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Is it wishful thinking to believe this is psychogenic?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Ewok, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    I was told by a doctor that it was wishful thinking to believe that my pain and other symptoms are psychogenic - that stress, depression and emotions might make my condition worse but he could guarantee me they are not the cause. My husband generally tries to be supportive of my attempt to heal myself, and my pain, with TMS techniques but I can tell he feels the same way and after more than two years of this, I feel I can not take much more and need a definitive course of action, one way or the other.

    I would like your honest option if you think I am deluding myself or if what I have could really just be TMS.

    Briefly, my symptoms are female pelvic pain (mainly vaginal pain, sometimes rectal, glute, hip, sciatica, back. I get 'period pain' that comes at the wrong time of month often accompanied by bleeding, like my period keeps starting and stopping. Hormone imbalance. This is more than just 'spotting'.). The pain is difficult but the bleeding is very upsetting because it's very difficult to tell yourself there is nothing wrong, that this is psychogenic - when you have such a physical, visible symptom that you have to take care of. My pain changes each week now (it didn't in the beginning) in line with my cycle/hormone changes. I don't know if this could be a conditioned response. The quality and location of the pain frequently changes but the one, original site of pain very rarely leaves despite what is happening elsewhere. Exercise, heat and massage improve my pain symptoms, as do emotional outpourings.

    I've had an extensive work up by several specialists including all sorts of tests, scans, MRIs, even minor surgery that failed to find a cause, although even doctor cautions me that 'sometimes things don't always show up'. After the exploratory surgery the doctor said, I kid you not, that the lining of my pelvic cavity looked "a little angry" (minor inflammation of unknown cause that didn't require any treatment).
    I've been diagnosed with:
    - Pelvic Floor Hypertension (but was told this could be a reaction to the problem not a cause)
    - Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (???)
    - Pudendal Neuralgia/Idiopathic nerve damage (was given nerve drugs but I seemed to be allergic to them - made me very ill)
    - Hormone Imbalance (which they believe causes then stop/start period but the hormones to correct it made it worse and I was intolerant to them. Even The Pill, which I'd easily tolerated in the past now cases severe side effects. Doctors do acknowledge that 'severe stress' can cause menstrual bleeding irregularities though.)
    - Suspected Endometriosis (even though the surgery and other tests cleared me of any sign of this - one doctor still insisted this could still be the cause because it is "...sometimes not identifiable during surgery especially by surgeons inexperienced in this area...". Because my bleeding in accompanied by pain this is a hard one to shake and I have all the imagery going on for this diagnosis thanks to all my Googling...)
    - Anxiety and Depression (actually had these before the pain but they are much worse now)
    - Medication oversensitivity (I'm also oversensitive to cold, noise etc. Ironically, the only medications I'm not oversensitive too are pain relievers, which don't work much at all.)

    I've been trying to apply Dr. Sarno's techniques for well over a year but have been getting worse. I had a few moments where the pain has disappeared just for a minute after a happy or emotional experience but it's so brief and hard to compare to the overall steady decline. I initially thought my pain could be TMS but the bleeding structural/hormonal (not TMS), so I was still seeing a lot of doctors during this time to deal with the latter issue but have stopped all treatments/doctors visits now as they have no idea what to do with me anyhow and I have lost most of my belief in them.

    I have read many TMS books but found the discrepancies between them damaging to my confidence. I now stick with Sarno and Ozanich. I tried courses with pelvic pain mindbody coaches but disliked the psychical comment to their healing techniques. The OBGYN mindbody doctors are seem a little 'one foot in each world' a heavier focus on diets, drugs and hysterectomies that I expected. I'm so frustrated that I can't find the path I'm meant to be on to get to health. Depression and desperation are beginning to get the best of me. No one knows I have this problem except my husband because I just push through the pain. My family knew in the beginning but they were so intrusive and pushy about what I should do that I just told them I was feeling better and eventually they stopped asking. They don't have many boundaries when it comes to privacy and it was humiliating have such a personal, embarrassing problem shared so widely.

    Dr. Sarno does allude to pelvic floor pain in MBP and also mentions "...gynaecological conditions that are the stuff of everyday life..." but more information is hard to come by and most other TMS authors avoid this issue, probably due to lack of experience. There are no TMS doctors in my country and I can't afford ongoing counselling.

    I am a very sensitive person, prone to worry, perfectionist, can be judgemental, like to be in charge, highly organised, rule follower, goodist, have much difficulty seeing others suffer, kind and caring to others but not myself. I am also prone to mild anxiety and depression. I can have difficulty making friends easily and as we have moved around a lot this has been challenging. When the pain began, it was a tense time in my household with many arguments with my husband, much sleep deprivation due to young children, ill relatives and other run of the mill stressors but I actually thought I had been making good progress in handling all of this when symptoms hit.

