1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Our TMS drop-in chat is tomorrow (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern (now US Daylight Time) . It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support, with Enrique as your host. Look for the red Chat flag on top of the menu bar!

Hormonally-correlated pain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by fern, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. fern

    fern Well known member

    It's been a while! I hope everyone had a happy new year.

    Here's a quick physical vs. psychological question, mostly for the ladies. There is a clear-as-a-bell correlation between my IBS/dyspepsia and where I am in my menstrual cycle. My gut is generally unhappy during the first half and generally quiet and happy during the second half.

    Those of you whose TMS issues correlate clearly with your menstrual cycle and/or other hormonal shifts, how do you continue to think psychological? It's not SO hard to think psychological about it, because hormones are pretty mysterious already. I think of them almost like light with its particle and wave properties. It seems like hormones are part body and part mind, and they are slippery buggers that don't like to be observed in action. But there is a temptation to start researching the effects of hormones on gut health, which I've done fruitlessly before (along with asking my doctor). I generally get, "Yeah, hormones can definitely have an effect, but we don't know exactly why, or why some people are bothered by it and others aren't." So I know it's useless to go there.

    I am seeing glimmers of evidence/hope that thinking psychological is changing my relationship to what's happening in my gut, so I want to stick with it. The hormone connection presents a bit of a hiccup, so thoughts from those of you who have also identified that connection would be helpful for me!
    Ewok2 and Lily Rose like this.
  2. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    I haven't experienced what you describe here, but I really like this <<I think of them almost like light with its particle and wave properties >> Me thinks you get it more than ye give thyself kredit fur.

    I recently did an interview with an endometriosis group, which I also have not experienced consciously, and the host of the show had healed herself from debilitating endo by recognizing it as a complete mindbody effect and not a physical cause. She saw truth and healed, but of course those who couldn't see it condemned her and continue to suffer. I would caution you to not think of it as part body and part mind or particle and wave as you insightfully described it but wholly as energy, conscious in and of itself. Think of it in a deeper sense, ie, your unconscious has a desire to be filled (love). Therein lies your answer, not from thinking or correlations or hormones. These things are dependent upon perceptions only. For example, what would the little girl in you do to get love when she feels totally helpless? What tools would she have to fill her deepest needs when she doesn't fully understand? Think like she would and not like you are. Placing blame on the body allows us to escape the appearance of neediness which only angers us further because we all have great needs. Good luck fern,
    Ewok2 likes this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Fern,

    I had many TMS symptoms that seemed to be effected by changes in hormonal levels during my monthly menstrual cycle. I eventually had a hysterectomy, which only caused my TMS symptoms to shift to something else. After learning about TMS, I came to look at it this way. There are physical changes in the body from changes in hormones, but it is our reaction to these changes that cause TMS, not the changes themselves. I think many factors in the TMS personality are at work here--our tendency to catastrophize change in the body, as well as our underlying emotions and thoughts about what these hormonal changes signify. This can involve how we feel at a deep level about being female and able to bear children, as well as our relationships with men, etc. I did a lot of journaling on these topics, which helped me immensely. Lastly, I think the concept of conditioning is at play and needs to be addressed--we have associated these hormonal changes with our TMS symptoms, and so they have become tied together in our mind. There is a correlation, but it does not imply causation.

    Hope these thoughts are helpful. Best wishes to you.....
    Chiara, Ewok2, MindBodyPT and 3 others like this.
  4. gypsysoul

    gypsysoul New Member

    I am so glad to see this post and wish Steve O or Dr Sarno had personally experienced PMS to get their take on it (actually i don’t wish PMS on anyone :). I have been a TMS ‘r for as long as i can remember. I’ve gotten over panic attacks, urinary troubles, headaches and back spasms several times. Ok so lately (past 6 months) my period symptoms have intensified and i am getting major flares of back pain prior to my period starting. I started thinking i had injured myself and then looked at the calendar and every time one of these “injuries” happen it’s 2 days before i start my period. This can’t be coincidence. I’m also thinking that i am truthfully having pain (lower back, hips, upper thighs) that’s related to prostaglandins and hormones but then my TMS mind jumps to “oh God I’m going to be incapacitated with back pain and a useless mom for the rest of my life.” Yesterday during kickboxing i felt my glute and hip tense up and i tried to continue but the pain got too bad. We did a few errands and during the errands i didn’t feel anything and then felt the pain again later in the afternoon. The pain has come and gone all day and i feel so tight and stiff from holding myself so tight so as not to have a huge spasm (which I’m terrified of.) after writing all this, I’m starting to answer my own question. Steve O, in any of your research have you found that hormones legitimately cause back pain in women during their menstruated cycle? I need some reassurance:)
  5. fern

    fern Well known member

    Thanks for your responses Steve and Ellen, and it's great to hear others share questions like mine on here, gypsysoul! Our shared searching will surely help us find more answers than we could have alone!

