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Irritable Uterus

(75 Posts)
user1460834928 Sat 16-Apr-16 20:43:56

This is my first post so bear with me if I'm rambling a bit!

I'm currently 24 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first was born at 28 weeks - we don't know why. I'm being monitored more closely this time around and on Monday (5 days ago) my cervix had shorted from 30mm 10 days before to 25.7mm. I started progesterone pessaries that day. On Thursday I was having pelvic pressure, abdominal cramps and back pain so I went and got checked out at MAU. They did a fetal Fibronectin test which was negative so that's really reassuring and my cervix is closed. But they could feel tightenings in my uterus so they said I've probably got an irritable uterus, they were really vague about what that means and didn't say much more about it except I should rest, not lift anything heavy (including my 2 year old daughter) and go back if the pain gets any worse.

We're now two days on from that and I've been trying to take it easy. I read up about irritable uterus - as much as I could find online which wasn't much - and from what I understand it can give you contractions which are especially brought on by doing too much (hence the restriction on lifting and resting where possible). The contractions don't cause your cervix to shorten or dilate, but they can trigger actual contractions and bring on preterm labour. I now suspect that this is what happened with my daughter as I was getting sensations, not pains as such, but my bump would tighten and hangs shape and the night before I went in to labour I (stupidly) carried a heavy box in from the car and then had bad back pain immediately after.

I guess my question is how does an irritable uterus feel? I'm not really feeling it as contractions but my only experience of labour wasn't typical so I don't really know if I know what I'm looking for - if that makes sense. I'm feeling like I've got period pain, but it's not coming in waves and I'm not getting any sharp pains like you do when you're doubled over in the first day of your period - it's just a constant dull ache in my abdomen and back. If I've been on my feet for a while or had to pick up my daughter (I know, I'm working on it!) I can feel a strain and then afterwards I get that tightening in my stomach which is accompanied by period pain (again, not extreme pain). Is that a IU contraction?

Thanks to anyone who's got any experience of this, I know I sound pretty clueless, I just don't trust my body any more because it doesn't do what it's supposed to!

Kstar8 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:10:25

I did a post on this last week as it happened to me recently. I started having what felt like period cramps (at just over 20 weeks) and it got steadily worse 3 days to relentless cramps and back pain with tightenings.
I am a first timer so have no comparison of what IU feels like compared to contractions but it was worse than period pain. I could see my stomach contacting every 3-5 minutes and it was very painful and frightening.

Dopplers, scans and cervix scan showed all was fine and I was told it was likely an irritable uterus caused by the fibroids that I have. It settled down over the following week, the tightenings became more annoying than painful and gradually they stopped and I feel back to normal. I am worried about it kicking off again but the hospital told me if it did I would just have to have the same checks.

I'll try and search for the thread I started. Several women in that thread and other forums I searched said that they went on to be overdue and even induced, despite their IU. Hopefully this will be the same for you and I.

Kstar8 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:14:10

Sorry I forgot to add, I think the IU feels like the contractions/tightenings and the period pains might be associated with something else that is then triggering the IU.

In my case, they saw fluid in my uterus suggesting that the fibroids had degenerated (or a cyst burst or something) and this caused the cramping pains. Alongside this, my stomach was tightening frequently which is the uterus being irritable. So it's like the IU was secondary to the other pain. The tightenings continued for a few days after the cramps had stopped.

user1460834928 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:15:39

Thanks for the response Kstar8. Mine definitely isn't as bad as you were having - I'm glad it's settled down for you now. The midwife couldn't feel it on my bump at first and it was only when the doctor felt and pointed out when it was happening that the midwife could also feel it. They said its just a temporary tightening. I have had other times when my bump goes firm for longer and you can see the shape change, but it's not agonisingly painful when that happens.

I've got an appointment with the midwife tomorrow so I'll talk to her about it. I'm just so paranoid with my daughter being born so early, it makes me read in to every little thing.

Kstar8 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:19:38

This is the thread I did the other day:

Irritable Uterus and spasms/contractions

I don't know if my pain was more associated with the fibroids/whatever the hell it was but from googling I found other forums where people said IU was more painful than brixton hicks? I could see my stomach seizing.

Hope yours settles down. It's not a nice thing to have to worry about is it? Wishing you a long, closed cervix!

user1460834928 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:22:42

Thank you! I'm hoping the progesterone will do its thing and my cervix will stay the same. How many weeks are you now? Are you having any further checks to do with the IU?

Kstar8 Sat 16-Apr-16 21:49:49

It was only last week that I was in so I'm 22+2 now. My cervix measured 3.7cm so consultant said I was low risk and it wouldn't require any other input unless I had another event like that. They said it was likely related to the fibroids as the baby starts taking up more space and it has settled down on its own without painkillers.
I hope the pessaries do their thing and your little one stays put for a long long time yet.

lilygirl81 Sat 16-Apr-16 22:04:36

I wonder if this is what's going on with me! I'm 25+1 and had a cervical stitch put in at 22 weeks. I've been noticing my bump hurting and going hard when I do too much. It can stay hard for a while and then eventually eases off. Off to research now, I'd never heard of this

user1460834928 Sun 17-Apr-16 08:08:25

Hi lily, did you find out much? There's not that much information out there but what I found described exactly what I've been feeling.