    Can this all really be mindbody? I know the mind can use the ANS to cause pain but can it go as far as to manipulate hormones, or cause bleeding via another mechanism? (I know Fred Amir mentions a nose bleed case as TMS?)

    Thank you for taking the tine to read.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  2. MicheleRenee

    MicheleRenee Peer Supporter

    the pain this time started with mild spotting between periods for me. that was what got me all worked up thinking it was cancer or something. every other time i thought it was an infection or a severely ingrown hair *swollen lymph node i see now*. thing is i never freaked out before and the symptoms either left quickly or after a couple weeks. the bleeding roped me in this time too. when mypain returned in dec it was accompanied by spotting *tricky brain* but since i have had no spotting.
    Ewok likes this.
  3. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    You mention you are highly sensitive to noise, cold, medications... Have you ever read The Highly Sensitive Person by Dr. Elaine Aron? She has a website hsperson.com. It wouldn't necessarily help with TMS but when I read it I was seeing myself on every page. I suspect that the sets of HSPs and TSM people intersect pretty thoroughly. Like you, pretty much the only drugs I can take that don't give me 'unheard of' side effects are OTC pain killers and they are pretty useless.

    I would say that, yes, hormones and bleeding could be affected by the mind. Stomach issues can certainly be affected by the mind and that is not necessarily hormonal but it involves stomach acids and stomach chemistry and so forth, so the organs that produce hormones are probably similar. No medical background here so I'm guessing.

    Also, most doctors have no training in mind body concepts, so telling you it is wishful thinking to believe that your symptoms have roots in TMS is unfair.

    In my case, I have had little satisfaction with the traditional medical establishment so I tend to discount whatever they say. ;)
  4. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You might want to take a look at what might be making your hormones topsy-turvy. Western medicine doctors are not trained or knowledgable about nutrition and the effects of environment. I would switch to Whole Foods that are chemical and preservative free, eliminate fake sweeteners and diet sodas. Do you eat a lot of meat? Is it free of hormones? Often regular meat is from livestock that gets hormone shots or eats feed laced with antibiotics.

    Hormone patches give you doses THROUGH your skin, so look at what else might be coming through your skin and affecting you hormonally.
    Do you use cleaners with chemicals? Do you use body lotions with chemicals? Do you drink from plastic or aluminum cans all day?
    You get my point.

    The pain is probably TMS, but hormonal issues for women are often environmental and what we are eating. Your body knows how to balance its hormones if it isn't bombarded by unnatural chemicals and food it can't recognize, such as aspartame.
    healingfromchronicpain and Ewok like this.
  5. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    Thank you for replying and for your advice. Environmental chemicals/hormone is certainly something Ive read a lot about over the last year and I find it a hugely confusing subject, not only due to the debate going on between 'experts' in these fields as to the danger, or lack there of concerning these products but also because if they are the cause of women's hormone imbalances, then why aren't all or most women affected similarly within communities where their intake of hormones/toxins would be similar?

    I don't think this is probably a cause for me as I've always eaten hormone free meats (at home anyhow) and I haven't used cleaning chemicals for years (I made my own with baking soda, vinegar etc.). We use glass storage containers, drink from glasses not plastic etc. About 6 months ago I detoxed my bathroom (make up, lotions etc.) and replaced with 'safer' options but I was always a minimalist in that area anyway and have noticed no improvements. I did have a little Diet Coke habit that I gave up a year ago...

    I have a feeling it might be a case of an oversensitive system is more sensitive to these undesirable hormones/toxins and a balanced one can deal with them?

    The whole foods diet is something I have been trying to implement too but I find it a challenge with young children and fussy eaters in the house and so much of what I prepare is rejecting by everyone in the family. But there is so many evidence about the dangers of sugar and refined flour etc. I think it's a really important thing to do.

    Honestly though, it feels like every time I go into the bathroom or the kitchen or the supermarket there is potential danger everywhere. Am I hurting my kids by feeding them this? Am I hurting myself by drinking that? Can I use sunscreen safely? Should I take vitamins? It's a minefield!
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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  6. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    We are all affected differently by chemicals, etc. Sounds to me like you've taken almost every precaution.
    I'm overly sensitive to prescription drugs. Even NyQuil can make me hyper and anxious.

    I think you're on track to letting it be TMS. I don't know what the original source of pain was, but that, too, can be TMS.

    You've had a LOT of diagnosis' to now erase from your mind and have been told that your thinking is delusional.
    It's not. You can get through this. Stay steady on course. Tell yourself: "I am safe. My body knows how to heal. I am 100% willing to believe this is psychological."

