of the things I often gets asked is “If I have surgery, what if they don’t find anything?”
All sorts of things go around in people head, and rightfully so, but may think that if nothing is found that that their symptoms are all in their head. Not so.
Just because there is nothing found via surgical intervention, does not mean that there is nothing there, or there is no disease state. It just means it cannot be visually seen.
Here in this video I explain all this and more.
Menstrual issues traced back to age 13

Many Fertility & Women’s Health Issues Could Be Traced Back To Mismanagement At Around Age 13

Early this week,  I was talking with a colleague about how I would love to be able to see all women before they head into IVF, or see them when they were a teenager to educate them and help the with a better future for their fertility and gynaecological health.

My colleague then said to me “The issue is that most women are mismanaged at around age 13 and this is why they end up having fertility issues and ongoing gynaecological and menstrual related issues later on.”

The truth is, if we really to trace back the cause, or start of a woman’s fertility, gynaecological, or menstrual related issues, it would most likely be due to mismanagement at around age 13 when she first got her period. In this video I bring light to this very introspective, and very interesting topic that many probably have not thought about. It isn’t always mismanaged by the people you think it is either.

Let’s bring better education and awareness to women’s health issues because we know that early intervention and early management if the key to better future outcomes. It all starts with education first. Have a listen to my video on this very important topic (click on the youtube video link to watch

If you, or your daughter needs help with a menstrual issue, or period pain etc, please give my friendly staff a call and ask how I may be able to assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The Endometriosis Experts

-The Experts Program

The link between endometriosis and cancer

The Link Between Endometriosis & Cancer

One of the most common questions that I get asked from women with endometriosis is “Is there a link between endometriosis and cancer?”

There has been many research papers on this and there is some evidence to suggest that women with endometriosis may have a higher risk of certain cancers such as endometrial cancer and also ovarian cancer.

We all know that Endometriosis is a debilitating disease, but many people don’t realise the possible future implications of this disease, mixed with our highly inflammatory diets and lifestyle. Unfortunately it is a recipe for any inflammatory disease, and for expression of cancer cells.

There have been many reputable studies to date showing the link between inflammation and cancer and endometriosis is definitely an inflammatory disease that needs proper management otherwise some studies are now suggesting it could be a precursor to certain cancers.

This isn’t meant to scare anyone either. It is just to help people realise the possible implications of this disease and to be more proactive around getting yourself and your body healthier and also being properly managed by a qualified health professional. When it come to cancerous states, prevention is key and early intervention is also.

Better education is needed

Given that, we need to really take this disease more seriously than many people with the disease and many in the medical community probably realise. Prevention is always the key to any disease and even though endometriosis cannot be prevented, early intervention and ongoing management of the disease is crucial. This is why I think all young girls should be educated about what a proper menstrual cycle should be like and that period pain is not normal. There also needs to be proper education about diet and lifestyle interventions with inflammatory diseases, such as endometriosis, and how it also needs a multimodality approach to be managed properly.

Endometriosis is like cancer in many ways

Endometriosis, like cancer, is characterised by cell invasion and unrestrained growth. Furthermore, endometriosis and cancer are similar in other aspects, such as the development of new blood vessels and a decrease in the number of cells undergoing apoptosis. In spite of these similarities, endometriosis is not considered a malignant disorder.

The possibility that endometriosis could, however, transform and become cancer has been debated in the literature since 1925. Mutations in the certain genes have been implicated in the cause of endometriosis and in the progression to cancer of the ovary (Swiersz 2006). There is also data to support that ovarian endometriosis could have the potential for malignant transformation. Epidemiologic and genetic studies support this notion. It seems that endometriosis is associated with specific types of ovarian cancer (endometrioid and clear cell) (Vlahos et al, 2010). The relationship between endometriosis and ovarian cancer is an intriguing and still poorly investigated issue. Specifically, histological findings indicate a definitive association between endometriosis and endometrioid/clear cell carcinoma of the ovary (Parihar & Mirge 2009).

Women with endometriosis may be more prone to certain cancers

There are recent studies which have shown that mutations in the certain genes found were identified in 20% of endometrial carcinomas and 20.6% of solitary endometrial cysts, played a part in the development of ovarian cancers. In addition to cancerous transformation at the site of endometriosis, there is recent evidence to indicate that having endometriosis itself may increase a woman’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, malignant melanoma, and breast cancer (Swiersz 2014).

