I've been having serious period cramps for years and have only recently found what was causing them.
For many years, I suffered from the most terrible period pains. Every month, I needed to take four days off work simply to curl up in a corner and wait for the pains to subside. It seemed that conventional painkillers, such as paracetamol, didn't make a lot of difference, and, in any case, they tended to make me feel sick in addition to being really hard to swallow.
Numerous times, I went to various doctors and explained the suffering I was going through only to be told to go home and take—yes, you guessed it—a paracetamol! I suspect that since most of them were men, they merely took it as simply another female dealing with a few cramps each month and making too big a deal out of it.
It took over ten years for the real reason behind my agonising period pains to come to light. This was when I first went to a doctor to find out why I was failing to get pregnant with my first husband, who already had children of his own from a former marriage.
At this time, I was about 26 and had been going through this pain since the age of 16, when my periods had first started.
The fertility specialist performed an internal ultrasound and informed me that I had a three-inch ovarian cyst on my right ovary. I also had distinct signs of endometriosis. After taking various blood tests, he also determined that I wasn't ovulating. He arranged for me to have the cyst—and as much of the endometriosis as possible—removed in the hopes of improving my chances of conceiving.
I looked into exactly what endometriosis is and discovered it is when uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus for reasons doctors can't explain. This tissue follows the same cycle as the tissue in the uterus, so each month, it builds up a fleshy blood-filled lining before breaking down at the end of the cycle. The problem with endometriosis is that outside of the uterus, there is nowhere for the blood and tissue to escape, hence the agonising cramps during the menstruation.
The ovarian cyst could also potentially be dangerous if it grows too large and bursts, so it was important that this was removed as soon as possible. Benign cysts form naturally on the ovaries each month and usually burst to release an egg, but, in certain cases, they fail to burst and simply keep on growing larger and larger, adding to the severity of the period pains each month.
There are various kinds of cysts that can form on the ovaries:
- Follicular Cysts: These cysts form when the sac doesn't break open to release the egg. Then, the sac keeps growing. This type of cyst most often goes away in one to three months.
- Corpus Luteum Cysts: These cysts form if the sac doesn't dissolve. Instead, the sac seals off after the egg is released. Then, fluid builds up inside. Most of these cysts go away after a few weeks. They can grow to almost four inches. They may bleed or twist the ovary and cause pain. They are rarely cancerous. Some drugs used to induce ovulation, such as Clomid® or Serophene®, can increase the risk of cyst formation.
- Endometriomas: These cysts form in women who have endometriosis. This problem occurs when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. The tissue may attach to the ovary and form a growth. These cysts can be painful during sex and during your period.
- Cystadenomas: These cysts form from cells on the outer surface of the ovary. They are often filled with a watery fluid or thick, sticky gel. They can become large and cause pain.
- Dermoid Cysts: These cysts contain many types of cells. They may be filled with hair, teeth, and other tissues that become part of the cyst. They can become large and cause pain.
- Polycystic Ovaries: These cysts are caused when eggs mature within the sacs but are not released. The cycle then repeats. The sacs continue to grow and many cysts form.
To say I felt angry was an understatement. I had gone through years of suffering that could have largely been avoided by reducing my endometriosis or by, at least, being placed on prescription strength painkillers. Who knows how long the cyst had been there? What I did know was I had been, and still was, experiencing all the classic symptoms of both problems. Yet, it wasn't until I needed fertility treatment that a doctor even suggested these possibilities.
The classic symptoms of both these conditions are listed below.
Pressure, swelling, or abdominal pain
Pain during menstruation
Chronic pelvic pain
Dull ache in lower back and thighs
Lower back pain
Pain during sex
Pain during sex
Weight gain during period
Heavy and/or irregular periods
Nausea or vomiting
Diarrhoea or constipation
Anxiety and depression
I did stay in hospital for a week and had both the cyst and some of the endometriosis removed, but it left me with a four-inch scar across my bikini line.
Some years later—after my first husband sadly died before we could further pursue fertility treatment—I was again told I had an ovarian cyst by a fertility specialist, only this time, it was on my left ovary. He could also see signs of endometriosis on the ultrasound, so he scheduled for removal of the cyst and run a dye test to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked.
By now, the technique was far simpler and could be done as a keyhole surgery in one day. Hoping against hope that this time my problems would be solved, I went in for the operation.
I had to wait seven weeks for my follow-up appointment during which time I had no idea what the findings had been or what had been done.
In the follow-up, the specialist didn't waste any time in telling me it was not good news. Apparently, I had now developed severe adhesions within my whole reproductive system, and, in certain places, my other organs had even fused with my reproductive organs. He explained that these adhesions could have been caused by the endometriosis itself or by an infection following the previous surgery. Unfortunately, they had been unable to find my ovaries through all of the scar tissue, so they could not tell if the dye passed successfully through the fallopian tubes or not. I don't even know if they found the cyst to remove it as I was too stunned by what he said next to think to ask the question.
He now felt it was extremely unlikely I could ever get pregnant without in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is something my current husband Richard and I simply couldn't, and still can't, afford—not a good position to be in when you are already about to turn 39 years old.
Thankfully, I no longer get the severe period pains, mainly because a portion of the endometriosis was removed when I had the first operation. In addition, I can now obtain mefenamic acid tablets (500 mg), prescribed by my doctor. These tablets are specifically geared towards period pains and prevent the production of chemical irritants that cause much of the pain and inflammation in the body.
I urge anyone reading this who suffers from severe period pains to insist their doctor look into the possibility of either endometriosis or ovarian cysts. Even though after removal, these problems can sometimes return, the suffering will largely be reduced, and what is left can be helped with pain medication.
Most ovarian cysts are not life-threatening, but there are some potential dangers in the event one ruptures, so don't delay getting any suspiciously severe pain investigated thoroughly.
In the event you are experiencing severe pains in your pelvis, abdomen, or sometimes even in your shoulder and neck, there may also be a risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which is life-threatening and should never be ignored.
If any of the above applies to you, I urge you to contact your doctor immediately.
As with any online advice, this article is not meant to replace a consultation with a professional doctor, and if you are concerned about your period pains, then my advice would always be to make an appointment with a physician as soon as you can.
This article also contains a graphic image depicting the surgical reduction of adhesions associated with ovarian cysts. Please proceed with caution.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 12, 2017:
I am not a doctor Natasha, but I can't see a strong connection between the vomiting and your cramp stopping. It would be a guess, but I wonder if you had an ovarian cyst that hadn't naturally burst that was causing the extreme and unusual pain. Just maybe the vomiting caused it to rupture and eased the pain. My advice would be to mention it to your doctor, or at the very least see if it happens again and then mention it to your doctor. Good luck.
Natasha on September 11, 2017:
I'm 40yrs old, I typically have mild periods lasting 3-4 days. My current period started yesterday with light spotting. Today I started feeling terrible pain/cramps, along with vomiting and bowel movements. During this time there was little to no menstrual blood. The pain was so bad, I had to use a hot water bottle to ease the discomfort. I took pain meds but they came up as well. This went on for almost 2 hours. Then one last time I vomited and a (sorry to be graphic) gush of menses came out. I instantly felt better and not a single cramp since. Should I be alarmed as this has never happened to me before.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 01, 2017:
My friend had terrible pain in one of her ovaries and insisted that it was removed even though her doctor wasn't convinced it was the problem. Since she did her pain no longer happens. Maybe this is something worth discussing with your doctor further. Not heard of itchy eyes as a symptom before, but everyone's different. I would certainly try the Mefenamic Acid tablets if your doctor will prescribe them (which shouldn't be a problem). See how you get on with them as they've helped me enormously, as they have plenty of other people. Good luck Terrie.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 20, 2017:
Jamie, in your shoes I would see a doctor asap. Write a list of your experiences in advance to give to them ( and don't hold anything back). See a female doctor if you can as they seem to have a better concept of this kind of pain, (unlike some male doctors who frustratingly seem to write this level of period pain off as normal). Meanwhile try to get prescribed Mefenamic Acid as a starting point because it is the most effective short term measure if something else is causing the problem!
jamie on August 20, 2017:
Hello, I'm 20 years old and have been having excruciating period pain since it started when I was 12. I can't write down dates for when they start like most people because my periods are irregular, I never know when it's going to start and finish. Sometimes my period can go for 4 days, and other times it can go for almost 2 weeks (10 days is the longest time it has gone for), more than several times I didn't have it for 2 months straight. My lower back swells up and becomes painful, I get headaches, and I get a bit of diarrhoea as well during my period. The pain has been so bad at least a few times a year I am unable to stop myself from screaming out loud because of the pain. During those intense moments, I have considered to knock myself out by any means necessary even by hitting my head hard enough to become unconscious just to be able not to feel the pain, I have almost fainted once because of it.
