The Top Two Things (Focus: Hormones)

March 25, 2018

The top two things are hormones and digestion.

Apart from doing actions and movements that are not good for me to do, I’ve come to the conclusion that those two factors have the largest impact on my symptoms, for better or for worse.

The topic of this post is hormones.

My situation right now is that I haven’t had a period since January 1st of this year (such a nice, neat date to remember!). I hear that menopause doesn’t officially start until it’s been a full year without a period. However, I’m pretty certain that I’m month 3 into that year. I’m 46.

Before this “road-to-menopause” phase, I estimate that I started entering peri-menopause in the year before I got unexpectedly pregnant (when I was 42). Before I was pregnant, my menstrual cycles were regular but I had some unusually long ones (hence, the pregnancy). After my son was born, I never regained any regularity.

I’m looking at the menstrual calendar app on my phone, with data going back to August 2016. Here are the lengths of my cycles, starting with most recent and going back in time:

22, 23, 43, 22, 33, 27, 23, 54, 24, 24, 21, 48, 38, 27, 42, 37

Before I stopped having periods, I definitely felt worse in a cyclical pattern. I wrote about that in my post, “Cyclical Patterns” on November 4, 2015. Leading up to this road-to-menopause, I had a curiosity and suspicion that my symptoms just might get better with the drop in estrogen that accompanies menopause.

I do think my suspicion is true because I’ve been consistently feeling on the ‘better’ end of the spectrum, and I’m not noticing the highs and lows any more. The improvement has come from what I’d describe as a lack of hormone-based swelling. You might visualize that the prolapse “is what it is” at baseline, but then the hormones add a component of swelling on top of the baseline. Extra swelling in the vulvar region made the bulgy feeling worse. On top of that, there was a hormone-based pain, right in front of the pubic bone. The combination was unpleasant. Now, it appears that those days are over! Therefore, I’m feeling noticeably better.

This means one thing: I’m healed.







Abdominal Symptoms

February 2, 2016

Just a quick post to mention that lately it’s my lower abdominal area that is giving me my most annoying prolapse symptoms.  That’s a switch!  Before, it was (very!) clearly my perineum that was the source of all my discomfort.  The feelings of pressure/irritation/bulginess were always DOWN THERE.

But these days, I’m enjoying spans of time when I do feel significantly more “closed” and “lifted.”  It definitely doesn’t feel like anything is falling out or on the verge of doing so.  That gives me peace, right there!

However– I’m trying to figure out these abdominal symptoms that I’m having.  It seems like they are due to my prolapse issues, but yet they are mysterious…

I am due for my yearly “well check-up” with my doctor.  I think I’ll schedule that visit soon.

This is what I’m feeling:

  • a heightened “awareness” of what’s going on in my lower abdomen
  • sometimes it seems like the area is more bloated than it was before
  • sometimes I wonder if my intestines moved into a different place when I was pregnant…and they didn’t go back to their old location
  • the feeling in my abdomen is hard to describe but feels like a mild buzzing or a subtle internal irritation or possibly the mildest cramp
  • the slight discomfort is accompanied by an internal feeling of “lack of support.”  I notice the lack of support in general, but it’s definitely a lot worse if I attempt to carry any loads in front of me (just one example).
  • my abdominal muscles seem to be more “stretched out” because I no longer suck in my tummy and I don’t do ab work.  I’m not talking about the skin, but the muscles.
  • I feel like it’s my bladder that is the source of these new symptoms

I am still physically healing.  That much is true.  My body is taking its own pace with that.  I’m sitting back (but not literally) and giving my body its own time.  Slow and steady.

I want to have this checked out (only to rule out anything serious) but I do suspect that I’m just getting some extra sensory input from my organs’ gradual shift back to normalcy.  Time will tell!

And so I notice my belly/bladder more than I want to.  I look forward to the day when I don’t notice, notice, notice sensations all the time.  That will be nice when I have that (healthy) lack of feeling.

I am healed.



January 13, 2016

Here’s yet another observation about my monthly cycles.

I’ve mentioned before that I have increased “symptoms” leading up to ovulation.  I used to feel like those symptoms were a slight worsening of my “prolapse symptoms”…i.e. pressure (that’s been the dominant sensation).