Women with endometriosis appear to be more likely to develop certain types of cancer. Brinton, PhD, Chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute has studied the long-term effects of endometriosis, which led her to Sweden about 20 years ago. Using the country’s national inpatient register, she identified more than 20,000 women who had been hospitalised for endometriosis.

After an average follow-up of more than 11 years, the risk for cancer among these women was elevated by 90% for ovarian cancer, 40% for hematopoietic cancer (primarily non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), and 30% for breast cancer. Having a longer history of endometriosis and being diagnosed at a young age were both associated with increased ovarian cancer risk (Brinton et al, 1997).

Farr Nezhat, MD, Chief of Gynecologic Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotics at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University, spoke on the pathogenesis of endometriosis and ovarian cancer. According to a 2000 study of women with ovarian cancer by Hiroyuki Yoshikawa and colleagues, endometriosis was present in 39% of the women with clear cell tumours and 21% of those with endometrial tumours. The studies clearly suggest that Endometriosis may be the precursor of clear cell, or endometrial ovarian cancer (Yoshikawa et al, 2000).

Inflammation and Estrogens are a big factor in many cancers

If you combine inflammation with oestrogen as with both endometriosis and ovarian or uterine cancers, it’s going to be a vicious circle, as the 2 diseases share numerous other characteristics. For example, both are related to early menstrual cycles and late menopause, infertility, and inability to fall pregnant. Any factors that relieve or offer protection against both conditions need to be explored, including dietary and lifestyle changes etc.

Some authors also suggest that there is an also increased risks of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and malignant melanoma in women with endometriosis when compared with the general population (Brinton et al, 2005).

Proper management and early intervention is crucial

If you do have patients with endometriosis you do need to take into consideration the future implications of this disease, not only the pain and turmoil it causes on the way, but also the future possibility that endometriosis could also lead to cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, or many of the other cancers that can be found in the body.

There are certain medications, both natural based and medical that can great assist in the treatments and management of endometriosis and microscopic endometriosis implants. These do need to be explored and we now have the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommending diet and lifestyle changes and to use complementary medicine such and Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture for the the management and treatment of endometriosis. This is recommended alongside medical interventions and it does get back to a multimodality approach is the key factor in proper management of this disease.

Diet and lifestyle changes are crucial in cancer prevention

There have been numerous studies showing the benefits of a low inflammatory based diet and reduction in lifestyle factors such as stress. These things are also crucial in any inflammatory disease and certainly in cancer prevention.

Anyone with endometriosis does need to be following anti-inflammatory diet, with reduced refined foods and increased whole foods. This is something I promote whole-heartedly and see great results with on a daily basis. It is also part of my PACE- Diet and Lifestyle program. PACE meaning (Paleo/Primal Ancestral Clean Eating) .

This style of diet is very much like the mediterranean diet which is now shown to be one of the best diets in the world to help with cancer prevention and reduction of cardiovascular disease. It is something that has been shown to assist with inflammatory diseases such as endometriosis. This can be done alongside supplements such as omega 3 oils and antioxidants that also offer protection and prevention against inflammatory diseases too. You should also talk to a qualified healthcare professional about diet and lifestyle interventions and supplementation.

See an Endometriosis Expert

Hope that helps everyone to understand why it is so important to really make some proactive changes if you do have endometriosis. You really need to explore as many options as you can when trying to manage this disease and halt its progression. It is also important to see an endometriosis expert and not try and manage this disease yourself. You just should not be doing this and it is not effective management. Always see an appropriately trained healthcare professional who is trained in endometriosis and other disease states in women. We don’t want to see it end up as cancer later on and this is why it is so important to make sure you are being appropriately managed now.

Final Word

If you do need help with endometriosis, and the associated symptoms of endometriosis, give my friendly staff a call and find out how I can help you. Always remember that early intervention is the key and being managed properly is also crucial.

Take care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Endometriosis Experts

EndometriosisAwarenessMonth 2020 1

Endometriosis Awareness Month – March 2020

This month is Endometriosis Awareness Month and it is so important to bring awareness to this disease that affects millions of women world wide.

1 in 10 women have endometriosis and those are the ones diagnosed. A significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic and many women do not realise they have it, or have been missed and dismissed along the way. This means the 1 in 10 women with endometriosis is grossly understated.

There is often up to 10 years or more to diagnosis, which means that many women are missed and dismissed before they are finally diagnosed. The only way to definitively diagnosed endometriosis is via surgical intervention (laparoscopy with histology). Scans and blood tests cannot definitely diagnose endometriosis.

