Advice for Dealing with Bad Cramps?

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Eleanor Rigby
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Advice for Dealing with Bad Cramps?

Unread postby Eleanor Rigby » Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:34 pm

I have bad period cramps and nothing I ever use to try and manage the pain from them seems to work. Things like advil or midol will occasionally help take a bit of the edge off, but it varies from month to month and even day to day during my period in effectiveness. Heating pads just burn me, warm showers/baths don't do anything either way, and exercising while I'm on my period always seems to make the cramps worse. I've read that fixing your diet can help a bit too, so I'm working on that but I haven't seen any results so far.

I was just wondering if anyone had any more tips on what I could try to make them go away or at least make them more manageable? Everything I find online is stuff I've already tried before with no luck or stuff like birth control. I don't have a obgyn to go to and I'm not sure if I could even afford to see one anyways, so it would be good if they were things I could do/get without seeing one

Thank you!
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Mo
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Re: Advice for Dealing with Bad Cramps?

Unread postby Mo » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:31 pm

We do recommend checking in with a healthcare provider when someone's experiencing severe cramps, so that they can rule out any underlying health issues, such as PCOS or endometriosis, that might be contributing to that pain. We can certainly help you look for a doctor in your area, if you need help finding someone that's accessible and affordable. If you want any help with that, just let us know where you are and we can check it out.

Other than that, you've certainly tried many of the tips I'd suggest. I do think it might be worth it to revisit heating pads or other heat sources as an option; if you find that a heating pad is too hot and it doesn't have an adjustable temperature, putting another layer of fabric like a towel or blanket between it and you can help cut down on how hot it feels. There are also a few suggestions you haven't mentioned trying out yet in our article on dealing with cramps which you can find here, so maybe that will give you a couple new ideas.

I'm sorry your cramps are being so stubborn and painful; I know it can be a huge challenge to deal with that much pain on a regular basis. I do hope we can help connect you with some healthcare, if you're up for it, and that there's at least one thing you can try from that article that might give you some relief.

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Re: Advice for Dealing with Bad Cramps?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:20 pm

I second getting checked out with a healthcare provider! I just want to suggest you specifically look into an endocrinologist if at all possible in addition to checking in with a gyno. Since it's their specialty, endocrinologists can be a lot better at catching issues like PCOS and endometriosis than your GP or even gyno may be. (But I fully recognize that accessibility and affordability will be an even bigger issue when seeing any type of specialist! If you don't experience anxiety around this type of thing, maybe you can research these two disorders and if you experience a lot of their symptoms, look into what people with those disorders have specifically tried in order to cope with their symptoms?)

One thing I didn't see on the awesome list Mo posted is to make sure you're getting enough regular sleep. A lack of sleep, even just getting an hour behind, can really impact our bodies and minds, increase stress, and compound any issues we're experiencing. Making sure to have good sleep hygiene might help bring some improvements to how you feel overall as well as in managing your PMS.

I really hope you can find some relief soon! I remember the days of my terrible cramps before I went on bc, and I do not miss that.

Eleanor Rigby
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Re: Advice for Dealing with Bad Cramps?

Unread postby Eleanor Rigby » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:31 pm

I do get a bit nervous around doctors and stuff, but if something could be a potential problem I could probably manage to force myself to go. And yeah I've kinda been suspecting endometriosis as a possible cause for a while now because some of the symptoms I see listed for it feel very specific to what I experience, but I can't be 100% sure for obvious reasons.

I usually do take advil/midol and use the heating pad that I have when my cramps get bad, even if they don't feel like being helpful that week. My mom said that they help with inflammation or something along those lines so it's probably good to try them for the time being even if they don't work every time. Also I checked out that list and I never thought of trying supplements or things like ginger before so I'll have to check those out! And I totally didn't realize that sleep could play a role either. That's something I'll have to work on since I definitely have the stereotypical high schooler's sleep schedule in terms of staying up really late, haha.

Thank you for responding btw!
"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much."
George Harrison

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Re: Advice for Dealing with Bad Cramps?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:08 pm

If you suspect endometriosis, it'd be really good to go in and get checked for that! There are some treatment and management options that will be more easily available if you've got a diagnosis, if you do in fact have endometriosis. ^^

Here's another thing I found that I had forgotten about! Personal electric pulse massagers, aka mini TENS machines. Here's one I found for a cheaper option and here's one around that price that has two pads so you can place it in two spots at once.

I got on bc before I heard of these, but I've always been curious about how well they might work. I found them again because they're something specifically suggested for dysmenorrhea and endometriosis cramps. General consensus among people with endometriosis in particular that a TENS machine really helps make the cramp pain more manageable, though it doesn't get rid of them altogether.

I also read that since endometriosis can impact the pelvic floor, doing exercises top help strengthen your pelvic floor as a part of your general routine (not just during PMS) can help relieve symptoms. Here are some pelvic floor exercises from healthline.

I'm listing these because if you do have endometriosis, they may be especially helpful, but they could also be useful in general and won't be harmful if you don't have endometriosis. ^^

Hopefully between these things you haven't tried yet, you'll find a manageable plan for yourself!


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