Founder, Green Body Mojo
If you have endometriosis or dysmenorrhea (painful periods), you’re probably a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to pain.
The word “pain” is a Pandora’s Box. Those four letters encapsulate so very much.
Inuit’s captured our imagination with their reported “Hundred Words for Snow”, but we too have different words for it – ask any skier or mountaineer.
Yet pain is just, well, pain.
This is one of the pivotal problems we encounter when visiting the GP – it’s hard to get across your degree of pain. Their Scale of 1-10 is entirely subjective and you end up being demoted from “9 – my limbs are accounted for” to “a bit of a tummy ache”.
…This is not exclusive to male GP’s (though that line was a corker after I had been curled up in fetal position on the bathroom floor, shaking, vomiting, wet through from sweat and close to passing out). Sadly, I’ve known some uterus-bearing GP’s to be more dismissive, those who “have period pain too and just get on with it”.
GP’s are under pressure, I appreciate that, but with that salary, I don’t feel too bad for them.
Painkillers can be used as a stop-gap, as it is hard-impossible to function when you’re in pain, but I don’t believe in using them long term without first exhausting all other options.
Further reading: NSAIDS – The Painful Truth Behind Painkillers
The long and short of it?
Pain(ful periods) need to be investigated.
Recent research shows that there is now an average of 7.5 years between women first seeing a doctor about their symptoms and receiving a firm diagnosis.
My diagnosis took over a decade.
…Yet, my symptoms of an acute attack were extreme.
- Feverish (hot and drenched in sweat)
- Prolonged period (mind the pun) of faintness.
- Becoming unconscious on a number of occasions (and, again, prolonged unconsciousness, not just momentary).
- Barely able to move.
…And then there was the pain.
- The deep-seated pain that felt as if it were radiating out of my very my bones, like a constant low-level hum.
- The sharp stabbing pain that felt like a frenzied attack.
- The heavy pain that pulled me down to the ground, literally.
- The toxic pain that felt as if my body was waging war on itself.
- …And then there was the cramping pain that felt like my insides were twisting into knots.
I could usually pre-empt an acute attack by the ominous, uneasy feeling that would build, call me Nostradamus, and would have to get myself to a bathroom ASAP to lay on the floor until it passed. The worst of which would burn through in 45 mins – 1.5hrs.
But during those 2700 – 5400 seconds… All layered up, this became a monstrous pain that felt as if I wouldn’t survive it.
Afterwards, I would feel completely numb as if my body was in shock. It probably was.
This sounds all very melodramatic to anyone that has never experienced their uterus-gone-wild, but this is coming from someone who is pretty darn stoical and thinker-oriented (as opposed to Feely-McFeelerson).
One time I went to deliver the village postscript to a certain house and their dog ran out and attacked my leg, and I was like, I’ll just leave this in the porch, shall I?
…Then hobbled into the porch with the dog still attached to my leg.
I’m not someone who likes to make a fuss. But I will here because I know I’m not the only one with this experience.
So for anyone who has ever visited a GP and been patronised over their “bit of tummy ache” or cut off mid-sentence and told to “just take ibuprofen”, I’d like to offer you the space to say what your GP didn’t let you finish.
…Because if you went to your GP with those symptoms, and left out the part about being on your period, you’d be medevaced to the ER.
Share in the comments below if you would like to. This pain is not normal and raising awareness will help others to get a quicker diagnosis.
I was able to eliminate nearly all of my pain through a natural approach – but only after I dealt with it as “endometriosis” rather than “just period pain”.
Diagnostics are key.