    All best wishes.
    healingfromchronicpain and Ewok like this.
  7. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    When you are experiencing TMS, your body becomes oversensitive to things, or more sensitive than it already is, so at this point in time it may be that no matter how careful you are you will still be adversely affected -- for now. I had a period where nearly everything I ate caused severe skin eruptions. It was embarrassing and disturbing. It seemed that the more I had outbreaks, the more sensitive I became and the more likely to overreact to even formerly benign foods. Then that went away and I started having a lot of muscle pain.

    My point is that it can take a long, long time (unfortunately) to get a handle on symptoms. I think changing your mindset, erasing diagnosis' and all that is the hardest thing of all.
    Ewok likes this.
  8. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    Be careful with hormone diagnoses. In my opinion and experience many doctors especially alt med types will diagnose issues where mainstream doctors would not. And they are not necessarily reliable. We cant diagnose you over the internet but all sorts of problems can be psychsomatic in origin, in general terms. Look at the list of symptoms by the folks at anxietycentre.com for instance, read david clarke,s book, look at stories here.
    Ewok likes this.
  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

  10. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    @Cricket313 Thank you for your replies. I have read The Highly Sensitive Person (actually read it before I had symptoms - well, before I had these major symptoms and then found out about TMS). I hate the way sensitive people are seen as having a defect rather than just appreciated as just being of a certain type of personality. It was a helpful read. And I think your analogy of stomach/bowel systems and all the chemical changes created by the body lends good support to the idea that menstrual problems can be psychogenic.

    I actually found this article. It's from the 1950s - but as Dr. Sarno explained, that's when mindbody medicine was close to being accepted, only to then be run out of town by lab work and MRIs. It is titled: Uterine Bleeding in Tension States.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0528.1952.tb04121.x/abstract (UTERINE BLEEDING IN TENSION STATES)

    Your story about food reactions going away is reassuring, thank you.

    @MWsunin12 Thank you for your reassurance. It is nice to have someone say that I'm not being delusional to think my symptoms are mindbody. May I ask you opinion on dairy foods as part of a whole foods diet? I read such contradictory reports about it, especially when it comes to hormones. Yet, as I mentioned I tend to think that if most women can tolerate it without problems, I should be able to as well... This is a tricky one as I really love dairy and I don't know if by avoiding it I am being sensible or TMSing/trying to 'treat' myself physically.

    @pspa Thanks for the reply. I think Clarke's books is the one where he talks about a woman with left ovary pain, who has that ovary removed. Then the pain shifts to the right side so the doctor removes her right ovary. Then she has central pain, so you guessed it - hysterectomy and the pain continued... Or that could by Scott Brady's book.... Yes, I went to an MD who practices as an 'Integrative medicine doctor' which here means somewhat alternative and less drugs/more looking for the root cause but she was very quick to push all sorts of hormones even when my tests showed only minor deviations from normal ranges. Then when that didn't work, she pushed hard for a Mirena insertion (which I had but then had removed pretty soon after as my gut just said it was dangerous and not the right method). I will check out anxietycentre, thanks for the tip.
  11. Vouthon

    Vouthon Peer Supporter


    I sympathise very much with your medical history.

    Despite the fact that I'm male, the nature of your symptoms and the diagnoses you have been given are very similar to me. I too have been told that I had "chronic pelvic pain syndrome" (after first being diagnosed with prostatitis) and then a private physiotherapist told me that I had pudendal neuralgia.

    My symptoms involve urogenital pain/burning, ejaculation/sexual pain and a sharp shooting pain - which I describe as a "jolt," like electricity - in my rectum. Unfortunately I can't be of much help to you in terms of the TMS, however, as I'm entirely new to this "theory".

    If I might ask: you mentioned that you've had depression and anxiety in the past. This was the same in my case as well. Were you perchance undergoing a very stressful or even traumatic time in your life directly before experiencing your pelvic pain for the first time? I certainly was and I don't think it can be purely coincidental either.
    Ewok likes this.
  12. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    FYI, depression and anxiety are TMS. They are affective (emotional) forms of it. I was once dx'ed with "clinical" depression during a very rough patch of my life. Once I understood that it was a form of TMS, I was able to quickly rid myself of it and resume normal functioning.

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  13. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi. Regarding dairy. I do tend to go for hormone-free dairy. I don't know if you have a Trader Joe's near you, but they only carry hormone-free dairy and it's very reasonably priced.

    I try to eat by asking this question: Are these ingredients something my body will recognize as food energy or not. For example aspartame is chemically produced and not found in nature. GMO foods have been scientifically modified in a way nature doesn't do. So, our bodies don't recognize antibiotics and hormones that are used on livestock.

