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Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

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Unread 04-23-2005, 11:08 PM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Hello Everyone,

I'm new to Hyster Sisters. I've had a 5 year history of heavy periods, which in the past, Ibuprofin seemed to help. (with cramping and the amount of flow). About 8 months or so, I started noticing that my periods were getting even heavier, and in all likelihood, they were probably getting even heavier prior to 8 months ago, just not consistently every month. My last GYN in Germany (Military) said to come back if the periods became so heavy that I was changing pads every hour to hour and a half.

We moved to the States, and during the past 8 months, I tried using both super tampons and an overnight pad. Everytime I urinate, the water is bright red, and I increased to 2 pads. Sometimes it feels like the blood is gushing out. About 2 months ago, I called my Primary doc and decided it was time to go back in. He switched the motrin to something else which helped out with the cramping, but not for the amount of flow.

I also started noticing that I was craving ice all the time? Has anyone else experiencing heavy bleeding while also craving ice?

Two months ago, my period was heavier than it has ever been. I had just changed and walked out of the bathroom and not even 5 minutes later, I had bled through the super tampon, with the blood leaking out from the sides of the pad. I'm a student, and have to sit through 4 to 5 hour long lectures, and when it is the first 4 days of my period, I have to run out of the class about every hour to change. During that time, I worry that I'm going to bleed all over the chairs. It makes concentrating on the material extremely difficult.

However, this month, it's almost like my uterus knows that I've been visiting the doctors, and discussing what my uterus has been up to lately, My last period was heavy, but not to the point of last 8 months. My primary care doc ordered blood work and discovered that my iron level was low, though not to the point of anemia. He put me on iron as well as calcium, and I'm feeling alot better. For quite awhile, I was feeling very fatigued, almost light headed, and generally under-the-weather.

Has anyone else had their periods cause fatigue and a general sick feelings?

During last year's pap, my last Primary doc said that my uterus felt enlarged, but she did not order an ultrasound. This year, my new Primary said the same thing, however he ordered an ultrasound and had his staff schedule me for a follow up appointment. When I arrived to my follow up, my primary said that he thought my results were fine, that he remembered my pap results and it was negative. I thought that this was congruent to what the lab tech told me during my ultrasound. I remembered that the radiology tech said that she could see 2 fibroids, one behind my bladder with the second in a lower position, and I told him what she had said to me. He checked on his computer to read my results, as they were not in my chart, and nothing showed. He then checked with radiology to see if my results were back, and discovered that they were not in yet, (which is why they were not available on the computer) so he referred me to Ob/Gyn for a consultation.

I just went in for that GYN appointment yesterday, and got my ultrasound results back. Apparently I have a 7cm fibroid in the fundus , a slightly smaller fibroid in the body of my uterus, and then lots of smaller 1 to 2cm scattered around. My GYN wants to take an endometrial biopsy as a precaution. We also discussed various treatments for fibroids. We discussed using birth control pills to try to control the bleeding, as well as embolization, myoectomy as well as hysterectomies. She stated that since I'm in my 40's and my ovaries seem to be alright, that I was a candidate for a SAH. I'm not certain how large my uterus is, she told me that when I come in for the edometrial biopsy, that she would examine my uterus for the size. I've been reading about the subcervial abdominal hysterectomy and asked if I was also a candidate for this surgery. My GYN seems to think that I am due to having a good history of negative paps.

I was wondering, if anyone has had a subcervical hysterectomy, and what could I possibly expect when having this type of procedure.

I also noticed that I have gained about 20 pounds in the past 2 years, and was wondering if that is a symptom of fibroids?

Is there bleeding during recovery, and is there a procedure that can be done to stop the mini-periods that sometimes happens?
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Unread 04-23-2005, 11:25 PM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Hi WhiteRose,

Wow you have been through a lot!! We Hysters are here to help if we can.

I had a LSH (Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy). Like a SAH (Subtotal Abdominal Hysterectomy), the surgery retains the cervix. I wanted to keep my ovaries and my cervix if I was a candidate. I had my cervix cauterized during surgery and I have not had a mini-period in post-op.

I had two large fibroids and similar symptoms to you. I was starting to get heavier periods, I had pelvic pressure 24/7 and I was experiencing a lot of bladder incontinence. Not to mention I was tired all the time. I felt 86 instead of 46. I was tested for anemia and I did not have it. In my book, it was borderline.

Here is a Hyster Sisters link that goes over the different types of hysts. Just scroll down:

Possibly you are a a candidate for a less invasive hyst such as a LAVH or a LSH???

I could suggest checking out all the alternative methods to a hyst and also look at the different types of hysts. It will give you more questions for your Dr.

Best wishes,

Unread 04-23-2005, 11:36 PM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

White Rose,

Yes, many of us on this site have experienced ice cravings. It is usually the result of becoming anemic. The condition is called Pica. My hemoglobin had dropped to 5 requiring blood transfusions. After that the ice cravings disappeared. It's good your Dr. has you on iron. Hopefully you'll notice a change soon. You should notice less fatigue and light headedness as well.