The one message that all of us involved in the education and awareness of endometriosis want everyone to know is that “Period Pain” is not normal. While slight discomfort with a period may be normal, pain (especially bad period pain) is not normal. Period pain can be a sign of endometriosis.

While period pain is often the most talked about point of endometriosis, we also need to educate all that endometriosis just isn’t about period pain. There are so many other associated symptoms that we need to bring awareness to as well.

The common signs of endometriosis are:
Period Pain
Pain with intercourse
Ovulation pain
IBS like symptoms
Pain on bowel movement
Bleeding from the bowel
UTI like symptoms (without infection present)
Fatigue
Anxiety and mood disorders
Bloating (can be severe)- also known as endo belly
Musculosketal pain
Pelvic and rectal pressure feeling
Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB)
Others

Endometriosis has hereditary links and it now thought to be genetic. Endometriosis is driven by estrogen, so even small amounts of exogenous estrogens will drive the disease. It is not from estrogen dominance and it is not autoimmune.

Endometriosis is basically normal tissue growing in abnormal areas. It behaves very much like cancer, but it is not cancerous. Endometriosis has been found in every part of the body and it can cause damage to multiple organs if it is not managed properly.

Many women with endometriosis are poorly managed, or are not being managed at all. This is why there needs to be more awareness about the serious complications of unmanaged endometriosis.

This month I will be focussing on the facts about Endometriosis and am also very excited be launching the first network of practitioners who are experts in Endometriosis called “The Endometriosis Experts”. There will also be a launch of other experts programs called “The PCOS Experts”, “The Women’s Health Experts” and “The International Fertility Experts”. Stay tuned for more exciting news to follow.

This month please also support Endometriosis Australia and the “Endo March” High Teas. I will be posting more information about these as well.

Lastly, if you have unmanaged endometriosis, or have bad period pain etc, please make sure you seek help for this. If you do need help, you can call my friendly staff and find out how I can assist you and more about my online, or in person consultations.

Please do not put up with period pain, or other menstrual related symptoms, or unmanaged endometriosis. Nobody can manage these symptoms themselves and why it is so important to see an Endometriosis expert.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Endometriosis Experts

Endometriosis complications

The Complications That Can Result From Unmanaged Endometriosis

A lot of the information about endometriosis, is more about it’s symptoms, time to diagnosis and future fertility outcomes. While it is necessary to educate people about these things, nobody is really talking about the serious complications of unmanaged endometriosis. This is not to scare people, or create fear, but at the same time it does need to be talked about and for all concerned to know how serious this disease state can be at its worst.

We know that many women are missed and dismissed when it comes to endometriosis. It often takes up to 10 years, or even more for some women, before they are definitively diagnosed. Some women are never diagnosed and end up suffering a terrible life because of it. Some women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms) and often only get diagnosed as part of fertility evaluation, when they may be having trouble conceiving.

The symptoms of endometriosis are easy to see

The symptoms of endometriosis are very easy to see, if someone knows what they are looking for and knows the right questions to ask. Sure, a definite diagnosis via laparoscopy is still needed, but there are some very clear-cut pointers that a woman may have the disease. But due to lack of education and lack of true experts in this area means that lots of women are missed and dismissed, and that is a fact.

The vicious cycle of mismanagement

But while there are inadequacies in the healthcare profession when it comes to endometriosis, not all mismanagement can be blamed on healthcare professionals. There are people who are not seeking proper help soon enough, and some not at all, and this can lead to long-term complications too. We also have women trying to manage their own disease through advice of friends, social media groups and Dr Google as well. This then creates one hell of a mismanaged cycle that does not help anyone.

I can see the issues from all points of view, especially those who suffer the disease. But as a healthcare professional with a special interest in Endometriosis, I have had my fair share of non-compliant patients too.

While many have been let down through mismanagement, lack of funding and education, being missed and dismissed etc, there are many women who are self sabotaging as well. I have seen many not take on advice, recommendations and proper management of their disease, that could help them, then these same people scream high and low that the system has let them down. There are some who are just happy to live with the disease, as it is their only way of seeking attention. This is a fact also and we need to talk about it.

This is what has prompted me to do this post so that all concerned get to know what the serious side of mismanaged endometriosis is. Sometimes it is only via the serious harsh side of reality, that all concerned may actually get some help and some serious attention be bought to this disease state.

