Drag Me To Hell: The Curious Case of Period Pain

simpsons_period_meme

I decided to break this up into parts, here is a little intro before I talk about going for professional help.

 

Something fun has been occuring. Okay, I’m using the word “fun” how most people use the word “interesting” – the mostly sarcastic, absolutely incorrect way. If I were blunt I would say something very annoying and confusing has been happening, but then you might not be reading now, would you?
Take two: something very annoying and confusing has been happening lately. As someone who started out never really having menstrual cramps to now needing codeine just so I can get out of bed, this Alice in Wonderland spiral I’ve fallen in into has really started making things a tad inconvenient.

I need to go back a bit and explain. When I was a teenager, I didn’t really get cramps, unusual spotting, nothing like that most likely because I was on birth control as I was a walking, talking, 3-D pointillism artwork.

 

Parade-de-cirque-georges-seurat-pointillism

 

My only issues were bloating (swelling to one sizer bigger than usual) and migraines, especially in my 20s. These bastards were debilitating; it wasn’t uncommon that I would slur my words or, when I lived in Canada, my friend would have to guide me into a bath she had made for me. “Silence is too loud” was my go-to phrase.
The interesting thing about my ‘menstrual migraines’ is that they have gone (unless something triggers it, like a sudden weather change or perfume). Similiarly, my dad apparently had little phenomena growing up of having migraines as a kid until his early teens until, one day, they were just .. stopped. His period pains were never an issue.

 

I was so relieved when my once-a-month-guaranteed migraine suddenly stopped.. unfortunately, I now have another issue. I can’t remember the exact time it started, but some time within the last 2-3 years I have experienced something I can only describe as a migraine in my uterus; with pain radiating down my thighs, feeling like I’m simultaneously being stabbed in the front and back, making both curling up and straightening out incredibly difficult. God, the back pain, the front pain, the cramping in my thighs! The feeling that my insides are being pulled down by the strongest gravity or the devil himself. What is happening down there?!

I did what any person in my situation does- I looked online. Yes, I’m sure you’re nervous about me doing that but I’m a thorough, rational researcher that doesn’t do a pick n’ mix with diseases, illnesses and severe symptoms. “Endometriosis” was a word that people around me asked if I had and I was wondering about too, and since it’s common, I thought that was the best place to start.

I cross-checked a few sites (mostly sites that focus solely on endometriosis) and these were the common symptoms:

  • Abnormal (i.e. prolonged, heavy, irregular) periods- As of writing I finally got mine after waiting two weeks, making it a 50 day cycle, so I can say it’s usually late most times, a little bit longer and seeming heavier.
  • Painful periods (Dysmenorrhea)- do I need to elaborate?
  • Pelvic pain- yesss, yes. Yes.
  • Digestive/bowel issues including diarrhea or constipation- ho hoooo.. yeah. Yeppo.
  • Fatigue, sometimes chronic- I’ve had CFS/ME since I was 18 so there’s nothing out of the normal for me here and I don’t really notice it anymore if I do have this.
  • Lower back ache- ding ding, my dude.
  • Painful urination or blood in urine- not that I’ve noticed.
  • Infertility- I haven’t been trying for a baby so no clue.

 

[I have another symptom of very dark blood when it’s finally here, but hadn’t really seen any correlation in my searches so far]
So, symptom-wise, endometriosis seems very promising, especially when I saw this:

YA SEE THIS? HOO BOY

WE GOT A WINNER HERE, BOYS.

Before I go “WOOHOO”ing all over the place, I needed to know that there weren’t any other strong contenders, so I also looked at symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Adenomyosis and uterine fibroids.

I dismissed PID early on because it’s an STD (meaning you actually had to have naked contact with another person, something I don’t have time or effort for) that causes inflammation and infection, and since I had (and will be talking about in the next post) a pap smear come back clear of infection. I still looked over the symptoms and while some like lower abdomen pain is a tick, most aren’t an issue for me.
Next was adenomyosis which can show similar symptoms to endometriosis with the main difference being in endometriosis the cells are having fun outside the uterus while adenomyosis the party is inside. Fun!

Common symptoms are:

  • Dysmenorrhea again!
  • Abnormal bleeding and all that fun stuff again. Maybe clotting!
  • Painful bowel movements- not painful but not comfortable
  • Neuropathy i.e. nerve numbess or weekness in the legs or backside- if we’re talking leg cramps radiating down and sometimes twitching, heck yeah, baby!
  • Painful intercourse and infertility- again, not my party
  • Enlarged uterus- I have no idea because we never meet but nothing has been said to me thus far
  • Water retention/oedema or bloating- my tight clothes say yes and so does this puffy face!
  • Fa-fa-fatigue!
  • Rapid weight gain (not directly linked but possibly because of hormonal changes- ohhhhh, interesting” says my hypothyroidism

So adenomyosis isn’t a huge stretch as it isn’t much different from endometriosis, but there’s one more thing I want to look into, uterine fibroids.

Fibroids symptoms are similiar to both endometriosis and adenomyosis with more emphasis on enlarged uterus and abdomen, as well as urination issues. Now I do drink water fairly regularly so I pee what I consider to be normal for that amount, however I saw that “pressure on the bladder with frequent or even obstructed urination” and it isn’t rare for me to ‘finish off’ a pee a few minutes after going. Yeah, I know, we’re talking about my pee now and we’re really here and it might not even be a thing, buuuut since we’re figuring stuff out, sharing is caring, and honestly if you’re still reading I’m really surprised.

 

So with some new knowledge and some tests waiting for me, I go to the doctor… which will have to be another post because I’ve ranted enough for now!

 

 

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