I experienced heavy bleeding from fibroids similar to yours. I had gotten to the point where I was changing 1-2 Super tampons and two overnight pads every half an hour (ergo the anemia). I had clots so large that when I stood up the gravity would plunge them through my vagina and pop the tampons right out of me.

My periods made my life hell, and yes I felt tired and sick all of the time. It's more highlighted now after hysterectomy because I realize how great I feel now as compared to before.

Sounds like you have a good Dr. who is taking all the right tests. My Dr. also had me try BCPs for about a year, but it only took th edge off the bleeding. They seemed to become more and more ineffective as the fibroids grew larger. It was worth a shot though.

Now that you know you're a candidate for keeping your cervix, you might also want to ask your Dr. if she, or other Dr's in your area perform laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH). Three or four 1/4" incisions are made in your abdomen. The surgeon detaches the uterus using lap tools and then uses a morcellator to cut and remove it from your abdomen. The surgery takes about 1 to 3 hours and requires a one night stay in the hospital, although some women have been released the same day. Most Dr's release their patients back to work at about 4 weeks. It is still a serious surgery and most women take 6 weeks off to recover. I felt really good after the first week, and almost normal at 3 weeks, but that is deceiving -- we still need to rest and recover properly even though we feel great.

If you keep your cervix statistics vary between 5 and 15 percent that you will continue to have what are called mini periods. Most women who have them report them to be a couple of days of staining that only shows up when you wipe yourself with toilet paper.

I don't think I gained weight from my fibroids. In the end I was surprised my uterus weighed only 1 pound when it felt like 20! Of course a normal uterus only weighs about 2-3 ounces. Since my heavy bleeding prevented me from doing certain physical acitivities I would say it hindered weight loss more than caused weight gain. My weight had also dropped from the loss of blood.

I had no bleeding during recovery. If you have SAH or LSH, I don't think there should be any blood coming out of your vagina. I think that would be a concern that should be shared with your Dr. With the LSH lap incisions, I had no bleeding. I am not sure about the ladies who have had SAH. Hopefully they'll answer and share their experience.

Whoo! That was long. Hope I answered all your questions. You will find that this is a great web site, and all of your questions will be answered!

Hang in there. Things are going to get better!

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Unread 04-23-2005, 11:58 PM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Hello Mary and Linda,

Thank you both for the information and the link. I remember my Gyn mentioning the possibility of a LSH, but also said that it depended upon how large my uterus is. She also said that she might give me a shot of luprin (sp?) to help reduce the size of the fibroids. She also told me that I'd probably be cursing her due to the symptoms the shot causes.

My mother and 3 out of 4 sisters have had hysterectomies due to either heavy bleeding/fibroids. My oldest sister was diagnosed with Fibroids, and a hysterectomy was recommended, however she is still doing watchful waiting. She wasn't experiencing iron defenciency. My next to oldest sister sister was 31 when she had her hysterectomy. I was told that I probably am not a candidate for a vaginal Hysterectomy due to two previous abdominal surgeries.

I'm supposed to go in on May 3 for the endometrial biopsy and then we'll discuss the results and the different types of surgery options.

Also, thank you for telling me what that condition was called. I noticed that after starting the iron tablets, I no longer feel the urge of eating glass after glass full of ice. It was so strange, it started off just in water, and then increased.

I thought it was strange how I had gained 20 pounds. When I went to see my Gyn yesterday, I discovered that I have lost 10 pounds. Probably from the heavy bleeding.

I noticed that I forgot to sign my name on my first message. My apologies everyone.

I'm Sherri, and thank you for welcoming me.

Unread 04-24-2005, 12:37 AM
Hi Whiterose

I am new to the Hyster Sisters and this has been the best thing that has happened to me!! For the last few years I was told during my pap exams that my uterus felt somewhat large. After last October, I noticed the jeans I normally wore seemed to be getting too tight to wear. I worked out at the gym, am quite active, but wondered why I was gaining so much weight, and my stomach was getting quite large. I just figured it was excess fat.I had to buy pants two sizes larger to fit over my stomach- nothing seemed to fit, I was devastated!! I had had two ultrasounds before, so I knew I had uterin fibroids and a left ovary cyst. I was told by my Dr. that we will observe them. I had no idea that they would grow to be this large. Well, at my last exam, I was sent for another ultrasound and was told that my uterus was the size of a six month pregnancy, and the cyst on my left ovary was now the size of a golf ball. My periods have been getting heavier, lasting longer, and I also get clots going through. I don't get cramps, but I do have to urinate all the time, and I feel pelvic pressure, like I have a large melon down there. I am now scheduled for a TAH/BSO on May 6th, I am 47 .I feel it is time to have this, I am scared, but after reading our sisters letters, I am more confident. It has helped!! I to, on my last period, it was real light, like it knew it was about to come out- LOL.
Bless you, and good luck! Norco .
Unread 04-24-2005, 12:52 AM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Me too! I've just found out that I had a fibroid uterus in the last few months. Fortunately, I didn't have the terrible bleeding problems you all experienced. I was having abdominal pain, bloating and leg pain along with pelvic pressure.

