I decided to embark on a study of the mechanics of the female menstrual cycle, to answer my questions and assuage my fears, fears of endometriosis and fibroid. Feels weird now but it wasn’t then, especially as Television programs used it to sing. So I just assumed if you have pain more than usual during your period, then, it means something is seriously wrong. It was not good enough that the only thing I knew was just basic knowledge from long ago biology classes; the story of Ovaries, Fallopian tube, Womb and shedding.
I am not a Doctor, but I will try my best to explain as simply as I can; what it means to have very painful cramps, and effective coping mechanism.
I was a late bloom; I saw my period for the first time at the time when periods among my mates had become stale news. It was so late, I used to beat myself up then; prodding and fussing over my body, worrying that I wasn’t eating enough or there was something critically wrong with me, though I knew that physical maturity varied and some reached puberty earlier than others.
The errant grandma did eventually show up after I turned sixteen, finished high school and was preparing for college.
When my period started;by the way what do you call or how do you refer to your monthly flow? ‘Periods’ serves me well; short and straight to the point. I have heard various colourful descriptions like, shack week, bloody Mary. I have heard mad Cow disease, there is Aunt Flo. The weirdest I have ever heard a girl refer to her period should be, “I am miscarrying Satan’s baby”. I had no pains for more than a year, if I am accurate. So, in terms of menstrual cramps, I was living the life, and I was never the best person to talk about cramps with. I never could relate. Until sure and steady I had my first appointment with dysmenorrhea (ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!). I went from, I-can-hold-out-fine to, okay-don’t-panic-just-try-not-to-run-around-much-situations to complete panic mode-help-my-bowels-are-being-ripped-out! And finally to dreading that time of the month, I-can’t-I-can’t-I-can’t-I-can’t-deal-with-this-anymore.
I am not much a Fan of drugs hence, on the first day of my period; you would find me writhing on the bed.
Around this time, Endometriosis and Fibroid awareness campaigns popped up everywhere I looked; “The five Litmus test for Endometriosis, what to do when you have incapacitating menstrual pain, how to beat Endometriosis and stop that pain”. They were everywhere and my mind became cluttered with “what if’s?”
Mom said I had nothing to worry about that she had really painful dysmenorrhea too, which she probably, just passed on to me. I was not convinced, I had to really research and talk to a specialist before I was at ease.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the Uterus, grows outside the Uterus. This causes Pelvic/Stomach pain that starts Before the Period and Lasts, Several days after.
Period pains (dysmenorrhea) are normal, very normal and intensity varies from one lady to the next. It is caused by an enzyme secretion known as prostaglandins, which when secreted in large quantities, causes severe pains. Menstrual pain caused by prostaglandins is called primary dysmenorrhea. Secondary dysmenorrhea is when cramps are intensified by underlying factors and this is where fibroid and endometriosis and other ailments come in.
So, how do you differentiate between primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea? It’s easy.
Irregular periods: this is a bit tricky because it is normal to have irregular periods due to stress, too many exercises and hormonal imbalance. I believe if you are familiar with your body you should know instinctively when something is wrong, especially if period fluctuations are drastic.
Bleeding in-between periods
Smelly vagina discharge
Pain during sex
When you notice these signs, do not hesitate to see a doctor. However, signs or no signs, as long as you are not comfortable, do see a doctor.
Natural period cramps fade as you get older, especially after giving birth.
Pain killers are the most preached remedies for handling cramps. I would not say it has been very effective for me because most times, my cramps come upon me so sudden with such intensity I can’t even reach for pain killers and when I do get my hands on one, it won’t stay down, I throw up.
So, menstrual cramps for me have always been about biting down on my lips so hard while I wait for the pain to subside. Option numero 2, I yell and yell and yell until I am too exhausted and the sound of my voice rocks me to sleep. It is that painful.
Exercises help a lot as well. You can try it. I won’t do it ever(I am having pains and you expect me to do exercise? Why are you so insensitive?)
Hot water bottle wrapped around your tummy would help.
A warm bath too would help.
Mmm, have I missed anything? Oh yeah, a woman experiences about 450 periods in her lifetime!
Period does not protect you from pregnancy; in other words, you can get pregnant during periods.
Okay, it is a wrap! Thank you for reading; I hope you leant something new. By the way, my favourite pet name for period is, One Week and Red Tomatoes.