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The Birthplace Blog

Filtering by Tag: Fibroids

When Menstruation can truly feel like a curse!

The Birthplace

12 lakh women will undergo a hysterectomy this year.

Long ago the Menstrual period was routinely referred to as the curse, giving the unique physiological function of a woman’s body an unwanted and negative connotation. We as a community are slowly but surely breaking the taboo around this “bloody” issue in most situations but for those amongst us who suffer from pain during periods, it may still feel like a curse.

Do you suffer from pain during one or more days of your period?

Have you ever made or altered plans because of approaching periods?

Have you ever taken a day off from school or work due to periods?

Have you had anxiety about your upcoming period?

Have you ever taken pain killers for period cramps?

If the answers to any of the above questions is yes, then this might help you. Read on.

I thought period cramps are pretty normal. Doesn’t everyone have them?

Nearly 25 percent of all women and 70-90 percent of adolescent girls suffer from period cramps. Mild to moderate cramps in the lower abdomen lasting for few hours in some and maybe up to 3 days in others which are easily relieved by home remedies or mild pain killers are usually seen in young girls. The pain may begin only after a year of the beginning of menses. This is called Primary dysmenorrhea and is not generally associated with any underlying disease process.

Although this type of painful periods can be quite common, they do cause some distress in young girls. Pain during periods that starts later in life and due to underlying conditions like Adenomyosis, Fibroid uterus or Endometriosis etc is called Secondary Dysmenorrhea. Secondary dysmenorrhea can last even after the period bleeding is over.

Dr. Jyotsna is an MD (Ob Gyn) from one of the top medical institutions in the country (JIPMER). In addition to her passion for obstetrics and preventive women's health, she is also an expert in gynecological endoscopy, with a special interest in the management of uterine fibroids and endometriosis.  To know more or to consult Dr. Jyotsna, please call 040-45208108. You can also write in to her at  contactus@thebirthplace.com  or visit www.thebirthplace.com

Dr. Jyotsna is an MD (Ob Gyn) from one of the top medical institutions in the country (JIPMER). In addition to her passion for obstetrics and preventive women's health, she is also an expert in gynecological endoscopy, with a special interest in the management of uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

To know more or to consult Dr. Jyotsna, please call 040-45208108. You can also write in to her at contactus@thebirthplace.com or visit www.thebirthplace.com

I was told my painful periods will sort themselves out and I don’t need to seek a doctor.

In most cases of primary dysmenorrhea, that’s true. Pain during periods can reduce over a period of time and usually after childbirth. But if pain persists or increases with age it’s a reason to consult a doctor.  In any case, no woman should ever need to suffer through pain for a condition that can be easily helped. Take help when you feel the need for it.

What are the other changes associated with period pain?

Many women experience bloating sensation in the abdomen, constipation before onset of period and sometimes loose stools after the onset. Mood changes, nausea, a lack of appetite, headaches and passing of clots in the menstrual discharge with heavy bleeding are some of the associated symptoms.

What are the simple precautions and remedies that can help in reducing the pain?

Simple remedies like using a hot water bag to the abdomen and back, massaging the lower abdomen gently and rest may give adequate relief. Drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly can reduce the severity of pain in a large number of women. Exercise has the additional benefit of keeping your cycles regular. Reduce the intake of junk food , too much coffee and tea,  excessive salt and processed food in your diet. Avoid alcohol & smoking. Check for any mineral and vitamin deficiencies and correct them.

Why do I need tests if dysmenorrhea is so common? Can’t I just take pain killers?

Primary dysmenorrhea doesn’t really need any tests. Most of the time the decision to investigate a woman with dysmenorrhea is influenced by the pattern of pain and severity of pain. Considering the changes in today’s lifestyle even one day off from work or school may not be welcome. Not everyone can afford to take rest.  Therefore, it becomes important for doctors to try and reduce a woman’s suffering. With that in mind gynaecologists tend to do detailed clinical examination some preliminary tests to rule out any underlying conditions. An ultrasound scan of the pelvis and Vaginal swabs for culture are done initially. If we find something on Ultrasound, further tests like MRI, or diagnostic Laparoscopy may be advised.

Pain that lasts for few hours on the first 3 days and not severe can be treated conservatively. But pain that appears in older women, lasting through the period and sometimes even after it and pain that seems to be increasing in intensity over many months, may be due to some underlying condition like Fibroids, Endometriosis, Infections, Uterine shape abnormalities etc. In some such cases simple painkillers may not be enough.

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What are some conditions causing period pain that may need treatment other than pain killers?

Adenomyosis: A condition where the inner lining of the uterus grows into the muscle of the uterus. Typically seen in older women after child-bearing years. It causes pain during periods and during sexual intercourse too. This condition reduces after menopause. If the pain is not controlled by painkillers the only possible long term relief is by the removal of the uterus [ a hysterectomy].

Endometriosis: A condition where the cells of the inner lining of uterus are found outside the uterus, typically on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surface of the uterus and intestine. This can occur at any age. It causes thick walled cysts in the ovary and a lot of pain even after the period is over. Various modes of treatment are applied based on the need for child-bearing, severity of symptoms etc. Its a progressively worsening condition hence many women end up with a need for surgery.

