Have you ever had your period hurt so badly that you lay in your bed crying asking God to forgive all your sins or take your life?
Have you missed work, an exam, an event or a date because it was too severe? Do you stock up on painkillers like ibuprofen, mefenamic acid, Feldene, or even Codeine and Tramadol because the pain is unbearable and you don’t want to feel it?
If this is you, we understand.
Some of you may read this and have no understanding of this concept. You may say, “period pain… what is that?” You may bleed for 3 days and not feel a thing, while some others bleed for five to seven days and dread every minute of it.
If you know someone going through this or you are that person, this is for you. We will discuss why your period hurts so much and what you can do about it, and because period pain is not just one of those things you must endure;
This is one that we have all heard about, in basic terms it means the lining of the womb has found its way to other sites in the body. As a result, when the period is about to come, pain arises in a variety of locations. Symptoms can include; back pain, pain on peeing and defection, pain during and after sex. Nike Oshinowospoke publicly about her own personal struggles with the disease here and how it affects the fertility of women worldwide. If left untreated, endometriosis will affect fertility and lead to chronic pain. The only way to know if this is the actual cause of your pain is a surgical procedure which investigates if this lining is actually elsewhere in your body. Treatments include surgery to remove the lining form the wrong places, painkillers and hormone treatments which can significantly improve your pain.
As Africans, the term fibroid is part of our vocabulary the same way food is; women who have not yet had children are often at a higher risk. We are aware of the problems that arise due to fibroids, and these include inappropriate swelling of the tummy, pain during periods, heavy periods, difficulty conceiving and pain while pregnant if the fibroid grows or disintegrates. Fibroids can routinely be picked up on an ultrasound scan, and there are multiple options for treatment including but not exclusive to surgery.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
We discussed this a while ago when talking about sexually transmitted demons (click here if you missed it). This is an infection that occurs mainly in the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes. The common cause of this is chlamydia infection which can be present without symptoms for months to years especially in men. PID often causes severe pain, pain during sex and sometimes vaginal discharge as well. Investigations include swab and treatment is by antibiotics.
When no cause is found, period pain is labelled as period pain. Management is similar to endometriosis without the surgery, and other suggestions are below;
1) Pain Killers as mentioned above
A hot water bottle applied to the lower part of the tummy can provide much-needed relief. I recall a matron in boarding school who used to put a towel in boiling water and ‘press’ tummies. It seemed cruel at the time but it worked. A hot water bottle is a less violent way to achieve the same results.
This may be the most ridiculous and counter-intuitive on the list but it actually works, that is if you can get out of your bed to do it.
4) The Contraceptive Pill
Although we discussed this when dealing with endometriosis, the logic is actually the same. The hormones in the pill thin the lining of the womb and also reduces the amount of pain you experience each month. Speak to your doctor about this before buying any random tablet online
5) Alternative Remedies
Raspberry herbal teas, massage and TENS machines have all been reported to alleviate period pains. These can all also be tried for a pain that is stubborn to treat. However, if you are missing work every month because of the pain and feel you are about to join your ancestors in the grave due to the pain. Please endeavour to see a doctor or gynaecologist for a proper review of your symptoms.
Did we miss anything out? Have you tried anything for your period pain that worked? If you did, please share below with the class in the comment section.
BY: Damilola Ogunrinde