Raising awareness about menstrual pain and heavy periods and why we are still suffering in silence, why is this such a taboo subject and why is it still so stigmatised. One of the most natural things us woman go through every month. Menstruation is a natural process, but for it to cause extreme pain isn’t. The joys of being a female and for some of us having to rely on a period app so that we are not caught out every month. These apps are great to show our GP’s precisely what is occurring and trying to get some answers to why we have grown horns and a devil tail. I often have a conversation with close friends on how the evil one (the period) is approaching or trying to have some humour on the subject when our hormones are all over the place, or why we have just lost our shit over burning the toast. In this time, I quite often say I am not human-friendly for a while, or I am going off the grid. Dysmenorrhea is no joke experiencing severe cramps so bad that you can hardly move around and nearly passing out due to the pain is another level. Dealing with migraines, lower back pain, cramps in the legs, mouth ulcers, weakness and diarrhoea. Taking painkillers what don’t even reach the pain and only taking the edge off but still leaves you wanting to hide from the world is all normal for someone dealing with a period on this level. Prostaglandins are chemicals a woman body produces that cause many of the symptoms what are associated with menstrual discomfort. The tissue that lines the uterus makes these chemicals. Prostaglandins stimulate the uterine muscles to contract. Women who have high levels of prostaglandins may experience more intense contractions of their uterus and a lot more pain. If you suffer from Fibroids which is known benign growths in the womb or Endometriosis where tissues grow outside the uterus or cysts then every month you have a triple whammy of it all being triggered and welcome to hell. There are so many medical procedures you can have to try and help when you have Gynaecology issues which include Endometrial ablations which is a procedure that surgically destroys the lining of your uterus. The goal of endometrial ablation is to reduce menstrual flow. In some woman, menstrual flow may stop altogether. If you are lucky this will work for you first time if not so fortunate you are back on the merry go round of seeing the specialist again. Another operation you can have is a D&C dilation and curettage, which is a procedure where the opening of the uterus is widened, and lining of the uterus is scraped away. Not everyone can take drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets or hormones like birth control to help with bleeding. Many women out there cannot tolerate hormone therapy or have blood clotting issues. If you are on blood thinners and are still having your cycles every month, it is a vicious circle dealing with prolonged bleeding every month and having a direct debit in Tampax and pads. If you are not very open with this, all can be very embarrassing for someone, and they might find talking about it all very personal. Dealing with all this can impact on your day to day activities and having relationships and even keep you from leaving the house during this time. For people out there joking how easy it is when they have their periods, and they don’t know what all the fuss is about and just take paracetamol and get a hot water bottle! These comments are so unnecessary when someone else can be going through hell, not asking anyone else for help because they are embarrassed. I like all the adverts on TV what show happy smiley woman going cycling or swimming on their periods as they are advertising the newsiest sanitary product out… yes, this might be true for some woman but not all! In reality, someone has just got their period and is flooding in their bedroom to the bathroom and now has to spend an hour trying to clean it all. We all own them pairs of old sexy period pants what are shoved at the back of the draw or them comfortable bottoms we just want to lounge in at this time. Below is a list of tips to help with that dreaded cycle:
Remove bedroom carpet to Lino (easy to clean and manage)
Stick to black pants or throw away pants (Boots and Superdugs sell them)
Dark towels as they hide stains and wash out.
scented nappy sacks
Hot water bottle
Medical pads for the bed with plastic backing to save you mattress
Another side effect of bleeding a lot is Anemia. Menorrhagia can cause blood loss anaemia by reducing the number of circulating red blood cells. The number of circulating red blood cells is measured by haemoglobin, a protein that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen to tissues.
If you have been bleeding for a long time and looking pale and feeling dizzy, it is always best to see your GP to get a blood test to check your iron levels as you might need to take iron tablets or even have regular iron infusions at the hospital to restore your levels. This is a painless procedure where you will have a small IV drip put into your arm and is connected to an IV bag of iron and is pumped into your vein through the tube. You will have a blood test a few days later to see your iron levels are back to normal levels, and regular checks after that and these infusions can last for months depending on your bleeding levels.
So once you have got all your monthly supply of super Tampax and black undies and your pain relief to hand and a lot of prayers, you are ready to go and repeat the cycle all over again.