    I'm also careful with drinking water. With so many people on anti-depressants or hormones or even pain killers, the water filtration system is behind the times. They can't pull those out of the water system yet, and it's been proven that they are showing up in water from the faucet. So you're better off drinking spring water when you can.

    wishing you well.
    Ewok likes this.
  14. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

  15. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the advice and sorry for my slow reply. Your mention of hormone-free dairy confused me at first. I had to look it up as when I think about hormones and dairy, I was thinking the hormone issue comes from the fact that the cows, being animals and in this case, breastfeeding (udder-feeding?!!) and often pregnant animals would mean that their milk contain many such associated hormones. I gather though you were referring to cows being given hormones to assist with growth, and milk production? It seems in our state we only allow hormones for the treatment of illness in cattle, so that's a relief. I also drink A2 milk, which is a protein that is from traditional jersey cows, meant to be much easier to digest. Who would think milk could be this confusing!
  16. Everly

    Everly Peer Supporter

    All your diagnosis are not actual clearly defined illnesses, but rather syndromes, just a name for things that are happening, so that is a great thing! About what your doctor said, just ignore him. I have been said awful things by doctors, like even though the blood work is perfect now, I most probably have something like cancer or autoimmune disease since I have these symptoms, just have to ''wait'' cause ''It's not showing up yet''. Other have said that I will have this forever and it is silly of me to think I'll get better, like literally, they know I won't get better, I have been informed that patients with similar issues have committed suicides, I have had eyes rolled at me when I mention the psychogenic illness or if it is then it will take years to recover. I mean, doctors sometimes have a God complex or something and they really don't like when they don't have an answer. Don't get me wrong Western medicine is amazing with fighting infections, fixing broken bones and transplanting organs, its is amazing. But they have next to no idea about chronic unexplained pain, migraines, dizziness and other.
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  17. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    I gotta chime in on the food part because for the better part of 5 years I was a total maniac about all natural ingredients. I ate an anti-inflammatory diet ( Whole 30) at all times. No sugar, no packaged food, no alcohol, no dairy.. etc. I also switched to all natural beauty products. I made all my own food, all the time. I even made my family move because we had carpet and I wanted hard wood floors because of allergies. I did every migraine diet and detox you can think of. Severe food restrictions. I also had irregular periods and I believed unbalanced hormones.
    At one point, I was also taking up to 17 vitamins and herbs.
    After I found out about TMS it was tough because I was so conditioned to think pizza gave me migraines, or beer gave me migraines. That was all a crock of sh**.
    What's actually helped was to stop being so neurotic and worry about what I was eating or giving my kids.
    When you eat a meal just look at and think "where are the omega 3's and fiber?" As long as your meals have those things you know it's healthy. Try to make the best food choices every day of course, but if you don't, oh well. Life goes on. Taco Bell is great sometimes : ) Relax and love yourself. Keep loving yourself and stop worrying about every little thing. If you love yourself you'll make the best choices for your body. Go outside. Get sunshine. Get in nature. Laugh. Read a good book. Eat a good meal and enjoy everything.
    I started doing those things. It's been a year. I still get headaches but it's been much, much better. My periods are normal now. Go figure.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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  18. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Gilroy garlic fries are back at McDonald's in NorCal--yummy, especially when eaten fresh out of the fryer!
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
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  19. healingfromchronicpain

    healingfromchronicpain Well known member

    I didn't get a chance to read all the responses, but I quickly want to share a book with you that might help: Healing Through Chronic Pain by Mary Ruth Velicki. She dealt with pelvic pain issues. Not sure about the bleeding, but I believe she also provides additional resources to pelvic patients. It's not a TMS book per se, but it is definitely from a mind-body perspective. She did myofascial release therapy--MFR (which is what has helped me with my neck pain). Even though the specific type of MFR (JFB-MFR) works on the physical body, it is based on releasing the underlying emotions that are causing the physical symptoms.

    As far as the bleeding, I of course cannot say, as I'm not a doctor, but I did have one experience where I was having bleeding straight through a whole month in between periods that nobody could figure out at first until I made the connection that it was the steroids in my trigger point injections that was causing it (the doc giving me the shots confirmed that could happen, but since I thought it was a GYN issue, I didn't initially talk to him about it). Sounds like this probably isn't the case for you, but it shows that there could be other things causing it (not to say it can't be the mind driving it either). So environmental and other causes could be at play, too; it's hard to say.

    And as far as diet, I also greatly support reducing added sugar and refined products. Once I did that my TMS pain didn't go away (which I was honestly hoping, but kinda knew it was more likely emotions) but I think the anti-inflammatory diet that I was trying did help eliminate my dust allergy. Some might say it was just a placebo effect, but I tend to believe that the anti-inflammatory diet really helped by not burdening my body with irritants it doesn't need. I was lucky that my kids were older and willing to eat what I prepared. Doing so makes you realize how much junk we're feeding ourselves and our kids. Not to put any more stress on you--I fed my kids the usual "kid-friendly" stuff for many many years--but when I got desperate for my own health, I was able to modify our diet somewhat.

    Good luck!
    Ewok likes this.
  20. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Gilroy garlic fries? Sound yummy.

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