Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Night of the Phantom Uterus

Okay, fellow hysterectomy-undergoers: What is the deal with the pain that feels EXACTLY like uterine cramps? It's very real pain, and nothing makes it better. And it's freaking me out not a little.

I know that people who lose limbs will have "phantom limb" pain for ages afterward, and I'm wondering, can you have "phantom organs?" I mean, it hurt for so many it out of the question that this is all in my head, psychosomatic? I'd rather think that than to think something is ACTUALLY still wrong in there.

Remember, moms, how even after you were pregnant, for a long while afterward, you would still "feel the baby moving" inside you? If we can fake ourselves out like that, after only 9 months, can't my body/brain be faking me out now, after 20 years of this cramping? Because it feels EXACTLY THE SAME as those nightmare menstrual cramps. Except that Motrin isn't helping, nor is any other pain medication.

So what is up, and what do I DO about it? Help? It's keeping me awake all night, and miserable all day.


  1. Geez B. You just can't catch a break, can you? I'm sorry you're going through this! It was all supposed to stop, dang it!

  2. Oh no! I've never heard of it, but it makes sense to me. Maybe acupuncture could help? I've heard that it can do wonders for phantom pain from amputations. I feel so bad for you - you've had a lot of rain lately. I hope it clears up soon! Have a great Thanksgiving.

  3. Um, I can't answer your question too terribly authoritatively.

    But I came by to wish you, beautiful Bella and Alex a happy Thanksgiving.

  4. I will ask Mrs. Fab. She hasn't had one, but she is the practice manager for a large OBGYN practice and I am sure she has heard about this...

  5. Please bear in mind that I am only in the administrative side of the practice and have no medical experience at all...

    That being said, many of my friends and tons of our patients have had hysterectomies and it often does not eliminate all the pain. One of our doctors often says that if the pain is coming from below the belly-button it is often a process of elimination to find the true culprit. It could be uterine, ovarian, or it could be digestive like bowels or intestines, or it could be muscular, or spinal...

    Bottom line be sure to tell your doctor and make note of any thing that you can narrow down. Include time of day, date in your former menstrual cycle, any bowel symptoms, anything that makes it better or worse, including movement, lying down, eating, not eating, etc.

    How long ago you had the surgery is also relevant and whether you also had your ovaries removed at the same.

    Bottom line, call your doctor and make sure to follow up because any kind of pain like your describing should be addressed.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  6. I'm not a doctor or nothin', but couldn't everything still be settling back into place?

  7. Oh my god, I was JUST going to post about this. For the past couple of months I've been having every symptom of ovulation, but no period (thank goodness, as my count has been over a year and I'm OFFICIALLY in menopause!). Last night I couldn't sleep because I had such bad ovulation cramps. Mettleschmirtz. And it was proceeded by the stretchy mucus and everything. What gives? I'm completely flummoxed.

  8. When you do go to the doctor to have this checked out, and you know you should, ask if it might be adhesions from the surgery and even if an x-ray could be done to check that no clips or other medical material could have been left behind.

    I had my hysterectomy at 23. By the time I was 28, I had terrible pains. I had adhesions (scar tissue) that fused badly and was causing a stricture of tissue.

    So, if you're worried, get it checked out. No point in taking chances.

    Love your blog btw.

  9. I had a very, very knowledgeable person (OK she's a massage therapist, but a massage therapist extraordinaire who got rid of pain that many doctors had failed to even find the source of) explain to me once that if you have had pain in a certain area for a long time, even after the primary source of the pain is gone, your body has learned to respond to stress by sending pain signals to that particular place, so it will continue to do so -- something to do with nerve pathways. So it could maybe be that, although it sounds like there are plenty of more traditional medical explanations as well. I hope you figure it out and feel better.

  10. Belinda, kiddo, SLOW DOWN! I know you've got so much stuff to do for the Big Day, but you're just post major surgery and it's GOING to hurt if you over-do. This from someone who decided to have her hyst about two weeks before moving to another State. *S*

    Talk to the doc, take it easy and I agree with the poster about stress causing pain even if you haven't actually strained yourself (which I'm sure you have). It took me almost six months before I started feeling "normal", but I was older and had issues not related to the surgery but to post-op stress.

    Oh, and congrats on the puppers - oops and all, I bet they're worth the fuss because nothing's better than poodle babies IMNSHO! *S* (((HUGS))

  11. I am three weeks post hysterectomy and baffled by period type cramps and lack of documentation re same. My sister asked a chiropractor who said it was nerve involement so am going next week for a session. The hot pack has come back each day and been my best friend thank goodness others have experienced this too. i will ask my gynae if any research has been done at my 6 week check cathy

  12. Cathy, the good news is that now, as of 7 months later, that particular symptom has gone away. So just hang in there with all the weirdness. It's no fun, but it has gotten steadily better. Sorry you had to do it, too. :-(

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