I was really worried last night, I was having contractions in the end, the dull ache got more painful and was coming in waves. I'd been laying on the sofa for a couple of hours so it was concerning it was getting worse rather than better. In the end I decided to go to bed to get some sleep and see if it went off. When my daughter woke up in the night it had gone off but when I laid down to go back to sleep I could feel the waves again, but not as painful.

Anyway, it's gone off now and I've got the midwife this morning so I'm going to talk to her about it then. I really don't want to be put on bed rest but I know that if that's what I have to do then I have no choice.

lilygirl81 Sun 17-Apr-16 10:53:15

It's hard to find much! I'm not at the hospital until the 26th, so will be interested to hear what you get told by your midwife

user1460834928 Sun 17-Apr-16 11:06:43

The midwife was pretty useless! She seemed like it was all a bit of an inconvenience for her and was quite dismissive. I told her about the contractions I was having last night and she was just like "mmm". She seemed to be like "well, you've got an irritable uterus so that's just going to happen" which is fine but given my previous delivery at 28 weeks you'd think she'd be a bit less dismissive. Grrrr! Midwives irritate me - I'm sure some of them are great but my experience has never been that great.

I'm becoming a bit more tuned in to when the contractions are happening and I'm changing what I'm doing when they start so hopefully they'll ease off.

I meant to ask lily - how come you had a stitch put in? Had your cervix shortened?

MintyBojingles Sun 17-Apr-16 12:23:30

I think I might have this, I'm 22 weeks and have had two episodes of contractions lasting for about two hours. Currently sat in hospital waiting to talk to a midwife, I'm being left for observations I think.

user1460834928 Sun 17-Apr-16 12:37:18

I hope you're okay Minty. I was told when I went on Thursday (at 24+1) that they can't monitor you for contractions that early but I stupidly didn't ask when they can start monitoring. That might vary between hospital's though. I know they can't do the Fetal Fibronectin test until 24 weeks as your body naturally produced Fibronectin up to 22 weeks so it could show up on the test and give a false positive. They will likely check your cervix to see if you're dilating. Have you had any problems with your cervix before? Let us know how you get on.x

MintyBojingles Sun 17-Apr-16 13:00:30

That's more than they've told me! Just popped onto a bed and left to it so far. No fairness they seem pretty busy today with ladies at term.

No prior problems no, first pregnancy was uneventful & normal. Didn't have anything like this then.

user1460834928 Sun 17-Apr-16 13:12:19

Are you still having contractions now? The only thing I've really read to do to stop them is to lay on your left side and drink lots of water. Apparently having a full bladder can also make you contract so that's fun to balance with drinking lots of water!!

MintyBojingles Sun 17-Apr-16 13:26:41

More or less stopped, only had a couple in last hour, and they've not been painful. Laying down, drinking loads, still waiting!

user1460834928 Sun 17-Apr-16 15:54:06

Hope you've been seen by now. I know that all units are really stretched and I'd never complain but it's frustrating when you're waiting and you just want to know everything's okay. No ones fault, just difficult for everyone including the midwives on shift.x

user1460834928 Sun 17-Apr-16 21:04:30

Hi Minty,

How are you feeling?

Can I ask you all how the IU contractions feel to you? I'm again laying on the sofa with what feels to be period pain but every now and again feeling tightenings with it which make the pain more intense.

MintyBojingles Sun 17-Apr-16 22:10:49

Finally got seen just after 4 - the doctors got caught in back to back EMCSs - fair enough, but an awful long wait. Sent home and told to take it easy, they didn't want to do internals as I've got low placenta do they didn't want to risk disturbing that.

To me it varies, I've had a lot of campy stomach pains, and some intense that felt more like the contractions I got before labor. Other times it's just been my bump going hard. They didn't really examine me much, but then the pains had pretty much stopped by then.

Did you have anything like this in your first pregnancy?

3boys3dogshelp Sun 17-Apr-16 22:23:46

I had this from 24 weeks with my third pregnancy. It was hard going to be honest, they became increasingly painful and more like labour contractions iver a few weeks until the midwife insisted that I started may leave early at 33 weeks. I had bad days when I would have runs of them and be convinced I was actually in labour, only for them to disappear.
Then I ended up being induced at term!!
I had low fluid levels which I believe can contribute to them. Drinking plenty definitely helped, but also eating properly and resting a lot. Good luck, hope baby stays out for you a bit longer this time.

