Madame Ovary

An update to the blog post from yesterday, if you’re interested. This has also been done as a Twitter thread. I actually think my experience shows very much that we still need to change so much in our approaches to women’s health.

I got a call last night from our Women’s Hospital. Turns out I have what is known as a tubo-ovarian abscess, affecting the right ovary. This abscess has been caused, most likely, by the copper coil I’ve had for about 5 years.

These infections can happen at any point following the insertion of an IUD. They are rare. But no one tells you about them. If I had been aware that this is a rare, but possible, risk, I might have approached seeking medical attention differently.

So this morning, I went to Emergency Gynaecology, where there is a clear plan in place to treat me. The staff I saw were *fabulous*, especially the nurse consultant who really, truly listened to me and who really looked after me. An absolute diamond.

At Emergency Gynaecology, wearing Popsy “Dorothy”, and Snags.

I told her the whole history. The sudden change in periods. Getting ill in April, and being fobbed off by a GP. The outcome of the scan in April, and being put on the pill. Then the gastro investigations, the endoscopies, the CT scan, and then to the Women’s.

Most likely, me getting ill in April was connected to the abscess. It’s also possible (will explore this) that the sudden change in periods could be related. The abscess appears to be tilting my uterus – it’s never been tilted before, but today it caused issues.

I’ve had bloods taken. I’ve had the coil removed, and that will be sent away to check that the antibiotics I’m on will kill the infection. I will be on antibiotics for 3 weeks. In 4 weeks, I go back for a scan.

This will not be sorted quickly, but it will be sorted. I could be back and forth from the hospital for 6 months, possibly.

The pain I’ve had, more or less every day, since April, will be because of this abscess. Which could have ruptured and caused sepsis.

A tubo-ovarian abscess is a life threatening infection. I’m very lucky that I’ve not been ill with it. I could have been seriously unwell. At the moment, the abscess is contained, and the antibiotics will have to break through a thick layer to get to the infection itself.

That’s why I’m on them for 3 weeks. If I was unwell, I’d have had intravenous antibiotics today.

Once again, too often women are dismissed with gynae issues, or we treat it like “one of those things”, because actually, society doesn’t really care.

We talk about “wimmin’s problems”, and chuckle about our hot flushes and the menopause. We’ve got to stop this. We’ve got to change it. I think we’ve improved, a little, but my god, we’ve got a way to go.

As for me and Madame Ovary, I feel happier because I have a plan, I’ve been listened to and looked after, and I’m under the care of a doctor whose specialism is tubo-ovarian abscesses.

I did the thread yesterday because it was important. We need to change.

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