However, last month and especially this month I’ve definitely come to the realization that I’m not really feeling a bit more uncomfortable because of my “prolapse symptoms.”

(Right now it’s cycle day 9 and my fertile days this month are ~9-13 with ovulation expected at day 13.)

At this very moment, I’m almost feeling some old familiar sensations…kind of like abdominal cramping.  Mild, but noticeable.  I haven’t had period cramps in my abdomen since before I was pregnant.  Even in the year-ish before I got pregnant my cramps were super mild to non-existent.  But that’s sort of how it feels right now.

I also definitely have that swollen feeling like I described in a previous post.  But it’s what I’m calling “period pain” that is the NEW thing.  It’s interesting.

It’s a reminder to myself that things are still changing for me.  My body is still changing.  It’s not a worsening of my prolapse symptoms at all.  That gives me peace.

Who knows when I’ll enter into peri-menopause, also.  That’ll be another something new.  I am 44 years old, after all.

Keep this progress marching forward!

I am healed.

Cervix Position

November 13, 2015

Here are some interesting “Info Tidbits” (from my Free Menstrual Calendar (FMC) phone app), about how the cervix changes position with the menstrual cycle:

“Your cervix lifts and straightens and becomes softer, higher and more
open as your fertility (and the presence of estrogen) increases.”

“After ovulation, your cervix again becomes more closed and firm and lower.”

This is helpful information to have, if you deal with pelvic organ prolapse symptoms!

I’ve mentioned before that I used to manually “check” the status of my bulges on a daily basis.  I don’t anymore.  But when I did, I typically felt my cervix at a full first finger’s length inside.

Note– I’ve never thought that I had a uterine prolapse (although I never remember being able to feel my cervix at all in my pre-baby days).  I believe my prolapse symptoms stem from a mild cystocele and mild rectocele.

Indeed, sometimes I could feel my cervix noticeably lower.  At the time, I didn’t know that the cervix is supposed to change position during the month.  At the time, the feeling that my cervix had “dropped down” a bit occasionally made me worry that whatever degree of prolapse that I had was getting worse.

That’s not exactly a peaceful thought!

Now I don’t feel compelled to “check” myself very often at all.  Now I don’t worry!  Now I know that my cervix does its “thing” exactly like it’s supposed to do.

Today is cycle day 24.  I’ve felt pretty darn great the past few days!

I am healed.

Cyclical Patterns

November 4, 2015

Maybe I sound like a broken record, because I just mentioned this 5 days ago, but I’m just going to say it again…

There’s DEFINITELY a pattern to my prolapse symptoms, and it has everything to do with my menstrual cycle.

Today is cycle day 15, and– while I am typing up this post mid-day instead of late at night– it’s clear that today I feel noticeably better than the past several days.  So far, I’ve felt “almost normal,” which means I feel the best that I’ve felt post-baby.


According to my phone app, my predicted ovulation day was yesterday, and I can sense that it was probably completely accurate.

“Estrogen is at its peak one to two days prior to ovulation…Estrogen drops dramatically after ovulation.”

“This estrogen surge signals the release of LH (Luteinizing Hormone)…The LH surge occurs 12-24 hours prior to ovulation but LH begins to rise about 36 hours before ovulation.”

Hormones are powerful, I tell you!  It’s ridiculous to think that my pelvic organs would have moved around enough to make me feel so markedly better one day, compared to being in a position to make me feel “so-so” (which is never all that bad) the day(s) before.

The only thing I have left to figure out is why I’ve only just picked up on this pattern in the past 2-3 months.  The pattern seems really obvious to me now.

I suppose it’s just one more example of how LONG the my body takes to recover from pregnancy and birth.  Recall that I didn’t really breast feed (after ~4 weeks I quit trying to force it to work), so my first post-partum “period” (it was incredibly light) came just before my baby was 3 months old.

Naturally, it takes a while for the menstrual cycles to “re-normalize” after they resume.  So the obvious reason why it took me so long to notice the pattern is that it’s only become a pattern very recently.

So that is all for now.  I’ll say this one more time:  Peace comes in predictable patterns!

I am healed.