So I came across this post from xoNecole on how to know when your menstrual cramps are abnormal. It was something I’d been all too familiar with being that I’ve dealt with it since puberty. I have had the worst cramps that I could ever imagine. I mean nearly every month since getting my period, I’ve had to deal with excruciating pain in my lower abdomen and back. Sometimes it’s so bad I can barely stand up or walk. Extreme fatigue, diarrhea (I know, TMI), feeling nausea, losing my appetite or even getting sick and vomiting are all symptoms of my cycle. My only solution would be to crawl into a ball on the nearest floor, crying my eyes out and calling for my mother. (I’m such a baby when it comes to these things). Even hearing me describe it is like describing death.
(Photo: A Special Needs Media)
Finally, I had to go to the doctor because the pain was so unbearable. I’d literally miss days of school because I couldn’t get out of bed. Not to mention, I had a spell of week long periods, but only every 3 months. I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 16, which stands for PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome. What happens is, there is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance (over production of the male hormone, androgen). It can cause problems with your periods (irregular periods) and make it difficult to get pregnant (infertility). Other symptoms include, but aren’t limited to, weight gain (difficulty losing weight), excess facial hair growth, and cysts on your ovaries (hence the name).
Treatment is available for those with this diagnosis but I’m not here to talk about that just yet. I want to focus more on easing the pain of PCOS related menstrual cramps. Believe me, cramping is bad and annoying on any level, but abnormal cramps are that much worst. I am not a medical professional, but here are some things that I do to help lighten the blow.
- Drink water. I know, it’s the clichest thing to say but it’s so true. Not only is water a contributor to all things beauty, it does wonders for your health. (Duh!)
- Exercise and diet. I honestly didn’t believe everyone saying exercise helps with cramping until I tried it. Best decision of my life. Your diet can help ease the symptoms of PCOS which in turn relieve some of the pain of your cycle.
- Hot bath. Submerging your whole body in a bath of warm liquid and it stops your flow for a while. Double score!
- Heating pad and hot tea. Literally anything hot in, on, or around the body is good!
- An orgasm. Now I can’t say that intercourse is my first choice during my menstruation (although it works for some), a good orgasm can ease the pain. No intercourse needed.
- Having a glass (not a bottle) of wine. I find that having a glass of wine during my cycle not only eases the pain of my cramps but also leads to shorter periods. Thank me later.
- Period tracker and meds. Although my periods are irregular, they still have I slight pattern. I use a period tracker app to help me figure around the time I can expect Mother Nature, then I start an ibuprofen regimen a couple of days before my expected start date. Of course, there are times when Mother Nature wins and pulls a fast one, but I’m always prepared with Tylenol. I’ll start my regimen at the first sign of my cycle.
As some things can’t be avoided, we can only conspire to make them more tolerable.