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.