    Steve, I love your suggestion that I think of hormones and my body/mind's response to them as pure energy. It fits really well with other things I've been working on, so it will be easy to incorporate that kind of thinking to hormones. Thanks for calling my mind in that direction!

    Ellen and gypsysoul, both of your responses reminded me of a book I read years ago that has stayed with me. It's called, appropriately, "It's Your Hormones," and it's written by an endocrinologist who believes that, while there are plenty of women who simply have hormone imbalances, there are a lot of other women who have high sensitivity to normal levels of hormones and normal hormonal shifts. For those women, the tests and levels all come back fine, but their experience of their hormones is obviously not fine. It's not hard to imagine that those of us experiencing TMS could be sensitive to our own normal hormone shifts. I don't know about you, but I'm sensitive to everything I see, feel, hear, smell, taste...and to my emotional experiences, worries, thoughts, interpersonal interactions...of course I'm sensitive to the subtle changes that happen in my body with hormonal shifts. The author discusses a lot of medical/pharmaceutical solutions, but he also spends time discussing meditation, spirituality, stress, etc. He says something similar to what we talk about in TMS recovery - there's nothing WRONG with your body, but your pain/discomfort is real. I would love to hear how he responds to the language and practices of TMS recovery.

    gypsysoul, hormones are responsible for so much in the body and are dispersed so thoroughly that I imagine they can be associated with just about anything - back pain, joint pain, inflammation, etc. I even find that I'm more susceptible to colds just before my period, and even if I'm not sick, I'll often have an itchy throat for a couple days! As JanATheCPA loves to remind us, there are as many random "triggers" and associations in TMS as there are sufferers. So, gypsysoul, I think the question for this group is probably not whether anyone here has heard of back pain being associated with hormones. If yours is associated with hormonal shifts, then it's associated with hormonal shifts. But like Ellen reminded us, that doesn't mean it's *caused* by hormones. (Obviously ask your doctor if this is a concern for you, because one of the prerequisites for TMS healing is having structural damage ruled out by a doctor.) Maybe the question for you is similar to mine - assuming you are healthy, WHY is your back pain associated with these shifts? What is happening in your bodymind that connects these two things?

    I appreciate these helpful questions to ask my subconscious. Working on not being afraid of the pain is only half of the battle for me. Journaling is a huge help and I'm grateful for what I'm uncovering there. So the directions for reflection that Steve and Ellen offered will be a help to me. Especially since one thing my little girl self heard a lot were messages of being afraid of my sexuality because my mom got pregnant with me as a teenager and didn't want me to make the same mistake. So that's a double-whammy of negative messaging to my child self there. These are all things I've reflected on before, but not since I discovered TMS and expressive writing. It's time to bust out the notebook again!

    Thanks for the replies so far! I'm interested in this topic and I hope the discussion continues!
  6. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi fern,

    Interesting topic and also a subject dat has my attension too for a long time now. Recently spoke with someone here about the whole hormons vs Tms issues. Its not that easy i think. Tms is real but so are PMS , pregnantcy issues and the menopause ! The have their own problems. I can agree on the fact that it has an huge effect on the nervous system too and there the big overlap with tms. Personally i feel that tms personality is sensitive like you said too for everything so in that way hormons could have a huge impact too then
  7. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    I was reading this thread and thinking back to a course I took in college, Hormones and the Brain. I recall there being receptors on many neurons in the brain for various types of hormones (estrogen and also others) and learning about their effects on mood and lots of other brain functions. I think this "structural" explanation really fits in well with what was mentioned above...obviously hormone changes do affect people, but not always in the same way from person to person! Hormones might set the stage a bit in the brain, especially at times of major change (pregnancy, PMS, menopause) but they alone aren't responsible for your symptoms. The mind/brain is a terribly complex entity and hormones certainly have some influence but aren't solely responsible for back pain or other things. It's similar to the idea that depression isn't "just" a chemical imbalance...certainly there are more or less of various neurotransmitters when one is depressed but this change alone didn't cause the depression. There is more at work there relating to personality, past experience/trauma and resultant emotions.
    Ellen likes this.
  8. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    this is a tough one. for instance, most women with interstitial cystitis ( which many believe to be TMS) will report that their pain gets worse right before their period. You could argue that this is a conditioned response. However, i dont pay much attention to my cycle becuase it's not like clockwork. My IC is mostly in remission, but a day or two before my period, i'll notice some urethral burning, and usually that prompts me to look at a calendar, count the days, and say "oh yeah, i guess i AM close to getting my period". So it's not like i'm obsessivly counting down they days and just waiting for a flareup. I did read that there are estrogen receptors in the bladder and that was the reason that women with IC flare up. So i think in this case, if the brain is making the bladder more sensitive, then the horomones are just adding to that sensitivity. Sort of like provoking the sensitivity that's already there, if that makes sense.