The common symptoms of endometriosis

We know that many women suffer greatly at the hands of this disease. Women with endometriosis can get the follow common symptoms:

  • Period pain
  • Pain with intercourse
  • IBS like symptoms
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Pain on bowel movement
  • Bleeding from the bowel
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Severe bloating (endo belly)
  • Chronic bloating
  • Aversion to foods (even if they are not the trigger)
  • Ovulation Pain
  • Ovary pain
  • UTI like symptoms (with no infection present)
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Pelvic and rectal pressure feeling
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Chronic nerve pain
  • Fluid retention
  • Iron deficiency
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Infertility
  • Other symptoms

Early intervention and management is crucial

Women’s lives are greatly impacted by this disease and it is important that not only healthcare professionals understand this but also sufferers of the disease. Early intervention and proper ongoing management is the key to helping this disease and everyone needs to be aware of this. Being missed and dismissed, or waiting too long to help, can really have some serious consequences if this disease is left to grow and spread and cause serious damage in the body

The serious consequences of mismanaged/unmanaged endometriosis

While we have talked about the common daily symptoms that many can put up with, we also need to bring attention to just how serious this disease can get. Let’s face it, it can and does spread like cancer and it can spread to every organ in the body. It has been found in the joints of bones, fingers, in the liver, around the lungs, around the diaphragm, around the heart, on the bowels, on the bladder, on the ovaries, on the pelvic, in the fallopian tubes, one the retina in the eyes and it has even found in the brain.

There is no doubt that this disease can be very devastating for anyone who has it, but what happens in the worst cause scenario, if it is left unmanaged.

The following can be serious complications of unmanaged endometriosis:

  • Haemorrhage from the ovaries
  • Ruptured ovaries
  • Ovarian torsion
  • Obliterated fallopian tubes
  • Ruptured endometrioma
  • Endometrioma infection
  • Pelvic infection
  • Obliteration of the pelvic cavity
  • Peritonitis
  • Sepsis
  • Compacted bowel
  • Obstructed bowel
  • Perforated bowel
  • Bowel haemorrhage
  • Torsion of the bowel and intestines.
  • Ureteral Obstruction (Blocked ureters)
  • Renal infection
  • Bladder obstruction
  • Painful bladder syndrome
  • Severe adhesions
  • Significant scar tissue build up
  • Significant fluid build up in the pelvic cavity.
  • Multiple organs adhered together
  • Diaphragmic adhesions
  • Liver damage
  • Perihepatic adhesions
  • Pericardial endometriosis
  • Cardiovascular events
  • Stroke
  • Chronic nerve pain
  • Pudendal nerve neuralgia.
  • Chronic musculosketal, or spinal pain
  • Arthritic like pain and associated symptoms
  • Chronic Migraine and neurological events.
  • Malignancies and cancers (rare but more research being done)
  • Hysterectomy
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Absolute infertility
  • Opioid dependency and addiction
  • Death from opioids medications
  • Complications from medications and hormonal treatments
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Mania
  • Incapacitation
  • Suicidal tendencies and thoughts
  • Suicide
  • Death (rare from endometriosis directly, but can be from associated factors related to endometriosis and also taking ones own life)
  • Other

Women with endometriosis need to see an “Endometriosis Expert”

This is why endometriosis needs to be managed properly and managed by a healthcare professional that specialises in the management of endometriosis and associated symptoms. You need to see and Endometriosis Expert.

People cannot treat, or manage the symptoms of endometriosis on their own. This is why it is so important to have the right care and also have a multimodality/team approach to endometriosis. No amount of google searching is going to help people treat endometriosis on their own. You need to find an endometriosis expert.

At the same time more education needs to be given to GP’s and other healthcare professionals about endometriosis. Too many women are being missed and dismissed because of lack of practitioner understanding and education at the front line. Women need to see healthcare professionals that specialise in endometriosis and endometriosis experts for this disease, not just a GP. Women also need access to advanced trained laparoscopic surgeons who specialise in excision surgery, not just a regular gynaecologist who is not advanced trained. I have talked about this often.

Endometriosis is not just about period pain

Lastly, we need to educate ‘all’ that endometriosis is not just about period pain. Endometriosis can present with many different signs and symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms, extreme bloating, bladder issues, bowel issues, IBS symptoms, migraines, fluid retentions, pain with intercourse, pain on bowel movement and so many other symptoms mentioned before. There is also the long-term impact on fertility for up to 50% of women too.