I don't know if I should see a doctor about it or not. Even if I do, I don't know how to talk about it to the doctor.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 15, 2017:
Good luck Stephanie. I really hope your doctor does prescribe the Mefenamic Acid as that is by far the most effective treatment I ever found.
Stephanie on August 15, 2017:
Thank you for your info. Right now, I am up at 6am. My cramps were too bad to even allow me to have any sleep. 600mg of Ibuprofen and a hot water bottle aren't doing anything for me. I have had double dry socket due to being exceptionally dumb after two wisdom teeth removed. I would prefer going back to that than to deal with deal with these cramps. Even my joint issues after I overdo it have nothing on my cramps. It definitely was at a 9 about an hour or 2 ago. My cycle also lasts about 9 days according to my tracker. Right now I really wanna go bash my uncle's head in because I remember him saying I was faking and "Putting a 10 on a 2." since I was little. :( . Unfortunately I have quite the assortment of conditions that rules out quite a few reliefs. Diabetes for instance means that the new obgyn is weary of giving me pills or the shot. She is also quite hesitant of surgery because of the diabetes. She recommended I stop and that now that I am older that it might straighten itself out. Good news, I am now Pre-Diabetic. Bad news is that I'm back to being in even more crippling agony than usual. I think I prefer the diabetes at this point. College starts back up soon, and I can't afford to miss classes that frequently. Thats my main concern. Sorry about the ranting, btw. Gonna suggest the mefenamic acid to my main doc next appointment. Then I will check at the obgyn unit. Thanks again for the info! :D I'm gonna go back to wishing I was never born now.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 04, 2017:
Hi Elisha, please get your friend to read this article.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 22, 2017:
I confess your symptoms for the most part do sound normal, but I would be inclined to get yourself checked out just in case something else is going on as the pain once a year is unusual. As someone who also has Raynauds syndrome that aspect f your symptoms does sound normal
I wish you the best of luck.
As above your symptoms also sound fairly normal, but it is worth getting yourself checked out just in case as this issue can recur in families.
Molly on February 22, 2017:
Hi, I think your article is really helpful and I'm thinking about talking to a doctor now. I'm only 17 but I've been having these severe cramps since I was 13, when my cycle started, I've sometimes experienced other symptoms like constipation or diarrhea as well but I thought it was normal.
At one point when I was 14 or 15 I didn't get my period for 3 months which I thought was really worrying, when I tried to tell my mum about the issue, she thought it was normal for it to be so abnormal as I'd just started. Most of my sisters suffer with the same problem as me and my mum also had to have a hysterectomy and also suffers from ibs.
Emma on February 15, 2017:
Hi, I've been looking around for answers because I have some very specific symptoms when it comes to period pain. Normally, I have normal period cramps that are a dull pain, but once a year for the past three years around the same time, I've hade severe cramps that have made me black out, loose feeling on appendages (although that may be because of my Raynaud's syndrome), and vomit. I am a virgin and so I know I don't have an STD although an infection could be possible, but I don't know what else it could be. has anyone heard of these kinds of symptoms and if so does anyone know what it is and should I get checked out?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 21, 2017:
Thank you V6 that's is a really nice comment to receive. I hope your pains do improve and that you are in a position to share your story like I did for the benefit of others going through the same problems.
V6 on January 21, 2017:
I cried my eyes out while reading this. You've gone through so much yet you're still standing radiant as ever. I felt your pain so deeply i can't even put this in words. All my love and respect to you!! God i had non stop cramps for 7 hours now diarrhea and nausea ..living hell l.and i was sincerely considering suicide because it felt like there was no way out as period pain has not only put me in agony but seriously impaired me and made me dysfunctional..such pain could kill one's ambition making them believe they're doomed to failure and disability especially when there's no support whatsoever and pressuring people accusing you of being dramatic or faking it to be lazy and blame you for it then end up leaving you because no close one would deal with this out of helplessness or mere apathy.
Michelle on December 05, 2016:
My Doctor here in the UK treats period pain like it's nothing. 33years of pain, severe bleeding and now so many adhesions they can't see anything else. Yet told to suck it up and revel in the fact I can have periods to have babies. Too many Drs treat it as nothing.
MEsp on December 01, 2016:
Hi, I'm 17 years old and I experience extremely bad cramping the first 3 days of my mestrual cycle which lasts about 5 days total. I am currently writing this crying my eyes out at almost four in the morning because I cannot stand the pain, and it happens every time. It does not let me sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night in horrible pain. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to go to a doctor but I am really considering it since I just can't stand it anymore, I'm not sure to what doctor go or how to reach out. Do I go to a clinic? Or a regular hospital? I do not live with my parents. What exactly should I do and how?
Cc28 on October 13, 2016:
I am 28 and started my period when I was 13 for the first year everything was okay then when I was 14 I started having severe cramps and was bleeding very heavy I was sent into hospital for 7 days with a drip just to be told I was allergic to asprin , this heavy bleeding on my cycle carried on then when I was 18 I got told I had PCOS so was referred to a gynocologyst that dealt with me then 4 years later took me off her list I also had my tubes checked with dye where results came back was all clear and okay.im now 28 and been with my fiancé for 13 years and yet have no children I still suffer with severe pain each month my dr don't seem to be helping me I am giving up on options but from previous articles I have read I'm gonna demand to be referred to a specialist again
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 16, 2014:
Hi Mildred, You might find some helpful ideas in the other article I wrote on how to reduce severe period pains (although I would advise you see your doctor too ideally, and if you don't have faith in the one you have get a second opinion). The link to my other article is:
mildred on February 16, 2014:
Hi I'm a 46yr old and still having heavy periods not to mention the excrutiating pain that I endure at my age I never thought I will still be having this problem I'm a bit scetpic obout Dr and I have no liking in them. Is there anything that I can use to stop this pain
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 21, 2013:
Hi Jade, this could be a cyst or Endometriosis. Clear discharge is normal so not sure why you thought it could be a sign of pregnancy. Discharge changing to light brown for a day or so and then going away can be a sign of pregnancy (Google search 'implantation bleeding'). If this has become a full period then clearly you aren't pregnant, but if it is unusually light or ends after a day or two you could still be pregnant as many women go through entire pregnancies with light monthly bleeding (even though it isn't technically a period). There is still a possibility you are pregnant as you are experiencing unusual symptoms to the norm for you, and it is very common for women to get negative pregnancy test results right up to late in their pregnancy if hormone levels are too low to show a positive result. Best to get your doctor to do a blood test to be on the safe side as they are more accurate. I should add you could also be experiencing a very early miscarriage (as in a few weeks pregnant).
Jade on November 21, 2013:
Hiya I'm 19 I started my period when I was 11 years old iv never had a period pain in my life until last night...for about a month iv had nothing but clear discharge I though it might be a sign of pregnancy I kept bathing and it kept coming back so I ware a towel and it was fine I was going to do a test in the morning today and I started getting a change of coulor in the discharge it turned to a light brown I read up on it.It said it might be nothing so still do the test and about 12 yesterday evening I started getting these really bad pains I'd never felt before as iv never had a period pain I left the towel on as I though it could be a period pain turns out i was right but I'm a bit worried as iv never had one before since I was 11 I'm now 19 so bit scared iv started getting lower back pains my boobs and belly are really really hurting has anyone any ideas of why I have only just started getting this horried pariod pains at my age???
