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Marianne from Oxford

Successful Treatment for Adenomyosis

"I am ashamed to say that I had always rather looked down on women who complain about their periods" writes Marianne (46) of Oxford, "I simply didn't understand that not everyone was as lucky as I was. My periods started when I was 11, arrived regularly every 28 days, were very light, and lasted only three days. Why would anyone complain about them? Then, when I was about 43 my periods started to get heavier. Indeed they got so heavy that I went to see my doctor who gave me that old line about its being my age! Well, what could I do other than believe him? But my periods continued to get heavier. They also became far more painful, and they started to last for a week."

I started to organise my diary according to my menstrual cycle. After a particularly bad night staying at a friend's house I decided that if there was any chance that I'd be having my period I wouldn't arrange to stay away from home at all. Then, after two dreadful evenings at, respectively the theatre and a dinner party, I decided I wouldn't even go out in the evening if I thought I might be having my period. Finally after a day at a conference when, every half an hour I had had to dash to the loo, and every five minutes I had started again to worry about ‘leakage', I decided I wouldn't even go out during my periods.

Clearly this was becoming untenable and I went back to the doctor. This time he told me that I was probably worried about nothing because ‘tests show that women lose far less blood during their periods than they think they do'. (I love my doctor dearly but this sorely tried my patience!). Nevertheless he sent me to the John Radcliffe, my local hospital, for further examination. The JR discovered I had adenomyosis. I was referred for possible uterine artery embolisation.

Dr. Cowan explained that it was a new operation, but far less invasive than a fibroidectomy. He also explained that there was no good reason to think that those undergoing the operation lost their fertility (a clear consequence of a hysterectomy, another option I had been offered). Although 43 and not really interested in having children I don't believe in closing off options unless necessary and, liking everything else I heard about the operation, I agreed to have it.

I was admitted within the month. I was a bit taken aback to find myself in the ‘pain unit', but the operation itself was a breeze. I was awake (sort of) all through it, and indeed at the end of it I believed myself to have prepared a lecture (this belief, sadly, turned out to be false!). At no time did I feel even discomfort never mind pain. The pain came after the anaesthetic wore off and it was pretty horrendous. But the nurses were ready with morphine and they topped it up overnight so although it was a very uncomfortable night I can't say I was in pain after the first 15 minutes. Later the second day I went home.

I was in bed for a week. There was no real need for this because after the first 4 days I had no pain at all, but I enjoyed the indulgence. And since then - plain sailing. No period pains, cycle completely back to normal, periods even lighter than they were before. I'm back to forgetting even that I'm having a period. Completely back to normal. Except for one thing: I shall never again look down on a woman who complains about her periods!