So in March 2021, after having had many issues with Felica (my bitchy uterus) for several months. My Gyno set me up with a transvaginal UltraSound (US), which was super uncomfortable from all the inflammation.
The US showed two different conditions. The first condition is that I have a heart-shaped uterus. What the hell is that? Well, it's a uterus that has an indent at the top, making it look like a heart. Although, I thought this was cool. I did find out that this is a condition you don't want. It develops abnormally while you were still in the womb. In some cases, women have no idea they have one, and everything is fine. But, in other cases, some women can be at risk for Endometriosis and pregnancy issues - such as recurrent miscarriages, pre-term birth, breached birth.
The second condition I have is Adenomyosis (Adeno), the ugly sister to Endometriosis (Endo) that no one talks about. Both Adeno and Endo conditions are not life-threatening, but they can really negatively impact your quality of life and make it hard to become pregnant.
With Endometriosis, the cells grow outside the uterus. And with Adenomyosis, the cells grow within the walls of the uterus, so the inner lining of the uterus breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus. As the wall grows thicker, the uterus becomes enlarged.
I have all the symptoms of Adeno with the prolonged periods (bleeding for months at a time), sharp knife-like cramping, chronic pelvic pain, enlarged uterus causing "endo belly" and bloating, and painful intercourse.
With Adeno - The exact cause of the condition is unknown. And the treatment options are equally disappointing.
Now I want to start by saying I trust my doctor. He is super knowledgeable and very well known in the medical field. So when I was given the list of treatments, I was so deflated that the only options were hormone treatment to stop the period from happening (aka birth control, which I am already on), over-the-counter pain meds (which I am already taking). And if the over-the-counter meds aren't enough, I can then go on a pain management regimen with narcotics (um hell no!?). The surgical treatments are an ablation (a procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus) or getting a hysterectomy.
My doctor suggested against the ablation, as there is a 50/50 chance of any improvement. So we agreed that wasn't the route to go.
My doc also suggested that I try a different form of birth control (BC), such as the IUD or the implant in the arm. About five years back, I was fitted for an IUD, and just getting fit was excruciating pain, and I vowed to myself "never again". The other BC option was the implant in the arm, which I was also not a fan of. So my doctor suggested that I continue my current form of birth control, the Nuva Ring, but at a higher dose. I used to take it out every four weeks and put a new ring in, and now I would take it every three weeks and immediately put a new ring in. He said to keep track of symptoms and come back if things get better or get worse.
So I took my newfound diagnosis and higher doses of birth control, hoped for the best. But very soon, Felicia would take a turn for the worst...
📷 by ShutterStock, Katelyn Thompson, Reuben Juarez
My period and I don't have a good relationship. My first visit from the dreaded Felicia and her friends Crampy and Bleedy, I was 12 years old.
After that, Felicia and her friends would only come to visit a few months a year, and I would be in unbearable pain during those visits. I would often be at school and would have to rush out of the classroom with a hoodie wrapped around my waist because I was dripping in blood because Felicia and her friends wanted to remind me who was boss. So many times, I would have to miss school because I could never control the bleeding and pain. The best thing for me to do was sitting on the toilet most of the day because pads wouldn't keep up. At 14, I was put on a low dose of birth control to try and "control" the periods, but it seemed to stay the same.
Once I got older and became sexually active, I tried to avoid the dreaded monthly visit at all costs. The first was with the depo shot, which helped. I used that form of BC for about eight years. Some research was done on the depo shot, and I was then educated to switch to a new BC option. I wanted to go with a low dose of hormones and didn't want to take the pills because of the lack of success I had with them when I was a teen. So the next option was the Nuva Ring.
I wanted a low dose of hormones because I was also diagnosed with PMS syndrome, meaning I only would feel " normal " one week out of the month. So anything that was preventing me from feeling "okay" I wanted to do away with.
Ever since being sexually active, there would be times I would have pain after orgasms, like a hard cramp after sex. Any doctor I asked just said, "yeah, your uterus is just contracting. Don't worry about it"... So I tried not to think about it too much.
In my mid 20's I also found out I have a mild
case of dysplasia, so I always had to get
PAP Smears every six months and the
occasional colposcopy. A colposcopy is
where they biopsy your cervix (it is terrible!),
it's similar positioning to a PAP but deeper...
a lot deeper. They would never find anything
in my colposcopy results. It was always benign,
so that felt relieving but also like, "why did I even have to get that procedure?" I have had a total of five colposcopies in my lifetime. At the beginning of the pandemic was the last one I had done. And it was the worst pain I ever experienced. I felt like they stabbed my heart and was left to drive home and lay in the fetal position the rest of the day.
When I turned 30, I immediately felt different about Felicia. My period began to regulate the cycle, but it was still bizarre and painful. I didn't know what was happening, I was instantly uncomfortable and feeling extremely nauseous while on my period, and sex became increasingly more painful.
In November 2020 (I was 32), I started having more and more problems with Felicia and her friends. They wouldn't ever leave. I was bloated, had sharp cramping, and was constantly bleeding. So finally, after bleeding for about four months straight, I saw my Gynocologist (Gyno). He immediately sent me to get a transvaginal UltraSound (US) done. I felt awkward, thinking to myself, "aren't I supposed to be pregnant getting something like this done?" But, the US tech made me feel comfortable and was kind, and even complimented my high platform shoes (instant way to become my friend LOL). The US itself was super uncomfortable because you have to realize I have been on a period for four months. I didn't want anything down there, not even a tampon, let alone a probe that some stranger is sticking inside me. Before I left, she said, "there is no reason to be bleeding for that long," and then wished me good luck on my journey. It was a nice gesture, but I really didn't know how to take that; it made me think there was something way more wrong than just a heavy flow.
A few days later, I went back to my Gyno and was told I have all the signs and symptoms of Adenomyosis.
This was the beginning of the end of Felicia...
As a clinical sexuality coach, Katelyn works with individuals and couples to help them discover their best sex lives.