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 27, 2013:
Hi Catherine, seriously I would recommend you go back to your doctor and discuss the problems you are experiencing as they don't sound normal. Your body could be undergoing an allergic reaction to the iud and it could need removing. Don't ignore this, it is better to get it checked out as soon as possible rather than risk permanent damage. Please let me know how you get on.
Catherine on June 27, 2013:
Hi im 19 years old and i have alot of heavy bleeding and my pains are horrible! about 3 years ago my mom put my on Birth control the pills did nothing but the depo shot and the iud im on know are causing me to bleed nonstop even when im not on my period im worried that its killing my eggs and some day i want kids but im not sure what to do! Some time si get these pains and i cant even move or breath they hurt so bad
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 26, 2013:
I can't offer a lot of help on this I am afraid 'Confidential' as it isn't something I experienced (pain around shoulders and neck) although I am guessing that it would not be impossible for this to be Endometriosis as it can migrate to all sorts of places in the body, and has even been found in the the brain before now. As explained in the article, during your period this tissue will bleed, but with nowhere for the blood to drain away to it can result in a lot of pain. I honestly don't have any idea about the 'hot' feeling you get prior to your periods, but someone else may chip in here and say if they experienced the same thing. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
Confidential on April 26, 2013:
Sharp pains in my neck /shoulder around time of my periods?
I'm 30 yrs old and for the past few months i have been getting horrible pains in my neck and shoulder on the right/ &left side either starting the day before or the day that my period starts, been to doc's and he said i had a stiff neck also i feel very hot before my periods. Just wanted to now if anyone else suffer's with this and has any answers for me.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 17, 2013:
Thanks so much for the lovely compliment HSAYS. It really does sound like the only option left to you is to get another doctor and insist they investigate the possibility you have something else going on like Endometriosis or a Cyst. Your level of pain and how you get it sounds so much like mine was, and the pill never helped me (although in later life Mefenamic Acid did after I had undergone removal of a cyst and some of the Endo). I endured agony for years without any doctor suggesting anything else could be going on other than 'period cramps', and them telling me to take a Paracetamol (as if I would have even been in their consulting room if that was all it was going to take). To this day I am angry that I needlessly endured that pain for years when it turned out I had had Endometriosis throughout that time (plus the cyst later). If I had only known then what I know now I would have gone to every doctor under the sun until one agreed to refer me for further investigations. I hope you do the same. Do let me know how you get on won't you.
HSAYS on March 17, 2013:
Hi there, your article is really helpful! However my periods are excruciating! I'm sitting on my bed about to pass out because the pain is so bad. I've been to my doctors who are absolutely useless, i also went to a walk in clinic where the doctor gave me the menaficin acid, and it didn't help much even though i took it religiously. I really thought that would help. I feel like i have so many of the symptoms from the different problems one could get, besides the cramps that feel like someone is shredding my insides, i get the pain in my thighs and my lower back hurts. But i also feel tired a lot, very very very nauseous, constant headaches, insomnia, constipation and i feel so 'windy'! And that's embarrassing. My mum is against the whole pill taking idea because of the hormonal changes it causes and i agree with her on that one. I'm now 20 and this has been a persisting problem for about a year, every month is like going to hell and coming back in 7 days. I've tried the whole exercise and good diet but in all honesty it doesn't help. I will definitely change my doctor and carry on from there. Your advice will be much appreciated, and thank you so much for posting this article, after going through 20 different articles yours was the one that helped most.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 13, 2013:
Firstly I would suggest you ask your doctor to prescribe you with Mefenamic Acid and see if that helps, (trust me when I say that for many people it is one of the 'only' things that works for extreme period cramps). You should also read my other article (linked to in this one) on ways to reduce severe period pains and cramps because there are other things that can make a significant difference too (such as Magnesium tablets).
Some of what you are describing is actually very normal, e.g. tender breasts, diarrhoea, throwing up, backache, feeling faint/fainting, sweats etc. What does seem rather odd is you getting period cramps throughout the entire month, and this is something I would pursue with your doctor further (if he/she won't help, get a second opinion from a different doctor).
It seems pretty unlikely that at your age you have a condition like Endometriosis or a cyst (although not impossible). If it was a cyst it is likely the ultrasound would have found it, but endometriosis is not so easy, and is usually found from a colposcopy (a tiny camera inserted through a tiny incision made just below your belly button whilst you are under a general anaesthetic). You could ask your doctor about this possibility, although she will probably also tell you that it is unlikely because you are so young.
Right now your body is still developing, and it is not unusual for many girls to have a terrible time with horrendous period pains until they get into their twenties (when it frequently begins to calm down). I know exactly what it feels like to get the pains you are getting, and my sister was equally as bad when she was your age (she is much much better nowadays).
Going back to the birth control pill suggestion, you may not have had any success with the one your doctor first put you on, but this is not to say you might have more success with a different brand, so don't be afraid to ask your doctor about this too. My top recommendation is always Mefenamic Acid though, and if you can use this as well as a good pain killer I am sure you will notice a difference. Don't forget to pursue the question as to why you are getting cramps all through the month though, as apart from possible hormonal imbalances I am not sure what else could be causing the pain outside of your normal period week.
Sincerely I wish you good luck.
haley on March 13, 2013:
Hi my name is haley . This is my story .
Okay, so I started my period a week before I turned 11. I remember the first time I got my period it wasn't so bad. Than the second time I got it, it was just horrible. I am currently 15 about to be 16 in a few months. I get very , very, very , bad cramps. I get cramps everyday , even when i'm not on my period. And when I do start my period they are so bad I throw up, my back starts to hurt, I sometimes get diahrria, I most of the times faint because the pain is so much. I usually get fevers, & start to sweat a lot . Just thinking about it gets me very depressed because I really dont want to deal with this pain anymore. My back hurts horrible, I can't barely move. The cramps never stop. I get really painful ones when i'm not on my period also. I have checked with the doctor once, and she did an ultrasound through my private part , and said that i didnt have anything wrong . I seriously think there is something wrong . I keep telling my parents this pain is not regular. I just really need some help. I really can't take this pain anymore. I cry every time i get my period & i've missed so much school because of it too. The doctor said taking birth control would help but I took it a month didn't help i took it second no changes. Please help me out guys. Is there possibly anything i can do? Everytime I get my period I heat up patches. ? I take very warm baths, I take some midol. I sleep. I just dont know what else to do. Also my boobs get really tender. Thanks I hope this is enough information.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 26, 2013:
Well in the short term I would suggest trying the Mefenamic Acid because they are not a painkiller, but are an anti-cramp medication which is usually far more helpful. I would also suggest you read my other article on ways to reduce period pains because many of the suggestions are not the 'same old' ones you normally hear about.
Honestly though, it does sound like you need further investigations to be done, and you need to stand up for yourself at the doctors and refuse to take 'no' for an answer. Tell them you are concerned about endometriosis and/or cysts, and insist they investigate further. Get second opinions and tell the new doctor why you have felt the need to do so, as this may help prevent them 'fobbing you off' with painkillers too.
I really hope you can find the money to get another medical opinion as this can change your quality of life for the better in a big way.
Britney on February 26, 2013:
I was curious to ask if I could have any help because right now I can't go to the doctors for anything. I've been there twice before for period pains when I was younger (around 14-15) and all they gave me was stronger pain killers and did not bother to look at anything.
Well my question is.. Could I possibly have any kind of medical or really any problem?
I've had a heavy period since I first got it (11) It started to come with severe pain around when I was 13. And this pain is bad that sometimes I start to cry and I can't move my body and I sweat a lot and get very hot. I'm now 18 soon 19 and it's still the same thing..it doesnt happen every month more like every other month. I'm also very irregular it's almost completely random. I go from getting it at the begining of the month to the middle and end within a few months. Ive never been pregnent and I don't take birth control and I don't want to. I don't have any medications either.