Annabrooke90 Mon 18-Apr-16 07:35:49

I was told I had this in my 3rd pregnancy. Had period cramps and tightenings from 15 weeks. I kept having episodes further down the line like proper contractions regular and lasting over a minute each time. Things started to increase at 33 weeks along with loss of bloody show etc and it lasted another 5 weeks until he was born at 38 weeks. My previous two babies had been born after term. Then I had exactly same with me fourth from early although the period pains had grown even worse and by 22 weeks I was having very strong contractions 5 mins apart that would last for hours, this continued and at 29 weeks I started losing my bloody show, he was born 5 weeks later (again) at 34 weeks and a negative fetal FN test just three days before his birth.

Now expecting my 5th (19 weeks) and already in pain most days with period pain in back and belly and tightenings. I never actually found out it I had or have IU. With my fourth they kept telling me all the pains was "just because it's your fourth".

user1460834928 Mon 18-Apr-16 07:46:15

Thanks both. I'm sorry you had such a long wait Minty only for them to not really do much in the end. Did you feel okay to be going home?

I didn't have anything like this with my first, at least not that I paid attention to at the time. In the weeks leading up to her being born I had awful backache and pelvic pressure but I just put it down to ligaments stretching and my body preparing for labour. I remember reading up about pelvic girdle pain and SPD and that all seemed to fit. But in hindsight they were probably early warning signs. I don't remember getting period-like cramps but I do remember that my bump used to change shape and go firm for a couple of minutes at a time - I used to think that the baby was turning width ways because my bump would go flat across the top and almost jolt out at either side, and maybe that's what it was but it also could have been a tightening or contraction. I'm so tuned in to everything that's going on this time around that I don't know if I'm seeing things that happened last time in a different light that I didn't give much credence to last time, or if they just didn't happen last time.

I'm feeling pretty rubbish emotionally as well. I was told on Thursday that I'm not allowed to pick my daughter up any more (she's over 2 stone now) and I'm finding it really difficult, I also realised that yesterday she didn't even ask me for a cuddle sad I know that that probably just means that she understands and she's accepted it, which I suppose is a good thing but it makes me sad. She's always on the go so it's not like she really has time for cuddles anyway but normally when you pick her up to do something (nappy change, getting in and out of the cot etc) you get a cuddle with it, because I'm not allowed to do any of that I'm not getting cuddles. I know hormones are probably making me feel 100 times more emotional about it as well but I just want to cuddle my little girl!!

Anyway, how is everyone else doing today?

MintyBojingles Mon 18-Apr-16 09:49:13

Yeah I feel ok, they really really encouraged me to go back in if I was worried again, and gave me the direct number- I had to go through A&E yesterday which is part of why it took so long (at least A&E wasn't busy!)

I'm also feeling very emotional - trying not to pick my daughter up as with IU and SPD its too much, she must be very nearly 2 stone too, and suffering lack of cuddles too! Burst into tears on the midwife yesterday because I miss her so much. Really miss doing bedtime as I just can't lift her into her crib, debating taking the side off so that I can get to her easier.

How do you manage getting her in the car and highchair?

user1460834928 Mon 18-Apr-16 10:05:39

We've completely changed what we're doing because I basically can't look after her on my own, it's more difficult because we have 9 steep steps at the front of our house plus I don't drive so I can't get out with her on my own as I've been told not to push the buggy  Usually on a Monday she's at home with me but we've got her into nursery for an extra day a week, on Tuesday's my husband works from home in the morning and I work from home in the afternoon so he's around to pick her up for nappy changes and to get her in her cot for her nap. Wednesday she goes to nursery anyway, Thursday my mum looks after her and Friday's it's usually just me and her so family are taking it in turns to come over and help out. Although other people are here I want to still do as much for her as I can.

Car seat isn't a problem as I don't drive anyway, she has a table and chairs that she sits at to eat so that's not a problem either. As for bedtime, it's the one time of day I can actually give her a cuddle and spend that time with her on my own so we've found a work around so I can still do it - I sit in the chair and my husband puts her on my lap so I can give her her milk and a cuddle, when it's time for her to go in her cot I call my husband through the monitor and he comes and lifts her into her cot and I stay with her and hold her hand until she's asleep.

I have wondered if we're going to the extreme with getting others to help and maybe I could find work around and ways to get by without needing to rely on others, but I lifted my daughter this morning (she asked and I was so pleased that she had I picked her up - I know I shouldn't!) but it started contractions. I'm finding that I don't have to do a lot to set them off now so I know it would be impossible on my own. I think I had a tiny bit of pink discharge this morning, it was so minuscule I can't even be sure. I'll just keep an eye on it.

lilygirl81 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:52:20

Sorry I disappeared, yes, they found my cervix had shortened so put in the stitch which seems to have worked, but now these tightenings are really getting to me.

If I take more than a few steps my bump goes rock hard, as well as every time I go to the loo (no matter what for) and sometimes for no reason. It can take a good 15 mins plus for it to soften again.

I've not called anyone, I'm a bit sick of the hospital having been in with Hyperemisis 4 times and then in for a week with my stitch, and fortnightly checks. Not sure it's worth going in if they are just going to tell me to take it easy, what does that even mean, I work full time!

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