After the birth of my son in 2008, I started to experience severe abdominal pain. When the pain got to the point that I couldn’t stand up and I couldn’t care for my children, my husband took me to the emergency room.
Upon the initial exam, the doctor thought that I had appendicitis. My white blood cell count was abnormal and I was running a high fever. My doctor decided to do some imaging tests on me to determine what the problem was. After a few hours of tests, including a dye-contrast CT scan, the doctor came back and told me that my appendix was inflamed and that I was being admitted to the hospital for monitoring.
For two days, I was on intravenous fluids and wasn’t able to eat as a precaution just in case I needed surgery. The doctors kept a close eye on me and I had blood work on a regular basis. I was also on high dose antibiotics. Finally, on the third day of my stay at the hospital, an intern came in and decided that I needed an abdominal ultrasound.
Shortly after the ultrasound, the intern came into my room and told me that I had a large ovarian cyst. That is what was causing my pain. After this discovery, the medical team decided to keep me one more night to do more tests to decide if my cyst was severe enough to warrant surgery. Ultimately, they decided that I didn’t need surgery and they discharged me with orders to go back to the doctor two weeks later for a follow up.
Since that episode that sent me to the hospital, I have suffered from severe abdominal pain between two and three months after I have a baby-unless I am pregnant again right way-and a few other times in between pregnancies. Throughout the journey with ovarian cysts, I have learned a couple of coping mechanisms to help me deal with the pain because pain relieving medications don’t work for this pain.
Warm Baths with Epsom Salt
I take a warm, not hot, bath with Epsom salt in the water. This helps to minimize the pain. I am not sure exactly how this helps, but it does. I usually soak in the tub for 30 minutes laying on my stomach. This is a little uncomfortable for my neck since I have to keep my face above the water, so I place a rolled up towel on the back of the tub and rest my forehead on the towel so my face is above the water.
Sure, it hurts to move when I am having one of these episodes. However, I can usually get some relief if I sit on an exercise ball and rock side to side or front to back on the ball. I usually do this near the sofa so I can use the sofa to help me balance since I am in pain. Sometimes, bouncing gently on the ball helps to minimize the pain.
Controlling pain from an ovarian cyst isn’t easy, but if you are willing to try some unusual pain control methods, you may find one that works for you.