I would go to a doctor again but i already have an expensive medical bill and they usually throw pills at me without looking at me (like through x-ray or anything like that)
Any kind of advice or help anyone could give me I would appreciate it
With pain killers (usually tylenol or ibprofen) I usually take 7-10 a day when I have cramps. (and I think they're around 500mg)
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 15, 2013:
Well firstly I would read my other hub on how to reduce severe period pains and cramps and try some of those ideas before rushing back to your doctor, especially the Mefenamic Acid tablets which you will need to get prescribed by your doctor (my sister had pains at least as severe as you describe). If that fails then I would try your original doctor again, and if he refuses to look further into this I would get a second opinion from a different doctor. Don't be afraid to name the suspected cause of the problem to them either i.e. endometriosis and cysts.
Carissa on February 15, 2013:
I have really bad cramps ever since I started in Elemntry I'm 25 years old and I hate suffering through this type of stuff that makes you call off work. My doctor tell me to take any kind of medicine that works but none of them works...I take 2 a time nothing I sit on the toilet and heating pad. Last night they hurt so bad I was crying and I have never cried before through bad cramps...so should I go to my doctor and keep telling this again or what and thank you for posting this now !! (: sorry u had to go throw so much pain!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 09, 2013:
Hi nifwlseirff, thanks so much for telling us of your experience here. It is vitally important sufferers sit up and take notice and don't give their doctors a moments peace until they are taken seriously. I am sorry to hear that you too are in a position where you can't have children even with IVF (I am virtually in the same boat as you, although I am not someone who needs a hysterectomy thankfully). It certainly seems incredibly unlikely I will ever get pregnant now, and IVF was ruled out by the clinic because by then my ovarian reserve was too low to make it likely to be successful.
I do recall feeling extremely angry about the lack of interest from the doctors I had seen because of my period pains, and utter frustration at the suggestion that taking Paracetamol would even 'touch' the level of pain I was in.
Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on January 08, 2013:
If you have terrible period pain, or very heavy/long bleeding, then please, please, please, find a doctor and gynecologist who will investigate. And do it as soon as you can! If one doctor doesn't believe you, go to another.
I had terrible period pain and heavy bleeding for 11 years, continuously going to doctors to try to solve the problem. Even after 2 years of daily bleeding, the doctors did not investigate further.
Eventually I found a gynecologist that was willing to take a look inside. That turned into 3 operations in 6 months, with Zoladex for 3 months to shrink the blood flow in order to safely operate and remove the extensive diffuse endometriosis.
Unfortunately, that specialist surgeon told me my continuing period pain was imaginary. I found myself a private surgeon, who in my 4th operation found even more endometriosis, plus severe adenomyosis (endometriosis that had penetrated the muscle wall of the uterus).
Endo can be removed, but adenomyosis in such severity can only be removed with a hysterectomy (and I'm too young). I've had a few more operations to remove new adhesions and check on the adenomyosis, plus another longer course of Zoladex to temporarily shrink the adenomyomas. They've also since found multiple cysts in my ovaries.
Because the adenomyosis is so severe, as a result of the untreated endo, there is no chance I can have kids, even with IVF. Plus, there is no way (yet) to remove the source of the pain.
I still am angry towards all the doctors, gynecologists and the surgeon who told me my pain was imaginary, to take a paracetamol and to put up with it - that it was normal. It most definitely wasn't.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 28, 2012:
I really can't suggest anything helpful here dianekenn. By the sound of things you have already spoken to a doctor, and at the end of the day they are the experts. If the cyst on your cervix is a problem I am sure they will suggest removing it. The pain in your tummy, thighs and knees may be connected to this, in which case it may go away once the cyst is removed. Ask your doctor if he/she thinks this is why you have the pains where you do, and if they don't think that, then ask them to investigate the cause of those pains too.
dianekenn on December 28, 2012:
hi i am hoping someone could help im confussed and worried im 34 years old i have five children on my last child i had my tubes tied i had a molar pregnecy with some comlications now ive a lump on my breast and they have said ive a scyst sitting on my cervics and ive just started a peroid i suffer a lot of pain in my tummy and thighs down to my knee im worried
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 24, 2012:
Quite possibly I guess (I was only about 5 at the time).
Vee Berg from Las Vegas on December 24, 2012:
Yes, blech! But if you can stomach it, it does work lol. Oh and your mom probably gave it to you for constipation? It helps with that also. I believe that is their main selling point :)
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 24, 2012:
Golly, I remember 'Milk of Magnesia', my mum used to give me that as a young child, although for the life of me I can't remember what for. I seem to recall it tasted like talcum powder in nasty tasting milk.
Vee Berg from Las Vegas on December 24, 2012:
Thank you for the informational hub Misty! I hope more people can find help and the answers they need.
I actually use a magnesium oil, applied to my skin. I had heard that Milk of Magnesia could help with cramping but I couldn't bear to drink it that often.
Then it suggested to take a bath in epsom salt but I would be hurting so bad I was afraid I would pass out/drown. Or I would have to call someone to help me out of the shower :(
I'm glad I found it and I have had one bottle for over a year and a half and everyone in my house had used it for various aches and pains.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 24, 2012:
Thanks Vee, especially good to know you found raspberry leaf and magnesium helped you. I am now 43 and haven't had severe period pains since I was in my mid-thirties.
Vee Berg from Las Vegas on December 23, 2012:
I have suffered from a lot of the symptoms above. I agree about magnesium helping, also I SWEAR by raspberry leaf. Those two helped me get rid of the most severe cramps...the ones that cause you to vomit.
P.S. I am in my thirties and has this problem all the way to up until a few years ago.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 20, 2012:
Based on what you have said Diana I think you are doing the right thing by going to see a doctor. Please do not let them tell you this is normal, and therefore avoid investigating further, (you have to insist they check this out thoroughly.) In the meantime you might find that my other article (linked to in the first paragraph of this one) offers some great and helpful ways to reduce the pain levels considerably until you can establish if something else is going on that needs more aggressive treatment.
I sincerely wish you luck in solving this problem once and for all.
Diana on October 20, 2012:
I got my period since I was about 10yrs old and since I remember I've been getting really bad cramps and a very heavy period the first 3 days. It's rare when my cramps are normal and I can deal w them it happens once or if I'm lucky twice a year. My cramps are horrible ! The lower part of my stomach hurts so much that it makes me throw up I start sweating cold and I get the chills. I can't do anything than just lay down all day. I do anything from drinking I don't know how many midols , caffeine warm patches, shower with warm water. I can berly stand up straight. I usually get diarea as well. It's just horrible. Im also married and my husband and I haven't been able to have a baby it's been almost 2 yrs and nothing. What can it be? Now I'm thinking of seing a doctor.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 09, 2012:
Your Mum is right Natalie, what you are describing is perfectly normal for a young girl fairly new to having periods (it often takes some years for this level of discomfort to reduce naturally, and of course your body for the first 8 months has been adapting to you having periods at all, which explains why you didn't get all the serious pains straight away). All I can suggest right now is that in order to at least reduce the various pains you read the other article I linked to in the first paragraph of this one because it contains stacks of useful tips to reduce your pain levels to a bearable degree.
Don't worry, assuming you don't get any problems like I describe in this article once you are older, the pain does tend to reduce to manageable levels as the years go on.
Natalie on September 09, 2012:
Hi everyone, can anybody help? I am 13 and my period started about 8 months ago. It never used to be bad, but now, I have bad back pain, and stomach cramps, and dirrhoea all ages days before and during my period. My mum said its normal, but now I'm really scared. Any ideas??
