Periods suck.

It’s not OK to plan your life around your period, it’s not OK to have to go home from work or cancel plans because of it, and it’s definitely not OK to throw up because your period cramps are that painful. If you aren’t interested in reading about periods then I’d probably stop reading now.

If you’ve followed here for a while you might have heard me mention some issues with my period before. I’ve always had painful periods since I first started them. I did go through a time in university when I developed amenorrhoea, and it was actually a relief to not have periods for a while so I didn’t have to deal with the pain on a monthly basis. However, once my cycle settled down again the pain unfortunately returned, at first it was every few months or so, but it’s now got to the stage where it’s every single month, and the pain is so severe that I can’t function at all, it has woken me up at night, brought me to tears, and I have been sick due to the pain being so extreme, and I have a really high pain tolerance.

It’s pretty frustrating that I can’t figure out what has caused this, and have tried so many things to improve it, but it just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I did go to my GP a few months back, who wanted to either prescribe really strong painkillers, or give me hormonal medication (not a route I want to go down, due to too many side effects and longer term issues), and she also told me that my pain would likely go away if I had a baby (actual facepalm) so that was the end of that. I’m pretty convinced due to the whole host of other symptoms I have alongside the chronic pain that I have endometriosis, but getting a diagnosis for that can take years and years, and it’s pretty poorly understood.

Although I previously mentioned how happy I was with how balanced my diet is, and how free I felt around food these days, I don’t think my diet currently is helping me to manage the pain and inflammation. I want to take it a bit more back to basics, reduce my intake of processed foods, sugar and gluten, and omega-6 rich nuts/seeds just to see if it makes any difference in my symptoms. It’s really not something I want to do, but I can’t continue to deal with the chronic pain and other symptoms so it’s worth giving it a shot if it provides some relief. I feel that the symptoms weren’t as bad when my diet was a bit tighter, so we shall see if it helps.

The other issue is exercise, I recently did an adrenal stress test, which shows my cortisol is very dysregulated and considerably higher than in should be in the morning and afternoon. I believe long term endurance exercise has led to this dysregulation. Obviously exercise isn’t something I want to budge on, but I just need to strike more of a balance, so I’ve started going to yoga once a week and I’m going to pick back up my daily meditation practice to help lower my cortisol levels. The link here with periods, is that when the body is under stress, and cortisol levels are increased then more progesterone is used to make cortisol, this can subsequently throw out the balance of progesterone/oestrogen and lead to low progesterone levels which can cause PMS and make endometriosis symptoms worse. I know running has caused my cortisol levels to be out of whack, and ultimately long term it might be something I have to reconsider, which would be pretty devastating, hence why I am trying to get on top of this now, and trying anything possible to see if I can gain any benefits.

I’ve got to the stage, where I now have to plan in advance around the day my period is due, which is ridiculous really, I feel like I’ve suffered for so long with this, and just thought oh it’s only one day a month, or most women suffer from cramps- but it’s become apparent to me, that what I am dealing with is far from normal. The other symptoms I suffer from have got so bad, that it pretty much means for 7-10 days every month, I’m suffering from various things ranging from pain, extreme fatigue, insomnia and bloating amongst others, leaving me feeling wiped out, frustrated, shattered and not myself. Basically the situation at the moment is pretty crappy, but I’m fully aware that it could be much much worse, and I’ll keep trying things to see if I can get some improvement or management of symptoms. It’s been really frustrating because I feel like my lifestyle, diet etc should of been enough to combat this, but actually when I look at it perhaps if I didn’t look after myself as well, then my symptoms would be even worse. I’ll keep posted here on my journey with this, and do let me know if any of you have similar issues and have found anything beneficial.

10 Responses to Periods suck.

  1. Hi,

    I’ve suffered almost identical symptoms and the only way to get it sorted is to ask your GP to refer you to a Gynaecologist, they’re used to dealing with these issues and will help you manage each month

    • Thanks. I did mention that to the GP, but she said that there was no point as they would ask me to take the medications she was recommending first. Frustrating.

