When I was young I suffered terribly. If I didn't take pain killers before the pain started I would be reduced to pacing about like a caged tiger. Spent many nights walking up and down the living room - was like being in labour, although I didn't realise that at the time.
After DC, the pain stopped completely and for about 10 years I didn't take any pain killers at all. Then it started to return, was entirely manageable at first and lasted only a few hours but now it's day three of my period and I'm still in pain. Not the extreme pain I used to get but pretty severe discomfort.
I'm 45. Is this to be expected as I get older, or a sign that something could be wrong?
It may well be that you had endometriosis when you were younger; this is a common yet much under diagnosed cause of severe period pains. What you describe in terms of pain is not untypical of an endometriosis sufferer. It can recur over time as well, endo can become chronic thus causing less pain but pain all the same.
I would ask for a referral to a gynae and do not take no for an answer from the GP. Pills are all well and good but you need to determine the actual cause. This is not a problem for a GP to deal with as this is outside their remit. Fibroids do not cause such painful periods to arise and this is a long standing problem.