This is why early intervention and management of teenagers presenting with the disease symptoms is crucial. The longer the disease is left, the more damage it can do and all women deserve to be mothers (if they chose) and deserve a normal happy life. We also need to recognise the psychological impact of the disease and how this can present in someone with the disease as well.

Women are dying because of being mismanaged/unmanaged

Let’s face it, there are women dying because of this disease. Maybe not as direct result, but definitely indirectly. No woman should ever be pushed to the point where she cannot handle her pain and symptoms any longer and be only left with the choice of taking ones own life. This is exactly we need to bring more education to all about this disease. This means both healthcare practitioners and people with the disease itself too.

People need to be managed properly and by professionals. We need to start bring education and attention to this, so that people do not try to manage this disease on their own, and practitioners are held more accountable for dismissing women as well. Because if we don’t the complications of this can be very severe and sometime they can be fatal also.

Endometriosis awareness month is next month and I want to see all women with endometriosis being managed properly and seeking the right help. There are endometriosis experts out there who can help you if you have the disease and the associated symptoms. No woman should be doing this on their own.

Let me help you

If you so need help with managing endometriosis and the associated symptoms of endometriosis, please give my staff a call and find out how I can assist you. I have options for in-person consultations and online consultations. I use a multimodality/team approach and I also work in with some of the best medical healthcare professionals and surgeons in the country. I will always make sure you get the best care, best support and best management possible. I will also hold your hand every step of the way and make sure your every concern is listened to as well.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Endometriosis Experts

 

 

 

 

 

When a Hysterectomy Should Be Considered

When A Hysterectomy Should Be Considered

Many times I have talked about “Why a hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis” and so I have decided to talk about “When a hysterectomy should be considered”

Now, before you go any further, I need people to sit back, listen objectively and also take the personal out of this. This is a very personal topic and yes, I am a man and a male healthcare practitioner all in one, with over 20 years experience in helping women with women’s health conditions and being a voice for them also. But regardless, this topic does need to be talked about. Any negative comments, or rudeness will get the delete button immediately. Constructive discussion is always welcome.

The long and short of it is this. There are times when a hysterectomy should be considered (lack of quality of life, cancers etc) and we need to be able to give women the facts so that they can make informed choices, and also not be judged for those choices either. The fact is that for some conditions, women actually get their life back after having a hysterectomy and I talk about all of this and more in this video blog.

 

Kath Mazzella interview

Gynaecological Cancers & Gynaecological Awareness with Kath Mazzella

I’m sharing a video link up with Kath Mazzella (OAM) about her journey with being a gynaecological cancer survivor and her passion for now helping women with better understanding of gynaecological, sexual and mental health conditions.
 
Kath Mazzella OAM is a Gynaecological cancer survivor. Kath is now so passionate about creating change in relation to the level of awareness of Gynaecological, Sexual and related Mental Health challenges and to break down the barriers and stigmas associated.
After her gynaecological cancer surgery Kath discovered how little women knew and talked about conditions “down there”, and how many women were suffering in silence. This empowered Kath to go on a journey … a journey that her partner Tony had no choice initially but to go on with her. Now he has stepped up to stand beside her and promote this very worthwhile and necessary message, extending it beyond just the women, but also to the men that surround their worlds. After all, when one woman suffers, all those in her world suffer with her.
Kath and Tony together are powerful advocates for women challenged by gynaecological, sexual and related mental health conditions, personally inspiring women (and a few men also), arguing for institutional and social change that delivers better awareness, prevention, treatment and support.
Kath and Tony are inspirational public speakers and Kath is the founder of the International Gynaecological Awareness Day.
Most recently, Kath was awarded the Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Gynaecological Cancers Award, which she handed to Tony upon acceptance, stating that he deserved the award for his patience in supporting her through all the years of her campaigning.
 
In 2012, Kath received the prestigious WA Senior of the Year Award and the Beyond Blue category award, finally having the link between Mental Health and Gynaecological and Sexual health recognised.
 
In 2009 Kath was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her service of the community through raising the profile of Gynaecological health; was inducted into the 100 Women WA Hall of Fame and also was an inductee to the Hall of Fame – Our Bodies Ourselves Women’s Health Heroes, Boston, US. Kath was shortlisted for the Centre for Women in Leadership Award; and Most Inspiring Woman of the Year – Momentum Women’s Forum. Kath was also presented with the Zonta International “Woman of Achievement Award” for Western Australia and received an Executive Women’s Forum Woman of the Year award, both in 2005.
 