Fibroid uterus: A benign condition where small hard lumps of muscle cells form in the wall of the uterus. The increase in size and distortion of the shape of the uterus can cause pain and heavy bleeding during periods. Depending on symptoms and size it is treated with medications or surgery.

Pelvic inflammatory disease: This is a condition where there is infection transmitted from the vagina into the uterus and around it. It causes severe pain, fever and discomfort during urination and passing stool. Although if treated at the right time it can resolve completely, repeated infections can cause chronic long term pain.

Ovarian cysts: Fluid filled sacs occurring in the ovaries are called cysts. They may be simple cysts filled with clear fluid or endometriosis-induced cysts, filled with blood. Typically blood filled cysts cause period pain and may sometimes need extra measures other than plain painkiller medications. Large cysts need surgery.

What are the usual ways to treat period pain?

Primary dysmenorrhoea is mostly relieved by the non-medical home remedies and lifestyle changes detailed earlier. If the pain disturbs the day-to-day activities its not such a bad idea to take mild pain killers like acetaminophen [or paracetamol].

In cases of secondary dysmenorrhoea, the treatment depends on the underlying condition, the need for child-bearing, the response to medical treatment etc. Medications may include pain killers, hormonal tablets or injections, non-hormonal medications that alter periods etc. Surgery is suggested only if the conservative treatments don’t work.

Remember,  there is no need to suffer the pain of menses. Seek help when you need it.

Do You Really Need A Hysterectomy?

The Birthplace

12 lakh women will undergo a hysterectomy this year.

12 lakh women will undergo a hysterectomy this year.

Dr. Jyotsna is an MD (Ob Gyn) from one of the top medical institutions in the country (JIPMER). In addition to her passion for obstetrics and preventive women's health, she is also an expert in gynecological endoscopy, with a special interest in the management of uterine fibroids and endometriosis.  To know more or to consult Dr. Jyotsna, please call 040-45208108. You can also write in to her at  contactus@thebirthplace.com  or visit www.thebirthplace.com

Dr. Jyotsna is an MD (Ob Gyn) from one of the top medical institutions in the country (JIPMER). In addition to her passion for obstetrics and preventive women's health, she is also an expert in gynecological endoscopy, with a special interest in the management of uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

To know more or to consult Dr. Jyotsna, please call 040-45208108. You can also write in to her at contactus@thebirthplace.com or visit www.thebirthplace.com

What is a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the womb (uterus). It the most common surgical procedure performed on women after cesarean section. Various studies show that on an average 7-8 % of women undergo hysterectomy every year in India.

Hysterectomies are carried out to treat conditions that affect the female reproductive system, including:

  • heavy periods (menorrhagia)

  • non-cancerous tumours (fibroids)

  • long-term pelvic pain due to endometriosis

  • ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer or cancer of the fallopian tubes

A hysterectomy is a major operation with a long recovery time and is only considered after alternative, less invasive, treatments have been tried.

Let us first look at what alternatives you may have before you take this decision!

Many women don’t know there are alternatives or less-invasive options, like laparoscopic surgery. For women aged 35 to 54, the most common reasons for a hysterectomy are fibroids, endometriosis, and abnormal bleeding; after age 55, the most frequent reasons are uterine prolapse or cancer. However, there are new treatments for fibroids and bleeding that can help women avoid a hysterectomy.

Even the largest fibroids can be removed surgically (Myomectomy); others methods that have been tried are Hi-frequency focused ultrasound waves and cutting off their blood supply with tiny plugs in blood vessels (uterine artery embolization). Abnormal bleeding can be halted by various means of destroying the uterine lining. Prolapse can usually be corrected surgically without removing the uterus.

Myomectomy means the surgical removal of just the fibroid, with reconstruction and repair of the uterus. It is usually offered for women who are young and those who wish to conserve their uterus for fertility or until menopause.

While bothersome symptoms such as very heavy bleeding or pain often respond to medications or other non-surgical treatment, sometimes the symptoms do not get better. For some women, when other minimally invasive surgical techniques may have failed, hysterectomy may be appropriate.

There are times when hysterectomy may be unavoidable; some women who have endured years of pain and bleeding do choose hysterectomy.

If there is no option other than going in for a hysterectomy, are there different ways of doing it?

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There are various ways to remove the uterus - Abdominal, Vaginal and Laparoscopic.

Out of all these, vaginal hysterectomy is the most comfortable for the woman and has least complications when performed by a well-trained gynecologist.

Laparoscopic surgery has made it possible for reducing the hospital stay and also providing more comfort with less pain. Abdominal surgery is opted for in some patients where the other methods are not feasible and in cases of cancer usually. It is a safe procedure but the woman has more pain and longer recovery time.

Currently, laparoscopic hysterectomy has gained popularity due to its relatively pain-free recovery and shorter hospital stay, and since it does not cause scars on the abdomen like an abdominal surgery. Hysterectomy is a major surgery. Do not opt for it unless a qualified gynecologist has evaluated you and recommended it.