      • Really? That’s terrible, could you see another Dr to be referred? The gynae Dr was able to offer alternatives, it included surgery as unfortunately it’s the only way to get rid of endometriosis but it can be done as keyhole surgery and in one day. Please don’t give up. There’s also an Endometriosis charity online if you haven’t found them already, they have a wealth of advice x

  2. Oh that’s awful for you. One of my friends was finally diagnosed with it after years (and only because she wanted to get pregnant)- she has a gluten free diet, and mainly dairy free, and she says that helps loads. She needed an operation though to clear the tissues from her tubes, and apparently may well need more later on too. She didn’t take the pill as she was trying to get pregnant though so they had to explore other options. She also did acupuncture and said that helped, mainly as it was a relaxing time, not particularly because of the actual needles- sounds like doing yoga would be similar for you in that it is a time to slow down and calm down instead of being in a rush the whole time.

    • I have been thinking about acupuncture for a while, so may explore that too-thanks. I do think being dairy free has probably meant my symptoms are less severe than they could be , and I do wonder whether the amount of gluten I am now eating compared to previously may be making my symptoms worse. Definitely things to think about. Thanks.

  3. I was on both mefenamic acid and co-dydramol for period pain. This last couple of months, after laprascopic surgery for endometriosis – paracetamol and ibuprofen (and I reckon the paracetamol was what hit the pain, not the ibuprofen). Mefenamic acid’s awesome stuff – get it in the day before you’re due, and not only does it really help with the pain, but it also reduces the heaviness of the period. I ran my first half marathon on the combination of painkillers – and managed sub-2 hours.

    Go back. Push back. I’ve not been on the pill for at least 10 years (and I found the pill made no difference to pain levels). I got referred for endometriosis surgery as part of fertility investigations. And it’s made a massive difference. I think it would be worth going through the six-months (or whatever) of following the recommendations of painkillers etc to get there, get an ultrasound, and surgery. They can only properly diagnose by actually looking inside with the camera. The rest is based on seeing if your internal anatomy is, or is not, sliding over the various parts. They had to get a second opinion on the subject when I had my ultrasound. The first guy wasn’t sure. And this was my third ultrasound to try and work out what’s wrong. That said – my first two ultrasounds for painful periods, I didn’t have to go through any length of time taking hormonal contraception (I did take the painkillers, because I needed to just-about-function) and: you can always be prescribed the painkillers/hormones and not actually file the prescription….

    Going gluten-free made no difference whatsoever. I don’t have that much dairy either.

  4. My sister in law has that same painful monthly period eversince she was in Grade school. A doctor told her the same – that it might change after she had a baby. When she got married, it took them almost 10 years to (successfully) conceive. No doctor could point out what was wrong. It wasn’t PCOS or Endometriosis. Anyway… after she had a baby and when her periods returned, they’re still as painful as before. But this time, she didn’t bother to have it checked again.

  5. I’m sorry to hear this – it sounds awful :-(
    I’ve had such a flaky relationship with periods. From when I first started they were very brief and I barely noticed them – I’m sorry, not to rub it in. And then before uni I dropped a bit of weight and they disappeared. They started up again when I gained back the weight but after a year or so of running they disappeared again. I’ve been to the doctors *so* many times about this and have yet to find anyone remotely concerned about the situation. I gained weight – over a stone from what I was when they first stopped, and 5 pounds in the last few months. And still nothing. My doctor checked my hormone levels and all was fine and at the correct levels. He thinks I’m just sensitive to running and if I wanted a baby I should “stop running”. Hmm. Other than saying to go on the pill he offered nothing more and said I was healthy. As I currently don’t want a baby and I’m at healthy weight (and suffer no other adverse affects) I’ve sort of given up on the whole issue :-(

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.