Emotional stress gave me chronic bladder pain

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Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/10/2017 10:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, new here.
In March 2015, I went through a divorce. The usual issues: grief at the death of a 12+ yr relationship, shame at failing at marriage, anger/resentment over things that went wrong. More trauma involved with moving out of my house and into a condo alone where I felt extremely sorry for myself, and uncomfortable. I just stayed in the condo for 1 yr, but I can't even look at the building when I drive by.

But I didn't really deal with all of those emotions because I work an insane job with insane hours so I further poured myself into work as a welcome distraction. I lost 15lbs without trying which is alot for my frame.

I also began a new relationship in May 2015. Even though this relationship is the best thing that ever happened to me (and I am still happily with this person today), it gave me another reason to push down the feelings related to my separation which I listed above. My current bf was always willing to talk about it with me and was beyond supportive, but I didn't want to burden him with sad sniffles about another man.

At the end of May 2015, one morning I suddenly woke up with intense bladder pain. I ran to the clinic thinking it was a UTI (of which I've had like 2 in my life), but the drugs didn't help. After a week, the pain disappeared on its own. Then it came back. And got worse. And stayed. And that kicked off an absurd year of every medical test you can imagine, and multiple specialists trying to diagnose this bladder pain, even though everything turned up negative (ultrasounds, gyno exams, cystoscopies, etc). I got an MRI that told me I had adenomyosis, a uterine condition, and we assumed that was the culprit so I had a radical hysterectomy in December 2016. I was off work for 6 wks and the pain was gone. CURED! Until 4 days before I had to go back to work and the pain returned.

All I could find in my online research about mysterious "bladder pain" was interstitial cystitis. Except I don't have half the symptoms. I have chronic bladder inflammation and PAIN. My bladder functions and holds urine just fine. I'm skinny so I have a swollen "gut" right above my pubic bone and it hurts. I started IC drugs anyway. I tried the IC diet. The IC diet definitely helps for bladder pain because it's low-acid. The drugs take months to start working and reak havoc on your GI tract.

I went from extremely healthy, marathon running, never been sick, never been in the hospital, never had a "condition" to chronically in pain, depressed, unnecessary organ removal. It's pretty much unimaginable.

I sought out a Naturopath because I was at my wit's end with the western medical community. Brutal wait times, uncaring doctors, just made everything worse. My first appointment with the Naturopath lasted 90 minutes. We talked about the medical saga of the last year, but she was more interested in events BEFORE I first experienced pain. At the end of the appointment, she said she was fairly certain this pain is self-caused. My body is manifesting physical symptoms due to emotional pain that hasn't been addressed.

I started a regimen of anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants, acupuncture, and some homepathic drops as of March 2017. I took a vacation 2 weeks ago where I turned off the Blackberry, and on the 5th day on the beach, for a period of 3 hours, the pain turned off like a switch. Like it had never been there, my stomach flat as a board like it used to be. For the first time since I was recovering from surgery.

The pain is back now, but the fact that it turned off on a dime leads me to believe that the Naturopath is on to something here. My mind is blown. I mean yes, I feel the emotional pain of what happened in spring of 2015 - I don't talk about it because I instantly want to cry. And I still work the same ridiculous job, so high levels of stress are part of my daily life. But I had NO idea my body could actually hate me this much. It is literally inflaming an organ on a continual basis. I can't figure out how this is possible. And how long it's going to take me to get rid of it. I try to say "Hi nice bladder, I love you now please stop swelling and hurting me." But when it doesn't listen to me, I want to scream at it!! STOP DOING THIS TO ME.

Anyway, thank you for anyone who got to the bottom of this story. I'm on here because although I see stuff online about emotional stress causing physical pain, there isn't anything specific about the bladder - guess it's just my own personal way for my body to tell me I don't treat it properly. Wasn't sure if anyone else had ever experienced something like this. I feel alone and wallowing around in self-pity because this doesn't seem to happen to anyone else.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 706
   Posted 4/10/2017 3:09 PM (GMT -7)   
You had me riveted to your posting and written narrative. Your writing is succinct and quite moving and powerful.

And I have to agree that you and your Naturopathic physician are on solid footing in expanding the possibilities of your physical bladder pain and distress to the mind-body connection.

Taking into consideration the mind-body connection does NOT delegitimize yourl bladder pain. Your bladder pain is very much real in its intensity and effects. But the mind-body connection does open discussion and legitimacy of how one's emotional and psychologic state influences and comes to bear on one's physical state of being.

Stress, especially ongoing stress, raising the serum blood level of cortisol - a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol affects inflammatory processes. Epinephrine and norepinephrine levels are raised when a person is under constant stress. Epinephrine and norepinephrine receptors are embedded in the wall of the intestines and bladder - causing irritable bowel syndrome and bladder stress incontinence, among other. Constant co-contraction of the smooth muscle of the bladder and/or muscles of the pelvic floor = pain.

For myself, I have come to find value in a co-mingling of traditional, clinical "western" medicine and alternative, eastern/Chinese medicine. I hope the same is true for you.

Thank You for sharing your story. It reinforces, again, how we need to continue to explore clinical approaches and to keep turning over every rock when we have a health condition that is not easily identified by traditional means.
- Karen -
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)
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