    i had read that when it comes to Endo, the've opened up cadavers and found traces of endometriosis in people who never compained of pain, sort of like bulging discs in people who never had pain. I think it goes to show that you can have these conditions, but your brain dictates whether it's going to be painful or not, and the horomones aggravate the the existing sensitivity.
  9. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    I'm starting to realize that I don't get headaches because my hormones are changing. I'm getting a headache because my hormones make me either hyper and I do too much or too tired and I want to lay in bed all day and can't. They make me feel fat and gross and all of that makes my unconscious angry. Not to mention the physical part of the actual back pain, cramps or the gross bloody part. It's all just a pain in the ass to go through and it's unfair and that is enraging.
    It's an opportunity to observe how your tms wants to manifest. It's like it sends the bratty toddler in your unconscious into hyperdrive. It's very interesting how it plays off of one another.
    Lizzy and Ellen like this.
  10. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    As a male who’s body decided to shut down hormonally I’ve got a lot of experience with hormones at various levels. I have to inject testosterone and have experimented with the protocol I use. Most doctors know next to nothing about hormones. Even endocrinologists are not up to date typically.

    I found that when my testosterone and estrogen were both extremely low is was rocket fuel on a fire to my anxiety and depression. Adding testosterone only helped those symptoms once estrogen was raised to be in balance. Mood and anxiety were improved dramatically. If estrogen goes too high I become extremely agitated and ready to fight someone at the drop of a hat.

    Anyway, for me hormones aren’t causing physical symptoms to make me wonder if it’s TMS or not. Just hasn’t been my experience. I do wonder if the intense anxiety is what shut down my hormone production though.

    My TMS is mostly RSI symptoms in my hands. Fixing my hormones made maybe a 10% difference in those issues. I think it’s safe to say that one could react with fear to hormones being out of whack and end up with tms symptoms though.
    stevow7 likes this.
  11. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    It makes sense that if we are often more sensitive to noise or medications etc., when the nervous system is amped up, we’d be more sensitive to hormonal changes too. It’s driving me mad at the moment as I have been getting flares for a week, exactly 28 days apart and now I fear the calendar because as he pain has a ‘cycle’ and my pain is pelvic it must be ‘real’. I like the analogy of hormones as energy since that’s really all we really are.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  12. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    @Steve Ozanich (and anyone else who can shed light on this, maybe @Ellen ?) I don’t doubt at all that endometriosis is a mindybody effect/cause, but does it necessarily follow that just because it is, it can also be cured by the Mindbody too? Or do some diseases like this, that cause significant pathological changes (lesions, nodules, destruction of tissue and organs, adhesions glueing organs together and out of place) need medical intervention to relieve pain and other symptoms? Can the pain be a structural/real reaction to a TMS cause?
    Ellen likes this.
  13. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great question! I don't know the answer. Perhaps one of the TMS doctors would answer this if posted in the Ask a TMS Therapist section. Makes sense to me that something could be psychogenic, but cause structural changes in the body that requires medical intervention to remedy.
    Ewok2 likes this.
  14. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    I'm 61 and went into menopause 7 years ago (age 54). I kept blaming little symptoms I had starting at 55-56 on being menopause symptoms. Then chronic pain hit me at age 57, so it wasn't just menopausal symptoms after all and hormonal fluctuations probably had little to do with my symptoms. I think hormones and mindbody symptoms can be very similar though, but I'm not a purist when it comes to thinking symptoms are only either tms or physical but not both.

    When I was in your stage in life, I found my mood/ irritation levels were influenced by my cycle, I got head aches, and although I didn't get ibs, my bm was different during my period. I found that exercising regularly really helped take away any fluctuations of anything. I'm talking aerobic exercise.
    Ewok2 likes this.
  15. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    So i know we like to consider every medical blip on this site to be TMS but something very interesting happened to me. I have IC that is considered to be in remission, but i always have a little uptick (urethral sensitivity) before my period, and that's how i know it's coming. I never look at the calendar because my cycle isnt ever exact. it's always a few days irregular, but when i feel that urethral burning, i always know i'm about 1-2 days away. Most women with IC have symptoms that worsen before their periods because they have estrogen receptors in the bladder.