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 03, 2012:
You are very welcome Tunde. I hope you get the help you need and that your current doctor is a good one :)
Tunde on September 03, 2012:
Thank you very much for your help :) ive never actually thought of getting my boyfriend to document it when its that bad, but thats a great idea, as i dont find it that easy to explain either, its not every month that it happens but even on the months it doesnt i still have a pretty sore tummy and am couch ridden for a couple of days, its quiet annoying as it effects my work. I have made an appt to see my doctor tomorrow! fingers crossed :) Thanks again! very much appreciated, i was totally unaware at how many females get such pain . Thanks again!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 02, 2012:
To be suffering as you are is ridiculous tunde. You might be lucky and find your male doctor is a good one who takes your pain seriously, and in fact in my case it was a male doctor who finally investigated my problems further. I certainly think if things are as bad as you describe you might get taken more seriously if you did go to a doctor or to hospital when things are as bad as you have described. At the very least you could get your boyfriend to document (even video) what you go through so it can be given/shown to a doctor who might then take it more seriously. Remember, do not take 'no' for an answer, even from your doctor. Get a second opinion if your current doctor is not willing to refer you to a specialist or take your pain seriously.
tunde on September 02, 2012:
I have had bad bad bad period pains since around the age of 16/17 i havnt always had bad stomach cramps. Ive been to a doctor once and she just told me to take pain killers with ibuprofen in it, but in my case i will wake up at 3am in the morning and about 5 minutes later im vomiting nopn stop for about 9/12 hours staright, so i dont really get the chance to get up and have a panadol and go back to bed, the pain is so severe, i have been to one doctor and after having no help i kind of gave up as the doctors i have seen havnt been that helpful, except the new one im seeing now, but he is a male doctor not that i feel uncomftable talking to him about it, but would he know as much as a female doctor about the "period pains"? im really not too sure what i should do. My partner thinks i need to go to a doctor or hospital when im in such a state, but im in that much pain that i cant move and the idea sounds ridiculous...im just over having to be bed ridden for a couple of days and having such bad pains every month..
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 30, 2012:
Hi Kaylie, I suspect you are still quite young to be a victim of endo or cysts. Constipation and abdominal pain are all normal for many women with their periods. Feeling pain to the degree of 'throwing up' is not uncommon when you are still in your teens, (and even into your early twenties). The good news is that it does usually get easier as you get beyond your mid-twenties and you will probably find it eases off as you get older. I still get extreme tiredness when I have my period, and I am in my 40's, so this too is normal. Give it a year or two longer if you can, and then if things are really bad get a second opinion with regards to endo and cysts. You can do it now if you feel you really need to, but I am guessing the doctors will tell you much as I have said to you here.
Don't forget to try tablets like Mefenamic Acid and Magnesium before you decide nothing else will work. These are generally both far more effective than painkillers, and at the very least will enhance the affect of a painkiller considerably if taken in conjunction with them.
Kaylie on August 30, 2012:
I've been having uti and BV infections for the past 2 years now. They are reoccuring. I also have very bad menstral pain, so bad where I throw up plenty of times. I wake up feeling extremely tired even if I sleep for a long time. I also have constipation and abdominal paid that hurt when Im about the start my period, or even randomly sometimes. The doctor I go to just give me medicine and don't examine me. I'm afraid I might have endometriosis or ovarian cysts. Do you think this might be it? oh and I'm 17.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 01, 2012:
PS. Don't give up on the doctors yet, please keep on and on at them until they check you out. Scream and shout if needs be, and don't rule out endometriosis as a cause either, they should be checking you out for this as well. You are still young for both of these conditions, but it is still not impossible you could have them. In this day and age no-one should have to suffer pain without a very good reason!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 01, 2012:
Hi Lisa. firstly thanks for supporting this article for 'years'. I hope at least it has proved to you that you are not alone.
Secondly I really hope you read my other article https://remedygrove.com/remedies/How-can-I-reduce-... , as this offers other ways you may want to try that could help, such as magnesium tablets, etc.
Lisa on August 01, 2012:
Hi. Thanks everyone for this information. I've been reading this page for years.
I'm 16 and have been on my period since 11. I've had really bad pains during my period since I was 12. They used to always come irregular until I got on birth control to try to calm it down but I stopped taking it now for about a year. Now I have regular periods with heavy bleeding. I used to tell adults like nurses and doctors about it, but they don't seem to believe me. I had recorded how I felt this one time about it and this is it: I said " I could hardly walk, definitely couldn't stand up straight and it was hard to find a comfortable position and when I did it didn't last very long. The pain was so excruciating that I started crying. ( and I HATE crying) nobody understood me. Everybody kept telling me to just basically ignore the pain. I couldn't. I tried pain killers, sleep, hot water bottle, etc. When I go to the nurses at school they all start off trying to help but eventually they just stop believing me and telling me that thier job is to keep me in school b/c I've missed so many days b/c of it. So I just spend the rest of the school tossing turning in thier office. As the years go on the pain just becomes worse and worse. But I only get it around and on my period. My mom had cysts but the doctors won't test me for them. They always tell me to wait awhile, prescribe me bills that only work if I take over the recommended dose and tell me to come back if the pain persists. And it always does.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 21, 2012:
You are very welcome Karla. Remember that if you aren't getting satisfactory responses from the doctors you are seeing it is always an option to insist on a second or even a third opinion. I hope they manage to resolve your problem whether it is partially as a result of endo, cysts or something else completely.
Karla on June 20, 2012:
Hey, thank you so much for this info it's so helpful.
I started my period at 10 years old and ever since I can remember I always had bad cramps, but recently since around 13 they became worse and I was so irregular, to this day (I am 18). Sometimes I wouldn't get my period for 4-5 months. People would say I'm lucky but they don't know that when I did get it it was hell! My flow was ridiculously heavy that on some days I couldn't sit in class for 10 mins, with an extra large night pad on, without staining. And the cramps just increased with time. Then I started growing an abnormal amount of hair on my legs and tummy, plus I began gaining a lot of weight. My doctor said that both my period and hair-gain were normal (but everything is normal to her!).
But we knew something was wrong so we went to a different doc and they ran some blood tests. They said my body was producing too many male hormones and gave me some meds. But, as an ignorant and mediocre 14 year old, I stoped taking it (I regret that now).
Recently I went to the gyno about my irregularity (I'm now down to 3 months off) and first he said it was because I was overweight and sent me to the nutritionist, but ran some tests to make sure. The ultrasound results suggest I may have a cyst in my right ovary and that both are bigger than their normal sizes. However, that gyno wasn't taking it seriously and said it was fine; plus he was acting like a jerk, so I stopped going. Now I know that this may be the cause of my terrible pains, every time I just feel like dying! Now I will go to a new doctor and insist they act upon this. Thanks for helping me realize. You were so much help.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 19, 2012:
Hi Terra, I wish I could tell you if this will help, but as I have never had a partial hysterectomy I can't speak from any experience like I have done in the rest of this article. I have to assume from your post that you have tried Mefenamic Acid and Magnesium already with no success? If not I recommend you try them as they are the best things you can use, (often way better than pain killers of any strength). Also read my other hub on alternative ways to control period pains (linked to at the start of this one).
For what it is worth I do sympathise with you having to deal with idiots in the medical profession telling you this is 'in your head and there is nothing they can do'. I really hope the next gynecologist you are seeing is more helpful and investigates endo before doing anything as drastic as a partial hysterectomy.
Terra on June 19, 2012:
Hi, I'm 26 yrs old and I had my tubes tied a year ago and for 6 months now I have chronic pain and when I start my period I am bed ridden for 4 days from the cramps. I have been to 4 different doctors and multiple times in the emergency room and every doctor I have been to and explained to them that when I am on my period I fill a super plus tampon and an overnight pad in less than an hour. All 4 of the doctors I have seen and the Hospital doctors have all told me the symptoms that I have are in my head and there is nothing they can do but reading your article and listing the symptoms about endo I have pretty much all of them. I have been put on birth control and prescription pain killers an they don't do anything. I found an obgyn that would see me and I have an appointment July 11th and this doctor is considering a partial hysterectamy. I guess what I'm asking is would it take the constant agonizing pain away because I can't go through anymore pain!!! I would honestly go through labour again before another month of being bed ridden
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 15, 2012:
Hi universaluniverse, I have my other hub (linked to in the first paragraph of this one) which is packed with other ideas you can try to alleviate your pain. Just click on the blue text and you will be on the other hub.