I could NOT figure out why I had lost 25 lb. but my abdomen kept getting bigger. I was wearing the same pants for years but they kept gettin tighter and I weighed less!! And also, my hips and waist were 2 inches larger at night then in the morning. The reason I knew that is because I sew and I measured them often for fitting.

Gosh, it is nice to know I'm not crazy. The pelvic pressure is getting so much worse I can hardly stand at all and it feels as though it pressing up above my navel now.
Unread 04-24-2005, 06:15 AM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Hi Whiterose, fabricat and Norco - Glad you found us.

A word of caution on the Lupron shot: Since you are already bleeding heavily - you need to know that one of the many possible side effects is that it can cause MUCH heavier bleeding either immediately after the shot or on the next cycle.

This was a risk that I couldn't afford to take.

And Fibroids, because they are estrogen-fed will grow at an alarming rate if you start taking BCP's (I tried that briefly - didn't slow the bleeding at all)

So many of your sisters here can relate to what you are going through! I posted this on another thread the other day, but it just about says it all - for me. (maybe some of that will sound familiar too!)

I had various "GI" problems, such as bloating, lack of appetite, pressure, pain, frequent urination, constipation, hemoroids, and nausea, nausea, and more nausea. (and fibroids, life-threatening bleeding, and acute anemia)

I have none of these problems post-op.


TAH at 54/kept ov's

PS - If you have asymptomatic fluid-filled cysts on your ovaries, that is not a reason for ovary removal! I had a large cyst on my right ovary that I previously knew nothing about - it was simply drained in surgery. It's more common to have cysts of this type than not to have them. I hope you will try to keep your otherwise healthy ovaries - they have long-term health benefits (cardio & osteo) for MANY years - even after menopause.
Unread 04-24-2005, 08:24 AM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Hi Sherri!

Where are you and are you still under military care? DH is retired now so I understnad the bouncing around and different docs.

Aren't fibroids wonderful (grrrr!) creatures? I had a planned LSH and ended up SAH to finish (surgery was done partially each way) - the 'soccer ball' was too big to get the top of via LSH.

Chewing ice is a pica for anemia - you mayonly be 'borderline' but your body is telling you something. This needs to be a standard question that docs ask because about 50% or more of all menustrating women are anemic at some point.

My surgeon is not a fan of lupron (I asked about it) - he feels the side effects are not worth the advantages. But that is him - the side effects are not 'good' but then it may not be as bad for you. There is also no 'guarantee' that it will bring the fibroid size down.

Do your reasearch and then talk it over with your doc.

"Supra" cervical -- leaving the cervix - the nurse in pre-op looked at me weird when I used subcervical... LOL --- can be done LSH or SAH (lucky me had both - LOL). At 18 days post-op I feel good - pretty much pain free (I ache at the end of the day but not really 'pain'), the SAH incision is healing fine as are the 5 from LSH. Mini periods - about a 7% chance and depend on if there is any endometirial tissue left on the cervix - evena mini has to be better than the uncontrolable periods,
Unread 04-24-2005, 11:10 AM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Hi ladies!
Wow, I am so relieved to have found this site. I had no idea that so many people had the same symptoms and agonizing heavy periods that I have. None of my close friends have them and they don't really understand. I am a letter carrier and it can be really stressful trying to get to a restroom when out on the mail route.
I have always had heavy periods and have had fibroids for several years. This past year things have gotten so much worse. I too have had problems with my clothes fitting properly. I have been watching what I eat and exercising but still my belly stayed with me. Ihave lost 25 lbs but keeps growing. I am dreading the possibility of swelly belly.I'm a little nervous about the surgery, but I'm ready to have a normal life without having the FLOOD every 21 days!
Thank you all for your support and the helpful information. I'm making a list of things to discuss with DR. She's so wonderful, she already told me that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
God Bless You All!!
Unread 04-24-2005, 11:54 AM
Fibroids, Heavy Bleeding, and Hysterectomy

Ditto to what Lulu said. This site has been a godsend to me! For about a year I had been thinking that all the crazy stuff I was feeling, and that my body was doing, were because of perimenopause. (I'm 44) It wasn't until a couple of months ago when I was sticking to my diet religiously but my belly kept getting bigger and bigger, to the point that I couldn't zip up my jeans anymore, that I realized there might be a bigger problem. Actually, I was kind of relieved to find out I had fibroids (5 of them, the biggest is 5cm) so there was a reason for the way I felt.

I'm kind of laughing about some of it now. I mean, why did I think it was normal to be going to the bathroom 15 times in 8 hours? And, why did I think wearing a super tampon and overnight pad at the same time and having to change them at least every hour and half or so was normal? I'm glad I came to my senses and finally went to the GYN.

Thanks to all the Hyster Sisters. You've been such a big help to me ... and I'm sure you will be in the coming months as well

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