Have a listen to our video link up and don’t forget to get behind the gynaecological awareness day on September 10.
The No Uterus No Comment speech needs to stop 1

Why the “No Uterus – No Comment” speech on forums needs to stop!

In this latest video post I talk about why the “No Uterus-No Comment” speech on forums needs to stop.

As someone who is a Master of Women’s Health Medicine, a Women’s Health Expert, and work tirelessly to be a voice for women’s health issues (And a Male), I have a very frank and blunt discussion about some of the male bashing hate speech comments that get thrown around various forums.

Have a listen to the latest video blog on this very important topic.

mother and daughter 1

Parents, Don’t Let Your Daughters Suffer With The Wait & See Approach For Period Pain

One of the things I find myself saying to parents often is “Please don’t let your daughter suffer with the wait and see approach for period pain.”

The reason I often say this is because daily I get messages from parents, mainly mothers, asking if they should wait and see if their daughters pain (and other symptoms) is miraculously going to go away. Many of these young girls have been putting up with pain for months, or longer, and still many parents are using the “wait and see” approach.

Many of these messages often start with the story that their daughter is laying on the bathroom floor in excruciating pain. The stories usually add in that their daughters may also have symptoms of nausea, headaches, vomiting and even stories of these poor young girls passing out with pain.

Then there is the usual response of “I used to get period pain and associated symptoms like this and I just had to learn to live with it”

Then comes the question I always hear so often- “Do you think I should wait and see if this just goes away, or do you think I should take her to someone to have her checked out?”

I often have to bite my tongue when responding to questions and stories such as this. If my daughter was laying on a bathroom floor each month, and in excruciating pain, there is no way I would be waiting and seeing if her pain is going to miraculously disappear. The first time she had pain, I would be off doing something about it, and I would not be taking no for an answer.

Many parents suffered period pain themselves

There is always several ways to look at this and why I always offer an empathic response. Many parents were in pain themselves and went through similar experiences. Many of these same parents were told to suck it up and that this is what a woman has to put up with each month. So to them, this is reality. This is their norm. They suffered, so it is natural for them to believe that their daughter just has to wait and see and suffer it out too.

But, as I say to these parents, these symptoms that your daughter is experiencing are not normal. Period pain and all the other terrible associated symptoms are not normal. No woman, young or older, should have to put up with excruciating pains related to her cycle, or an undiagnosed gynaecological condition.

I then go on to explain that I have daughters and that there is no way I would wait and see, before getting help. I also explain that on a health perspective, there are many dangers in letting a young woman suffer such a horrible experience.

The cause of period pain could affect future fertility

I often have to explain the implications of leaving a disease and not intervening early enough. The explanation of by not getting early intervention could mean that they may not ever have grand children, is usually enough to spur many a mother into prompt action. But, it should not have to take these words to prompt someone into action.

Gynaecological conditions cause period pain

The facts are clear now. There is enough education out there. The simple fact is that period pain (and associated symptoms) is not normal and this usually means that there is an undiagnosed gynaecological condition causing the issue. One of the most common causes being endometriosis, or adenomyosis, or both combined. There could be other facts such as pelvic congestion syndrome, or worst still, though rare, there could be something more sinister such as cancer.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

The other thing that parents may not like to admit is that their daughter may actually be having sex and has a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). I often have parents interject when asking if a teenager is sexually active. Many a parent answer “No” on the teenagers behalf, only to then learn that their little girl is having sex.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s) can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and future fertility if not treated early enough. The reality is that many young girls, and boys, are having sex at a very young age, regardless of what parents may believe. Parents do need to open to the possibility that their child’s pain could in fact be related to being sexually active.

The things parents need to know

The things I am trying to educate all parents on are the following:

  1. No matter what anyone tell you, health professional included, ‘period pain is not normal’
  2. Please do not use the wait and see approach when your daughter is in pain, and has been for months.
  3. Women do not needlessly need to put up with pain each month.
  4. Early intervention is the key to treating and managing any disease or health issue
  5. Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis, or other gynaecological issues.
  6. Many gynaecological issues are hereditary, so if a parent had period pain, or a diagnosed gynaecological issue, then there is a good chance their daughter will have the same.
  7. Parents should not feel guilty, or blame themselves for passing on hereditary issues. All of us have faulty genes.
  8. Regardless of upbringing, or moral stances, teenagers are having sex earlier these days
  9. Teenagers can have sexually transmitted diseases
  10. The earlier intervention is enacted and proper treatment and health management administered, the better the future fertility and health outcomes are for young woman.
  11. Without early intervention, some parents may never become grandparents.
  12. General practitioners are no gynaecologists, so please make sure you get referred onto a proper specialist. If not, find another GP.
  13. If you don’t get help with the first healthcare practitioner you see, please remember the value or a second, or tenth opinion.

