Dear Doctor, My period was so painful I passed out!

It happened to me once! I would say my pain threshold is pretty high but period pain is no joke! Most women have been there to some degree and if you have no idea what I’m talking about lucky you!

Why do we do it to ourselves though? It’s day one of your period you feel like crap on the sofa with your cup of tea and you find yourself saying ohh this is why I was in a bad mood yesterday or that’s why I was craving chocolate or anything else we can blame our hormones on. Every month we know its coming, yet every month we are just as surprised.

I do think a lot of us are martyrs to our own periods. We power on through the pain to the point of passing out. Ok… so maybe not everyone is as over the top as me, I actively decided I didn’t need any pain killers and wound up on the floor …I don’t recommend it. But the amount of women who are MIA 25% of the month is a problem. Some women are literally housebound due to their periods. Others are ok with just the occasional stabbing sensations that make you feel like you need to stop in the middle of a supermarket and crouch for a minute until you are good to go again. And we all know the ones who actively apply the unwritten rule of don’t expect me to do anything it’s day one of my period.

What are we supposed to do though keep popping paracetamol carrying a hot water bottle around? We don’t have time for that we all have busy lives to deal with.

Well the way I see it is you deal with the pain or you deal with the periods. Either way if period pain is a problem for you why not get on top of it so its not a problem anymore.

Im not going to go into the different causes of period pain or cover things like endometriosis and polycystic ovaries because for some people its more complicated than just cramps. Today I’m just talking about pain in general, of course everyone is different but to be honest the advice is pretty similar.


Painkillers-

If you know you get pain then take them before the pain gets bad. It seems obvious but how many of us start pain killers early? It’s useful though, especially if you have regular periods. Predict your pain and stop it from happening and take pain killers regularly if you need them. What to take depends on your own personal requirements.

Paracetamol is fine for most people and people sometimes don’t appreciate just how well it can actually work.

Ibuprofen can be taken as well as Paracetamol. But if ibuprofen doesn’t do the trick then Mefenamic acid is a good one to add instead. It works well for period pain and is from the Ibuprofen family. (not to be taken with ibuprofen and also if you can’t take Ibuprofen then you probably cant take this either).

Above these three you are probably looking at going down the Opiates route starting with Codeine and going upwards hopefully not getting as far as morphine.

Hormones-

Is it worth thinking about your periods themselves if the pain is that bad? It might be worth considering contraceptives, the combined pill can in some women reduce the pain during the withdrawal bleed week/ period. Some women are advised to take it back to back to reduce the amount of periods full stop. No period, no pain. Also for some the mini pill (the progesterone only pill) works well as again you tend not to have periods. There’s lots of options that can really help if pain relief is not working and its worth speaking to your doctor to see what might work for you.

Any other ideas minus the medicines?

All the things that I probably should be doing but I can’t really claim to be an expert in… Well there is exercise and improving your diet both of which common sense tells us will work, we don’t need a doctor to work that out. I wouldn’t ignore it though it’s simple steps that can avoid the need for tablets so I recommend trying it! Then there’s the herbal teas and other herbal remedies. Maybe I will start trying some and let you know if they work.

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