From a young age I remember having really painful periods.
A heavy flow like someone had opened a tap and had forgotten to close it. Accompanied by extreme cravings of anything super salty and unhealthy with the occasional chocolate craving, tiredness, sleepiness, grumpiness, mood swings, crying one minute and absolutely enraged the next, anxiety, worrying about absolutely everything. Not to talk about about the physical symptoms that come with it: the headaches, pelvic pain, backache, acne, the bloating, insomnia, nausea...
But sometimes the worst thing (it still happens pretty much every month) is that, for at least a couple days, I am confined to my bed.
Overall, not a pretty picture. I know.
A couple of years after I first had my period, the doctor prescribed me the pill because 'it will make the pain go away'. The pill did not help the pain. In fact, it only helped me put on more weight and deteriorated the state of my skin.
When I went back to her with my concerns, she decided that maybe that specific pill 'was not good for me' and proceeded to prescribing me a different one.
And this happened 3 times. In 4 years I had tried 3 different types of pill and my body was far from happy.
After that, I tried the contraceptive implant for 3 years (another bad decision). More irregular or missed periods and even worse pain. Until I decided to completely go off all kinds of contraceptives.
It wasn't until 4 years ago that I was diagnosed with Endometriosis.
And whilst I have considered surgery, doctors do not seem to think that my pain is 'severe' enough and discourage going down that route. Instead, I have routinely been prescribed Codeine for pain management.
And whilst it does help, it also makes me lose whole days. The extreme drowsiness from a high dose, twice a day, for sometimes 2 days. The grogginess and nausea that sometimes last for 48 hours...
The answer I hear more often than I would like is: 'Oh don't you worry. It will pass once you have kids.'
And that answer makes me slightly frustrated. What about if I didn't want to have kids?
I have found the last few years to be difficult as I feel unheard by my doctor(s). It makes me angry that they think that I 'need to have children' in order to feel OK, or when they assume they know how much pain I am in.
So, like many other women, I have had to learn to live with it in the meantime and here are some of the things that help me.
I was gifted one of those packs with some sort of rice grains and lavender in it. Best thing ever. Heat it up in the microwave for about 2 minutes and you're good to go. It helps a little with pelvic/ back pain.
On my first day of period, I allow myself whatever I want. Chocolate, sometimes take-away, cake.
Yes, yes, I know.Awful for the body perhaps, but sometimes good for the soul.
This does not mean that I eat unhealthily every single time. I try my best to have a balanced diet and we are currently trying to have 3-4 vegetarian days a week. I love the challenge, as this is something we've only really started doing this year. I also try to avoid super salty food from about 10 days before my period is due (this can sometimes be very difficult for me, as I have the breaking strain of a soggy KitKat).
I allow myself to sleep as much and as often as I can during those 2-3 days. If I feel restless, I tend to massage my forehead, hands and wrists with some lavender hand cream/ essential oils. I also massage my stomach area with a few drops of Peppermint essential oil added to a generic body lotion. It feels good and the warmth of your hands rubbing on the skin can sometimes help with easing the pain.
Like... boiling water.
This is another place in which I use essential oils. I tend to rub a few drops of an essential oil (Eucalyptus is a great one) on the shower head. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and then I turn on the shower on the hottest setting and let it run just for a few seconds. The hot water will release the oil leaving you to enjoy the relaxing smell whilst you shower.
Water. Enough said.
I find that sometimes, yoga can help.