Tag Archives: ask endochick

Ask Endochick: Pituitary Tumors and Endometriosis

Endochick,

  Does having endometriosis cause pituitary tumors? L

  L,

While having endometriosis doesn’t guarantee you’ll be diagnosed with a pituitary tumor, or another endocrine tumor, it does increase the odds.

First, some basic background. Endometriosis is an endocrine disease causing aninflammation in your pelvic cavity (and any where else you have implants). Because these implants bleed with the monthly release of  hormones but are unable to shed from the body, the contents remain inside. That’s where they fester, the implants continue too grow in size and depth each month and cause varying degrees of agony.

There’s always a concern that endometriosis may turn into endometrial cancer — or cancer of the urine lining. And while some studies are still arguing whether endo women need to be concerned about uterine and endometrial cancers, a a study out of Denmark says there’s real concern for endocrine cancers. Researchers studied over 114,000 women with endometriosis. They found women were more likely to develop “brain and endocrine cancers, such as cancers of the pituitary or thyroid glands, but a reduced risk of cervical cancer.” according to HealthyWomen.org.

And of special importance:

The Institute of Cancer Research’s Minouk J. Schoemaker published in 2009 that women who have gone thru surgical menopause, or early menopause, are at an increased risk for pituitary tumors. Women with endometriosis often resort to partial or full hysterectomies due to excessive bleeding (menorrhaghia) or unmanageable pain (dysmenorrhea). Shoemaker also found a correlation between women who had given birth before turning 20, and later being diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. He does stress, though, that, they “are usually benign but are associated with substantial morbidity.”

Just because you have endometriosis doesn’t mean you’ll get a pituitary tumor. Tumors of any kind are not something to mess around with. Speak with your doctor about your personal medical history, and chances of getting an endocrine tumor.

** If you experience a combination of these symptoms, see your personal physician. Remember, this blog is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat or replace your doctor. **

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Ask Endochick: Is Topomax Prescribed For Endometriosis?

Dear E, 

I’ve been a long term reader and notice you’ve taken Topamax. Does it help your endo pain? I’ve tried bc pill, Lupron (2 round… NEVER AGAIN!!!!!), and pain meds (doctor strength and from drug store). Running out of options. I know Topamax isn’t a pain med, but neither is Zoloft… And I’ve tried that, too. It help a little but I was a ZOMBIE! Thanks!

Dee Dee

Dee Dee,

Topamax is an antiepileptic medication, used for treating epilepsy, seizure disorder and migraine disorder, neuropathic pain and bipolar disorder. Doctor’s, usually neurologists, may prescribe the medication for other off label reasons. I do know at one point it was used for its weight-loss properties (it can zap your appetite and make food and drink, particularly carbonated sodas, taste bad). But the side effects didn’t make up for the pounds lost. What’s 5-10 lbs. when everything tastes stale, your feet and hands tingle, and you get a kidney stone?

I’ve read of anticonvulsants being prescribed to treat chronic pelvic conditions such as interstitial cystitis and vulvodynia; or conditions aggrivating from the pudendal nerve.

Again, though, anticonvulsants have heavy side effects. Some anticonvulsants even have Black Box warnings. Do your research and discuss medications with your doctor.

Ask Endochick: Supporting a Spouse With Endometriosis

Steve asked: How can I best support my spouse who has endometriosis?

First, let me thank you, Steve, for an excellent question; and secondly, for being so patient with me. Steve is a regular reader. He e-mailed me with this question, and it’s sat  my in box collecting virtual dust since. Steve, it’s been my hectic schedule keeping this post at bay, not your question.

I asked if any readers could lend some advice.. So before I get to my answer, Margaret has this to share (Thanks!!):

 Steve could get a copy of Dr Andrew Cook’s book : Stop Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain, what every woman and her Doctor need to know …. It has much information on supporting a patient with Endo. Even some comments from our patient’s spouses.

Now, to  the heart of the matter…

1) The #1 thing  you can do for your spouse/significant other who has endometriosis is just be there. Stand by her side through every cramp and mood  swing and hormonal treatment. Don’t trade her in for an unbroken, slightly newer model once the going gets tough; she’s not a used car.If she can’t have children,  you as a couple can’t have children. Don’t ever blame her for biological war that’s being waged inside her body; believe me, we get drafted into a battle zone.

After running this blog since 2006 and interviewing women whose lives have been devastated  by this disease, there are two groups. One  group has supporting partners, the other doesn’t. I have received e-mails and comments, and conducted one-on-one interviews in which women have related how their significant others have left them for a “healthy” girl, or broke up in the pre-op suite(!), or got another woman pregnant and placed the blame on his wife’s endometriosis… and it can go on.

I don’t hear those stories from supportive, present significant others. Instead, women are not afraid to share their symptoms, their pain tolerance, reactions/medication side effects and feelings. For those with chronic conditions,  communication in  relationship is important; but for women with endometriosis, and the significant others who  love and care for them, it is vital.

2) Familiarize yourself with The Joint Commission’s “Speak Up!”™ steps for patient safety and empowerment. Then have your loved one read them. See my post on this subject: “Speak Up!”™https://endochick.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/speak-up/

3) Encourage your significant other to do for her self. Yes, there will be certain times of the month, or after surgery – or even if she’s reacting badly to a medication, when she’ll need to lean on you. But too much of a good thing here can breed resentment. Again, be honest about your feelings and have an open dialogue – even if the situation cannot be changed. And never assume because she relies on you, perhaps more than you normal, that her pain is not. Perhaps a visit to a better doctor is in order because her pain or symptoms may not be adequately controlled.

4) Take care of yourself. Take some time each day for you. Feed your body nutritious food. And keep your stress down. Watch for signs of depression and ill health, and do not ignore them.