I do get that many parent’s have been led to believe that period pain, and other associated symptoms are just part of live and something that I woman just has to put up with. I am sorry for those that were told this and then have put up with this when they didn’t have to.

Period pain is not normal

Please know that you daughter does not need to put up with these symptoms. Period pain is not normal and early intervention is the key to help your daughter live a happy and pain free life. It could really also help save her from the heartache many women have to live with daily. It could also help with her being able to have children of her own.

Do not use the wait and see approach for period pain

Never use the wait and see approach when it comes to period pain and the other associated menstrual symptoms. You daughter will thank you one day and I am sure her children will thank you too. Lead by example so that your daughter can lead by example to daughter, or daughters too.

Final word

If you do need help with your daughters period pain, and other associated symptoms, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to help. There are in person and online consultation available. Conditions may apply with online consultations. My staff will explain all this to you when you make your enquiry, or book a consultation.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Women’s Health Experts

 

 

 

 

Adenomyosis 2

Let’s Talk About Adenomyosis

As a healthcare practitioner with a special interest in women’s health, more and more I am seeing women presenting with all the symptoms of Adenomyosis. This is why this post is called “Let’s Talk About Adenomyosis”.

Just like endometriosis, many women have had this condition missed and dismissed and then have to suffer the consequences and think that they just have to put up with it month after month.

Some women are completely unaware that they have adenomyosis. Those that have already been diagnosed with endometriosis often believe that all their symptoms are just related to this disease only, when it fact, they could have two diseases creating all their issues.

Many of the symptoms are the same as endometriosis, except that women will usually have heavier menstrual bleeding, or irregular bleeding issues.

Women can have both endometriosis and adenomyosis at the same time and now research is showing that they are basically one in the same disease, but just in different locations.

What is Adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis is defined as the presence of endometrial glandular tissue occurring deep in the endometrial lining (myometrium). The exact cause of adenomyosis is unknown, but current research is showing that it is a similar process to how endometriosis is caused.

Histologically both endometriosis and adenomyosis are one in the same disease state, but just occurring in different locations. We know that both diseases are driven by estrogen and that they have all the same signs and symptoms. Adenomyosis and endometriosis are not caused by estrogen dominance either. Even small amounts of estrogen will drive both diseases.

The only difference between the two disease states is that adenomyosis typically causes more heavy bleeding symptoms. The abnormal bleeding occurs when the ectopic endometrial tissue induces hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the surrounding myometrium. This causes uterine enlargement and subsequent changes in vascularisation (the new vessels may also be more fragile than usual) in addition to an increase in the surface area of the endometrium.

One of the key diagnostics for adenomyosis is the presence of an enlarged uterus on ultrasound, or via MRI. The enlarged uterus can also impact the surrounding structures and often impacts the bladder, leading to urinary frequency and other bladder issues.

Adenomyosis can also have the same bleeding symptoms as fibroids but correct diagnosis and investigations, will differentiate the two and ensure correct management moving forward.

What Are the Symptoms of Adenomyosis?

As mentioned previously, adenomyosis has all the same symptoms as endometriosis. Just like endometriosis, some women often have no symptoms (are asymptomatic), and are only diagnosed when they are having issues trying to conceive.

The main symptoms of Adenomyosis are:

  • Heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Severe pain and menstrual cramps
  • Abdominal pressure and bloating
  • Bladder issues (frequency, urge frequency, incontinence)
  • Anaemia

Other associated symptoms such are:

  • Irregular bleeding
  • Pain with bowel movement
  • Irritable Bowel like symptoms
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) like symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Mental and emotional disturbances (depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder)
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Infertility
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Lack of quality of life

Diagnosis of Adenomyosis.

Ultrasound is the most common (and indeed most useful) first-line imaging tool used to diagnose adenomyosis in a women presenting with any abnormal uterine bleeding. While ultrasound cannot definitively diagnose adenomyosis, it can help to differentiate and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

Sometimes saline solution is injected in the uterus at the same time as ultrasound is performed to give better imaging and to help evaluate the symptoms associated with adenomyosis. This is called sono-hysterography.