I don't know how old you are, but please do not rule out the idea of going to the doctors in the future if things do not improve. This could save your life if things are more serious that you or your Mum realise.
universaluniverse on June 15, 2012:
Hey. I am sorry to be bothering you. But I have had horrible cramps where I have cried and screamed from the pain. I remember when I was getting my frost tattoo when my period cramps were starting up and I thought the cramps were too unbearable for me to sit in that chair anymore! Sometimes (this happened for the first time two months ago) my cramps will have been so light that I was amazed. But now their back and worse than ever! My mom will not take me to the doctors. Rather shell say shes sorry and that there is nothing she can do about it. So I have been forced to try to figure things out on my own. My cramps are horrible and weeks before my period I get leg pain that my mom worried was a blood clot. I get flitting with my period maybe dime sized at the most? I have tried begging my mom for going ti a hospital. She is aCNA so I figured she she would worry. But she does not. Are there any at home ways to relieve my pain?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 24, 2012:
Well Sam I am not a doctor, and can only speak from my own experience, but firstly I would say yes it could be a cyst or endometriosis (based on my experiences and knowledge). Secondly I would strongly advise you against any contraception that is based on withdrawal to avoid sperm getting inside the vagina as this was always well known a method that DOES NOT WORK. Sperm can get inside your vagina even from the outside area, and doctors will tell you they know hundreds of Mothers who were supposedly using withdrawal as a means of contraception. Usually men who don't want to use condoms suggest this to their girlfriends!!
Right now I would wait and see what the doctor says, but endometriosis may not show up on an ultrasound and could well only be discovered when you have a laparoscopy to check internally.
Good Luck :)
Sam on April 24, 2012:
Thank you for sharing your story.
I am 19 and started my period when I was 10. It was always irregular and I even didn't get it for 3 months at one point. Sometimes the pain was extremely severe to the point where I would stay in bed all day. I started on the pill last year and ever since then they've been much shorter, lighter, always on schedule, and less painful. I unfortunately was diagnosed with HSV1 genitally this year. I contracted it from my boyfriend who didn't know he had it. After being diagnosed I started having frequent urination and sometimes painful urination. I was put on medication for a UTI by my general practitioner. They symptoms persisted and my urine came back bacteria free. I went to by gyno and have a pelvic ultrasound and they said everything looked good. No cysts, no anything. I went to a urologist and had a cystoscopy done and my bladder was fine. They put me on a medicine for overactive bladder and the symptoms went away. Now I have a new issue. I'm having bad, period like cramps that radiate from near my bladder, into my back, into my right hip, and down my leg. My period's not due for 13 days and I've had the cramps for five days now. They got progressively worse after stressing out about college work. The cramp like pain was subtle and would come and go throughout the day, only lasting for a few seconds at a time. Today it is bad and has been nonstop, and it's giving me a headache. I was told cysts could pop up over night. I have an appointment with the gyno again tomorrow, but I guess my question is do you think it could be a cyst or endometriosis? Those two things have crossed my mind. They didn't see any abnormal tissue in the ultrasound and that was only a month ago. Me and my boyfriend did have unprotected sex a day after my last period ended and the pain started 5 days later. He never finishes inside, but I know the rhythm method and birth control are not 100%. It seems too early to have implantation pain though. I have an IBD too and I know the intestines are all in that area, but I've had IBD all my life and have never had pain like this before. I'm just so nervous right now. I don't know if it's my bladder, the HSV, ovulation, IBD, pregnancy, or what.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 23, 2012:
You sound perfectly normal Jasmine, so I wouldn't worry. What you describe is standard for most women. The hot water bottle will work well, but as well as this suggestion there are tonnes more in my other article on how to reduce period pains, (linked to within this article). Thanks for commenting.
jasmine on April 23, 2012:
I'm 23 years old and I think I got my period when I was around 12-13. usually only have cramps on the first or second day of my period. sometimes it's bad and sometimes I hardly feel it at all. I know my mother used to have bad cramps too so I don't think it's an ovarian cyst as I don't have any of the other symptoms but this article did help and i'm glad that Im not the only one suffering from pain. Could also because because I'm useless at dealing with pain in general.
What I find really helps for me is lying down on the floor with a hot water bottle under my stomach.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 15, 2012:
No this is not normal, but before you try to explore endometriosis and cysts as a potential cause, I would recommend you try the Mefenamic Acid and the Magnesium tablets, as well as reading and trying the other methods I recommend in my second hub, (linked to from this article). Good Luck.
Emma on April 15, 2012:
hi,i'm 16years old and frist started my period at the age of 9.over the years its gone from painful(pretty much normal for the first couple of years?)then they were okay-ish.The first day/two would be hell.however the remaining 3day were ok.However over the last year they've been awful. i've always had back&stomach ache,however i've been feeling weak,head aches,dizzyness,threwing up,ending up coming home from school,crying,being in bed for 7:30pm everynight for 5/6nights.Sometimes it was hard to walk-isn't an over reaction.and having 3days off school,which i can't really afford.i trynd atted school as it's mylast year,however i've been sick,fainted,cryed etc dto the pain,andhaving to go home.Is this normal? am i doing anything wrong?i drink plenty of water,eat health-ish.thanks.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 07, 2012:
Hi Lisa, Get your doctor to prescribe you the Mefenamic Acid and also buy yourself some magnesium tablets from the chemist or health food shop, both of these should help. You could also get some great ideas from reading my other article that I linked to in this one as it has lots of suggestions to ease period pains. If all else fails insist on your doctor referring you for further tests, and mention cysts and Endometriosis as possibilities when talking to him or her.
Lisa on April 07, 2012:
I suffer from periods cramps mostly the second day of my period ! I sweat a lot become so weak even to work up the stairsin I vomit and feel really cold. Doctors always give me painkillers no help at all . I'm 27 and been suffering since I was 15 . I had bad one today so I thought I will google a d found your article. My periods are irregular never knows when it will come in the month sometimes the first other times 16, 28 , 20.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 20, 2012:
Hi KnowName, firstly you say your period is always a week late, but that sounds to me like your body merely has a 35 day cycle instead of a 28 day cycle. Many women have cycles of differing lengths, so for you this may end up being totally normal for the years to come.
A period that lasts 4-7 days is also perfectly normal, although as you have only been having periods a couple of years you might find this changes over the next few years, (as might the length of your cycle as I described earlier).
Getting the cramps from a few days before up to the second day or so is also perfectly normal.
Basically it sounds as if all is as it should be and you have no serious grounds for concern. As the years go on you will probably find the pain reduces naturally. I still think you would have better results by using Mefenamic Acid (prescription only) in conjunction with the Advil, and as the Mefenamic Acid will stop the worst of the cramps, you might not even need the Advil, or to miss a day's school each month.
I hope this helps and puts your mind at ease.
KnowName on March 20, 2012:
I'm 16 and i've had my period since i was 14. Every month i get the worse period cramps i usually have to miss atleast one day of school because of them. My mother and sister dont get cramps so they dont know what its like. My period is always a week or more late and lasts a full week. I have a some what heavy flow and cramps usually appear anywhere from 2-3 days before till the second day in. I'm guessing i dont really have anything because when i take advil the pain goes away within an hour but if i dont take any the pain is so bad that i cant move from my bed. Do you think it could be anything?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 18, 2012:
Good Luck Julia, I really hope you don't have a severe problem like endometriosis, but if you have, then at least something can be done (to a point), and you would at least know why.
