Six frightening yet common medical conditions middle age women don’t tell women approaching middle age about…

I cannot believe no one ever told me about these until a few of them happened to me and I asked.

Uterine, bladder, intestine or bowel prolapse– Apparantly a very common condition but if you have no idea what is happening it is terrifying. A prolapsed happens when the uterus, bladder, intestine or bowel has moved from its normal position in the abdominal cavity into a different position, usually a lower position. Prolapse may occur because of underlying weak muscles or simply as a result of repeated term pregnancies. It can cause pelvic pain. A prolapsed uterus can be treated by inserting a stabilizing device into the vagina called a pessary. Sometimes surgery is required.

Prolapsed uterus

Reflux– Another extremely common condition that I have heard of but had no idea it could cause a sore throat actually feeling like you are gargling with glass. The return of stomach contents can back up into the esophagus. This frequently causes heartburn because of irritation of the esophagus by stomach acid. 80% of patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease also have a hiatal hernia.

Reflux photo

Migraine, insomnia, night sweats– We have all heard about hot flashes occurring with menopause but did you know that the drop in hormones can cause severe migraines, chronic insomnia or waking up completely soaking wet and needing to change the sheets as well as your pj’s.

Bladder Incontinence– We are seeing commercials for this problem but when it actually happens to you it is frightening and embarrassing. Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to a toilet in time.

Intestinal blockage– This condition can be extremely dangerous. Intestinal obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of the bowel. The contents of the intestine cannot pass through it. There are numerous causes of this type of obstruction. Some are simple to treat and others, require major surgery.

Pelvic Congestion cramp photo

Pelvic Congestion– One third of all women have this painful condition.  Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is similar to varicose veins in the legs. In both cases, the valves in the veins that help return blood to the heart malfunction and don’t close properly allowing blood to flow backwards and pool in the veins causing bulging veins, pressure, pain and discomfort. In the pelvis, varicose veins can cause pain and may affect the uterus, ovaries and vulva.

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Shortly after New Year’s I woke up in the middle of the night with one of those leg cramps that goes all the way down to your toes. My toes were actually stuck and no matter what I did it hurt. It happened the next night and the night after that. I Googled leg cramps. The ‘simplest’ reason for cramping was dehydration, so I drank water. The leg cramps stopped but I started being woken up during the night with painful heartburn. The cramps came back and I developed a bulge in my pelvis, heaviness in my legs and several other unpleasant symptoms the worst of which was pain.  It is a non-stop throbbing ache. Four doctors, numerous tests and three days in the hospital left me with no diagnosis. The first five conditions above were ruled out. Pelvic Congestion Syndrome is difficult to diagnose and sadly some women suffer for years before it is detected. There is non- invasive treatment available but some cases require a hysterectomy. I am hoping the non-invasive treatment works for me.

Symptoms of Pelvic Congestion

Chronic pain that is dull and aching usually felt in the lower abdomen and lower back. The pain often increases during the following times:

  • Following intercourse
  • When tired or when standing (worse at end of day)
  • Other symptoms include Leg cramps
  • Irritable bladder
  • Irittable bowel
  • nausea
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Varicose veins on vulva, buttocks or thigh.

Thank you for reading,


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