While trans-vaginal ultrasound (TVU) can be used, it can also miss the disease, especially if the user doesn’t have an expert eye, or extra training, or specialises in the diagnosis of adenomyosis.

MRI is considered a much better tool for the finding of adenomyosis, but it is a more expensive option. Even though ultrasound is a cheaper option, it can be inaccurate.

Blood tests cannot diagnose adenomyosis, or endometriosis.

The only proper way to definitely diagnose adenomyosis is via surgical intervention and a biopsy, but this is rarely done prior to a hysterectomy due to risk factors of damage to the uterine lining. Unlike endometriosis, the disease cannot be excised and the only cure for adenomyosis is hysterectomy.

Treatment and Management Options For Adenomyosis

The treatment and management of adenomyosis will depend in part on your presenting symptoms, their severity, and whether you have completed childbearing.

The medical management options for adenomyosis are usually in the form of hormonal therapy (the Oral Contraceptive Pill, Mirena IUS or other types of progestogen therapy) or surgical.

The surgical options are endometrial ablation, uterine artery embolism and hysterectomy. When considering surgical therapy it must be acknowledged that endometrial ablation and uterine artery embolism is less effective compared with the more definitive but more invasive option of hysterectomy.

Research does show that a significant portion of women, who choose to do endometrial ablation, or uterine artery embolism, will end up needing a hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is not the major procedure it was years ago and many are done laparoscopically and done intravaginally. This also helps with the recovery time. It all gets back to quality of life for many women with endometriosis. This is why hysterectomy is now a better option than other surgical interventions.

While hysterectomy is not something to be taken lightly, we do need to be real about quality of life and the ongoing pain, other associated symptoms, long term bleeding and the dangers of long term anaemia that adenomyosis can cause to a woman. Many women often quote getting their life back and wished that they had the hysterectomy sooner, rather than putting up with the lack of quality of life. Hysterectomy is a cure for adenomyosis, but it is not a cure for endometriosis.

Other Management Options For Women With Adenomyosis

  • Medical treatments(pain medications, iron infusions)
  • Complementary medicines (Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, vitamins and nutrient support),
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Counselling & Psychology
  • Meditation and Mindfulness
  • Pain management clinics
  • Physiotherapy
  • Exercise therapy(weight baring exercise, resistance training)
  • Core strengthening(pilates, yoga)
  • Pelvic floor management(Pilates, Kegels Exercises/Kegels balls, Vaginal stone eggs),
  • Urodynamics

For women who do not want to consider surgical options, adenomyosis requires a multimodality/team approach for ongoing management, treatment and support. In most cases it will need a combination of the therapies above, or all of them, in conjunction with medical interventions and medicines.

In nearly all cases, treatment and management is the same as endometriosis, except there needs to be more focus on the heavy bleeding symptoms. I always apply a multi-modality approach to assist all my patients who have adenomyosis, or endometriosis, or both combined.

Mild symptoms may be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, complementary medicines and supplements and the use of heating pads to ease pain and cramps. It is important to talk to your healthcare practitioner about treatment options to suit your individual needs and individual symptoms.

Outlook For Women With Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is not a life-threatening condition, although if some symptoms, such as anaemia and emotional disturbances, aren’t managed properly, or early on, it could potential be life threatening. Many of the symptoms such as heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, anaemia and bladder and bowel issues can, and do negatively impact a woman’s life.

Women with adenomyosis are often anaemic and long-term anaemia can have serious health consequences. See my post of serious consequences of iron deficiency. Click here

Many women with adenomyosis, if not all, will need an iron infusion if their iron levels are low. See my post “Could you need an Iron Infusion?”

While surgical options such as hysterectomy can cure adenomyosis, there are both medical and complementary medicines available that may help alleviate the symptoms of adenomyosis.

Adenomyosis and associated symptoms can resolve on their own after menopause. If women have endometriosis as well, they will often require ongoing treatment and management after hysterectomy, as hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis. As mentioned previously, hysterectomy will cure adenomyosis.

Anyone with symptoms of adenomyosis should consult a medical specialist, a healthcare practitioner that specialises in adenomyosis and endometriosis.

Final Word

If you do need help and assistance with the management of adenomyosis, the please call my friendly staff to find out how I may be able to assist you. My motto is ‘no stone left unturned’ and I apply this to every person I see and help. I also have a network of other healthcare professionals I work with as well.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine and Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The Endometriosis Experts (incorporating adenomyosis as well)