The Shittery -volume 1

I haven’t written a post in so long, and honestly, I was afraid that with everything going on I would just be a wet blanket. The fact is I was going in circles trying to figure out how my gut health – something I have worked so hard on – could all go down the tubes after an excision surgery. And now, 11 months later, I’m more confused than I ever was because of the last three days. But let me back up.

In October of 2020 I had a 6 hour laparoscopic surgery to remove endometriosis and adhesions from the span of my ovaries to my lungs. Luckily the endometrial growth was minimal but extensive work was done on my bowels and left ovary to remove them both from the abdominal wall by way of adhesions. Within a day of my recovery I could feel the difference; the way I was able to expand my lungs, the way I could move and twist, the way I had more energy than before. I used very few hydromorphone pills and was able to walk and move around to the best of my abilities. The only hiccup I had was a fussy nerve along the side of my pelvic wall which we fixed with a nerve block. The goal from this point onward was to switch me off of Gabapentin (which I was on after my 2018 surgery for central sensitization) and try me on amitriptyline which my doctor has seen better results with. As for endometriosis and pain, I was to continue on birth control (oral contraceptive of combination hormone) on a continuous basis so to skip my periods, reduce the pain and potentially limit the estrogen that fuels the (re)growth of endometriosis. You can pause on that one if you’d like. I did.

About 4-5 weeks after my surgery, while still recovering slowly at home, I noticed I was having difficulty with bowel movements. Not only were things not moving well, but I wasn’t able to push anything out. So began the whirlwind trial and error of laxatives, stool softeners, fibre, enemas and suppositories. My GI reluctantly gave in to my request for more tests and much to my dismay everything kept showing up normal. On the contrary my symptoms were getting worse AND I was starting to have reduced mobility because of the laxatives. Around the 5 month mark I threw my hands in the air and stopped everything. I turned to my osteopath and my naturopath after realizing that both my GI and my endo specialist were not able to help (or… not optimistic in finding a solution). I have to give my surgeon credit, he took me off the amitriptyline because of its constipating effects and was more than happy to learn about SIBO (see next paragraph).

For those who are naysayers on the natural therapies you can skip this part but basically my osteopath could conclude I had a lazy bowel and my naturopath was able to conclude with a gold standard breath test that I did in fact have SIBO.

For those of you who prefer the more medical flavor, I had a defecography which showed ‘stasis {was} severe’ and a 1.3cm rectocele (a hernia that protrudes from the rectum into the vagina). Yay me! But none of this, in conjunction with some blood work was anything to cause alarm. I proceeded with the natural path so that I felt like I was doing something.

SIBO treatment is still ongoing at this point BUT in phase one – opening the biofilms – my flatulence decreased significantly after 5 weeks. Into the second phase – eradication of the bad bacteria – I started to regain complete mobility. COMPLETE MOBILITY! That was worth celebrating!! But I did not regain the ability to literally poop. So, I started taking a suppository every day and this was enough to poop out the most glorious poop. Once a day. Regular. Nicely shaped and sized. I mean this was something worth sharing LOL. Anyways… now we come full circle. See, aside from all the changes that were made to my body after the surgery the one thing that remained consistent was… the birth control pill. I don’t want to lose you here because at this point I am perplexed and fairly confident I will never know the right answer to any of this but …

A few days ago, around the 11 month mark of all this fecal chaos, I talked to my naturopath again about the PMS, boob swelling, cravings, and discharge – what feels like a period – minus the bleeding. She said sometimes the body’s own estrogen levels can combat the effects of the birth control pill. That same day I felt like I was bleeding but I wasn’t. I did what any insane person would do; I stopped the pill to just allow myself to have a period once and for all. That same day, I had the urge to poop and I was able to poop: 2 things I have not experienced in ELEVEL MONTHS!!!! What did I do? I texted my mom, my sister, my fiance…. I danced. The next day and the next day? same thing. Urgency and poop.

Is it the prostaglandins? Is it the naturally constipating effects of the pill? Is it the certain levels of hormone that are being maintained with the pill? I found this quote today which kinda sums it all up:

Studies have shown that oral contraceptives negatively impact gut flora, and estrogen metabolism. This can lead to weight loss resistance, increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety, and unresolved digestive issues.

Nutrition Rewired

In the end, this is an n of 3 days, and I have shifty data points to base all of this on. But all that to say, I thought back to why I was on birth control in the first place. Yes, of course to minimize the pain (dysmenorrhea) from my periods; no not as a method of birth control; but mostly because of the theory that it could prevent new or existing growth of endometrial lesions. I posted the question on social media today and there was a resounding NO IT DOESN’T PREVENT ENDO BECAUSE:

  • The theory only works on the retrograde menstruation theory.
  • Endometriosis fuels itself by producing its own estrogen.
  • Many individuals on birth control had growth of lesions between surgeries.
  • Menopausal and post menopausal individuals who inherently have lower estrogen levels maintain their existing endometriosis and may produce a new form of endometriosis by way of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Complicated, right? Well I have one more week until I speak with my gynaecologist but Im thinking this might be an excuse to do my own little case study off the pill (I’m secretly jumping for joy right now).

Thanks for tuning in to my shittery:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.