Julia on March 18, 2012:
I've had horrible cramps for the last few years, and I've dealt with unexplained depression and anxiety during that time as well. I just wanted to thank you for posting this, I probably never would have paired the two together before, I'll be sure to get it checked out :)
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:
PS. I honestly cannot imagine what a senior family member could even attempt to do in order to cure you of period pains, or help a girl who has now married to get pregnant. What I do know is that if the girl (now married and struggling to conceive) truly believes her Grandmother can 'cure' the problem so she can get pregnant, then the placebo effect can kick in, and because that girl believes she is cured, she relaxes and her body takes over and she gets pregnant. The key is her absolute 'belief' in the fact she is now cured, not that her family did anything to change the cause of her problem.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:
I am sorry Vera, I hope you can find some of my ideas helpful to ease your pain, but I don't know what to say to you about your beliefs about period pains. A Grandmother or family member can't cure them unless by making suggestions like I have here and in my other article. They are definitely not some kind of bizarre contraceptive! This is something you need a doctor for, and once you understand what a period pain is, (a cramp) you will realise it has no connection to your ability to get pregnant (or not) unless it is caused by something like endometriosis or cysts on the ovaries, in which case getting pregnant is much harder anyway, and the only cure (which is not guaranteed to last) is actual surgery. What you have been told is a classic example of an 'old wives tale', in other words a belief that has been around so long people are sure it is true, even when science has shown it to be untrue. It is essentially a superstition not based on facts.
I don't know what the level of medical care is where you are, but if you can, get your doctor to give you Mefenamic Acid tablets which will usually stop the cramping and therefore the pain, but will make no difference to the chances of you getting pregnant.
If the tablets don't work and the medical care is good they should be able to investigate further for cysts or endometriosis. Both of which can stop you ever getting pregnant if left alone untreated, although women do still get pregnant sometimes with these conditions, it is just a lot harder. These problems will not go away on their own, they need medical intervention.
Vera on March 12, 2012:
I am from South Africa m Afraid dat Belief still exists it has also been Proven to be correct, majority of teenagers and elders that have had period pains dat were unbearable, couple of months down da line they do Fall pregnant, none the less my family wont cure me, as they say period pains never killed any body. The only tym u can be cured is when u get married or Lobola has been paid for you, Lobola refers to bride Wealth, majority of women who cuddnt concieved in their marriage, suffering from period pains have been cured and they are now wid children of their own, i need help, bcoz for me this is unbearable, but any of the doctors i attend to just tell me to go home give me sum pain killers and they assume all will be well
Vera on March 12, 2012:
I am from south africa, as much as i would hate to believe it it happens, alot of the people i know around our area have been through this , complaining bout period pains, the grandmothers in the family refusing to cure it, but immidiately after they married struggling to concieve, they go back home, seeking this cure, then before u know it coupla months down the line a person the person it Preggo, i Hope m not being a joke making myself a fool but its real, il will Most Definately Read ur article thank you
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 12, 2012:
You would probably do well to read my other hub on how to reduce severe period pains (linked to in this one).
I don't understand where on earth your family got the idea period pains act as a protection from getting pregnant, but this is a ridiculous incorrect belief. Period pains have zero impact on whether you get pregnant or not unless they are caused by one of the main reasons I list in this hub, e.g. endometriosis or cysts, in which case you might risk NEVER getting pregnant if the problem is not addressed. Can I ask what country you are from without being too patronising, as many countries are a long way behind in knowledge of modern medicine and the human body? (sorry but this is very much a fact).
Vera on March 11, 2012:
Hi i am 24 years old, i have never relly had period pains all my years until like three years ago, i Really do not know wat to make of em now, i have a regulor period, i think even though lately out two months ago it changed i would like to assume that my cycle was changing in all i could be wrong, what is worring me is that when i get my period i have this severe pain in my abdomin, My feet swell up u can literally see veins, i have these severe cramps, it get so upset every little thing seems so annoying, these cramps are in intervals one minute m okay, the next minute m all curled up and in tears my poor boyfriend has to hold my hand n just stare at me because theres absolutely nothing he can do about it, but for me this last for a day, ive been to the doctor and they told me that it was my kidneys because there was not enuf water in my body, the worste part my family dnt want this cured because they say i might fall pregnant as m still young???? They say period pains are anada form of protectionfrom getting pregnant, please help the pain is unbearable
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 09, 2012:
I can't answer this properly 'PLEASE HELP' because I know absolutely nothing about Oratene. What I would say is this sounds like it is most likely to be a very unfortunate coincidence and that at the age you are, you would probably have got the period pains anyway. This should not be embarrassing for you at all, and I strongly suggest you speak to your GP about this. Also read my other article (linked to in this one). If your doctor is a man consider asking for a female doctor for one appointment. Trust me, my first pap smear test was a male doctor (I was 17), now that WAS embarrassing.
Remember Mefenamic Acid tablets are a Godsend for most period cramp sufferers.
PLEASE HELP!! on March 09, 2012:
Hi guys, im almost 16 and got my first period at 13, ive always had irregular periods, always. But never had much period pains until i started taking Oratene, they are pills for acne. Once i went on these ive had really really bad cramps. Im too embarrassed to say anything to anyone. Is this going to be permanent or just whilst im onthe pills? Please help!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 08, 2012:
Thanks Louise, do let me know how you get on. Just don't take no for an answer and don't let them make you feel bad for expecting them to do their jobs.
Louise on March 08, 2012:
I know its ridiculous because from everything i have read, fertility is vastly affected. I'm sorry to hear you're unable to conceive and about your late husband but i just wanted to let you know how much i truly appreciate you taking the time to respond and for posting this blog, it has made such a difference in coping with this.
I also dont know why they havent done the internal probe i didnt object to it, they just wont touch me because 'ive never been sexually active'.I have never had a pap smear either so the mind does start to race if its something serious.. oh god is it cancer ..etc.
I will take your advise and print off as much info to take with me and also see about getting a 'qualified' consultant though im doubtful- it seems to be take what your given or lump it sort of attitude. I really am made to feel like a nuisance and a hassle like there is nothing wrong with me.
Thankyou once again,
If I have any luck I'll report back
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 08, 2012:
Sorry Louise, I am still choking that they told you it doesn't effect fertility... WTF, it is common knowledge it effects fertility, and is the very reason I can't get pregnant now.
I don't know if you use tampons or not, and if you have ever had a smear test, but assuming the answer to either of those questions is yes, then I can't see any reason why they can't give you the trans vaginal scan. The probe isn't much bigger than a tampon. This would only tell you about cysts of course.
When you go back to your GP ask to be referred to a different gynae, and usually they will have a consultation with you before it gets as far as the hospital. If you are concerned by the level of care and knowledge in Scotland ask if you can be referred to another part of the UK instead.
The lap is only a tiny incision, and the only risks I can see are from the GA itself. Yes it may come back clear, but at least you can rule out that concern if it does.
When I had my first surgery it was as a result of my seeing my Doctor because my late Husband and I were not having any success at having children together. He was already a Father twice over from his first marriage, so the first person to check out was naturally me. Apart from anything else I hadn't been on the pill for years, and had never got pregnant. The NHS doctor referred me to a gynaecologist who did the ultrasound which discovered the cyst. When they did the lap they discovered the endometriosis was everywhere inside me and explained to me this was probably the main reason I wasn't getting pregnant. Keyhole surgery was not so possible then, which meant I had to be booked in to hospital to have both the cyst and as much endo as possible removed, and then had to stay in there for a week. Sadly I still never got to have a baby because Hubby died soon afterwards.
Fast forward to about four years ago, and my current Husband and I wanted a baby. Here in Guernsey I went to my doctor who referred with to an excellent gynae called Mr Haskins here in Guernsey. An ultrasound showed another cyst, and as I had a history of endo he arranged for me to have a lap to go in and remove the cyst and do a dye test to make sure my tubes weren't blocked. This time I was only in overnight. Sadly when they went in the endo was back, and my reproductive system was a mass of adhesions caused by the endo. They couldn't even find my ovaries to do the dye test, so I can only assume they had to leave the cyst there too, (to be honest I forgot to ask). Bottom line, no babies going to happen without a miracle. He then referred me for IVF, but due to a low ovarian reserve this also proved an unlikely solution, so we didn't go through with it (very expensive as we would have to pay for it because we are from Guernsey and not part of the UK).
So to answer your question the doctors suggested it both times, and the first time it was through the nhs, the second time it was here on Guernsey so not through the nhs. It was also the first doctor who suggested endo to me, I had never heard of it before then.