    Well anyway, last November, after years of remission, my disease "woke up" for a bit. I was in severe pain. I have a few theories as to why it woke up, (my pudendal pain was flaring badly too, causing much stress, i was also taking prednisone which mimics a stress horomone in the body). The IC raged for about two weeks, and i was absolutely BESIDE MYSELF, despite knowing that pelvic pain is very much tied to TMS and that i should really try to calm down. Well, my period came, and i woke up the next day, and the bladder pain was gone. All that pain....only to have the bladder just stop. It was almost like my horomones re-set the bladder and body. I've had my period do similar things with my pudendal pain too. I do think horomones can do more to our bodies than we give them credit for.
    Ewok2 likes this.
  16. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    So one thing i read about endo is that there have been cadavers that have been cut open and shown to have endo, but never complained of pain. However, some women with endo have very severe pain and limited quality of life. I think it's much like arthritis where it can take on a TMS path and become highly sensitized. I dont fault some people for having their Endo abalated because of the inflammation and damage it can cause. I think it depends on the severity.
    Ewok2 likes this.
  17. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    Yes, often when a woman has her tubes tied or some other procedure they find endo. It is a strange disease in that small amounts can cause huge pain and large amounts none, seems to be dependent on location... but it starts to sound a lot like herniated disks, doesn’t it? Especially when’s you consider that most people don’t be get better from endo but those who do, got better from no one consistent treatment. For some it was survey, others supplements, others raw diet, others dairy free, others exercise and so on. But the cures are often temporary.

    Thing is, we’re talking about actual lesions and nodules and damage being done to pelvic organs, bleeding etc. so is this ‘repairable’ by TMS healing or does it not really cause pain?
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  18. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    I think it's very similar to the disease interstitial cystitis. IC is considered to be TMS, and my version of IC is most definitely TMS becuase it comes and goes. However, we cant ignore the fact that a portion of IC patients have what are called Hunner's Ulcers which are very painful and distructive to bladder tissue. Some bladders with IC become so scarred and destroyed that they need to be removed.

    but you know what else is interesting? There was trial called the Lidaris (sp?) Pretzel where this pretzel shaped object that secreted small amounts of lidocaine over the span of 2 weeks, was inserted and left in the bladders of people in flareups. Some of these people had active hunner's ulcers. At the end of 2 weeks, the pretzel was removed. Most people had very significant improvement, and even more surprising, the ulcers cleared up. How could an ulcer clear up from just lidocaine alone? It's simply an anesthetic. Another study i read, and forgive me, i'm not remembering the details well, but they induced chemical IC in bladders of rats, which caused visible red inflammation, then attached a stimulator to the tails, mimicking an interstim, so that basically the rats could not feel the pain. The inflammation cleared up in that case too.

    There seems to be a link between "feeling" pain, and a resulting inflammation. For instance, in IC, they often find lots of mast cells (a type of immune cell) in the bladder, but they havent been able to classify IC as a classic autoimmune disorder. If it's TMS, why would there be something similar to an auto immune reaction? Look at RSD for instance, there is redness and inflammation in the affected areas too, but even that is considered TMS.

    I'm no doctor, but it seems that when nerves are "feeling" something very strongly, they release chemicals, (which they do, substance P, and others i'm sure, i just dont know the exact chain reaction) and these chemicals sometimes tip off the immune system into believing there's a problem. Immune cells rush to the painful area and produce inflammation. Just like the brain is sending pain signals to an area it believes is in danger.

    With Endo, i could see it having the potential to cause major inflammation. Also if you know anything about Central Sensitization, which is the more traditional term for what we know of as TMS, the brain is simply turning up the dial on sensation and pain to an area it believes is a threat.
    Ewok2 likes this.
  19. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    That’s fascinating! The inflammation can be a result, not a cause? Isn’t inflammation an attempt by the body to heal? So it ‘feels’ pain, believes something must be ‘damaged’ and tries to ‘fix’ it with inflammation!??
  20. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    that's the only way i can see it. I think they used to assume it was the other way around (which is a very common assumption) however, in IC, using steroids like prednisone rarely helps the disease. you'd think it would, except in most cases it doesnt. In some cases, antihistamines help control the mast cell issue, but IC is a disease that needs multimodal treatment, and mast cell inflammation is only one component. They seem to be getting new research that the "nerve" part happens first. the nerves get excited, causing a cascade of other issues. Either IC is TMS every time, or, IC is TMS most of the time, and there is a subset of IC that is autoimmune. However, then there's that study above with the lidocaine pretzel.
    Ewok2 likes this.

Share This Page