All I can recommend you do now is spend some time online contacting medical clinics that refer to Endometriosis on their websites etc and try to get as much evidence sent to you as possible leaflets etc so that you can present this to your next gynae before they get a chance to claim such utter rubbish as 'it won't effect fertility'.
Louise on March 08, 2012:
Hi, thankyou so much for your response. Well because im a virgin they havent done an examination on me or the trans vaginal scan, they have only quickly felt over my tummy.
Im in scotland and the gynae's only option was throwing the pill at me and now i cant even take that, they arent remotely bothered about finding the cause. I've also been told it doesnt affect you not even fertility!!!
So now im going back to my GP to ask to be referred to a different hospital for a second opinion but even then i doubt they will be able to understand and give me a lap. How can a qualified gynae ignore endo symptoms and not do a lap they just say it has more risks than benefits and it will prob come back clear... but i have sooo many of the symptoms?! The NHS is truly a joke, im still in pain with another day off college after being up all night.
Did you go through the nhs and did the doctor suggest to you endo/lap or did you ask them?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 07, 2012:
Push for the specialist for certain. A laparoscopy is easy surgery, you are in and out in 24 hours these days. I was in for a week the first time. I seem to recall my first surgery was done in Kent in the UK. This is basic stuff,I have even had it done here in Guernsey within the last five years, and we are 20 years behind the UK.
Have they even told you how they know it isn't endo when no laparoscopy has taken place? !!!!
They are misleading you hugely if they say painful sex is the only symptom (Grrrrr), this is a lie. My Sister was told that pain throughout the month was a symptom of endo (another complete inaccurate fact as pain happens during your period). What a load of idiots are practicing medicine.
Have they even done a vaginal ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts as a possible cause?
Did you know women with endo are 3 times as likely to develop ovarian Cancers?
Your biggest problem is that if it is endo there is not cure, but it can be removed to a large degree, (it will come back over time). The main thing is you get a respite from the pain for a few years (all going well), and your fertility will benefit too.
Don't take no for an answer, and go elsewhere if you have to. I am stunned that when I had a successful laparoscopy in about 1999-2000 in England in the UK, they are now unwilling to do this 12 years later. Seriously shocking and unforgivable on the NHS's part.
Louise on March 07, 2012:
Hi again, i think i first wrote here about a year ago. My pain is getting worse and i finally convinced my GP to send me to a gynae after seeing 5 doctors. 6 months later and i was given a trans abdominal scan which showed nothing unusual. I then went into see a doctor who i believe wasnt even a gynae, he was just standing in and had to look up diannete which i had finally agreed to try despite breast cancer running in my family. Then my own doctor phoned the next day to verify taking the pill and it turns out as i take strong migranes the risk of stroke would be too high and i cant take it. Aargh If this had been mentioned months ago.. im desperate i dont know what to do. They just keep saying it prob isnt endo(im 19) and that a laparoscopy has risks. they have no clue about endo... and this is a gynae specialist department i was told the only symptom is painful sex and im a virgin so i cant comment except around my period i get agonising cramps when orgasming (tmi sorry). Ive been curled up all day in agony and im past the point of coping. In the UK they dont seem to have qualified people who could do a laparoscopy safely and competently but i feel ive got to find out what it is. Im unwell for 2 weeks a month, constant dizziness, pelvic pain, nausea and faint when i stand up... and the horrid pain. No anti inflammatories work or strong painkillers i tried menfamenic acid too, no difference.
What do you recommend, should i try the diet approach and forget a diagnosis or should i push to see a specialist for a lap? though im scared they wont find anything and ill look like a hypochondriac, though judging by the pain im in i know there's something wrong.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 01, 2012:
Do read my other article alaya, you will probably find it very helpful all round. Depending on how old you are now it is probably worth you giving your doctor a load of earache until he or she looks into your pain further. I suffered for many years because my doctors kept telling me my pains were 'normal' and it still makes me so angry when I hear nothing has changed and they are still doing this to potential sufferers of cysts or endometriosis.
alaya on March 01, 2012:
i have had the same horrible problems since i was 15 when i first started having my period an still have had no answers they just brush it off to me having bad femail cramps.... on yahoo diamondalaya22
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 28, 2012:
Good Luck Courtney, I never found Ibuprofen helped in my case, but Mefenamic Acid did due to the fact it is an anti-cramp medication rather than painkiller. Speak to your doctor about it when you are there. Do let me know how you get on after you have seen him.
Courtney on February 28, 2012:
I am 28 and was on Ortho-Tri-cyclon since I was 17 years old, until July 2011 when I was having side effects. I decided to go off since I was getting married in November anyway and plan on trying to have children this Summer/Fall. Well my periods are on time to the 28th day, but I only have my period for 1 full day and the second day very light to nothing at all. Two months ago I woke up with the most severe pain ever.. I felt like I was having contractions, tears were running down my face and I would have the pain subside for like 10 seconds and then return. ( I have never been pregnant before, so this is what I think contractions would feel like). My lower back also was hurting and I almost puked while having cold sweats. I take IB Profin and the pain finally subsides after an hour, but it's so awful. Last Friday morning at 3:30, I woke up with the same awful pain, my husband gave me a heating pad and seemed to help a little, but i think the IB Profin was the cure for the pain. I plan on going to the doctor next week to make sure I am ok to have children. I am scared, I hope I am ok.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 27, 2012:
Any time Valerey :)
Valerey on February 27, 2012:
Wow, thanks for the advice !
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 27, 2012:
My pains started to diminish after I hit my late twenties and early thirties, but of course during that time I had two lots of surgery for both cysts and endometriosis which probably helped to a large degree. My Sister didn't have any diagnosed problems or surgery therefore, and her period pains are very manageable these days, so I would hope yours will get easier either way. All the same, I would want to be thoroughly checked out for cysts and Endometriosis in your shoes, especially based on what I now know and how many years I needlessly suffered for as a result of doctors not looking into my problems further.
Valerey on February 27, 2012:
It does help, I've had my period since I was 10 and now at 23 the pain has gotten worse throughout the years, not better, but thanks for sharing your story !
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 27, 2012:
Maybe the best way to get them to listen to you might be to print off this article, or at least key paragraphs of it, and either send them to your doctor in advance of your appointment along with a covering letter, or take them with you to point out areas you feel prove further investigations need to be done in your case.
Good Luck and I hope this helps :)
Valerey on February 27, 2012:
Wow this article literally explained how I feel every single month, exruciating pan that keeps me hom from school, I feel like someone is ripping my insides out of me! My periods are regular, but they are extrememly heavy (a pad isn't enough)..nothing seemes to help and the problem is I am 23 and a college student with insurance through my school, every doctor send me away and tells me to take 600 mg of motrin which does absolutely nothing! I don't know how to make them listen to me, its so frustrating to be in so much pain & discomfort, I even get headaches because of it..but its interesting to know that I'm not the only one !
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 25, 2012:
I would suggest you do see a doctor Allie, as if you were having regular periods the pain would probably not be so intense. Your body is not functioning as it should right now which is quite probably the reason the pain is so bad when you do have those rare periods. It can no doubt be easily solved, and although you will probably still get some level of cramps, these can be controlled through the use of tablets like Mefenamic Acid and Magnesium.
One day you will probably want a baby, and you don't want to find out that ignoring this problem has ended up causing any kind of fertility issues.
Allie on February 25, 2012:
I’m 20. My first period started when I was 11 and they’re very irregular. They only last about 5 days and I never know when they’re coming because they doesn’t return until maybe 2, 3, or 4 months later. When I was 17 I only got my period twice the entire year. But I’m actually glad I don’t get my period often because when I do the pain is horrible! I end up crying, crawling into fetal position rolling back and forth clutching my stomach. Sometimes I feel dizzy, nauseous, or vomit and I have to crawl to various rooms because it hurts too much to stand up. Nothing seems to help. I haven't seen a doctor about it yet because I’m terrified they’ll try to regulate my periods and I do not want to have this pain every month.
chey1990 on February 24, 2012:
thank you. and i will be back to inform what ever the doctor says. thank you again.