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PAINFUL periods

(64 Posts)
mumslife Tue 15-Mar-11 20:50:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

woodland Tue 15-Mar-11 21:19:25

This was my experience of periods from my first period. I'm delighted that your daughter is being given serious pain killers. No one was so compassionate with me and so in my desperation to quell the pain, I overdosed on paracetemol and ibuprofen for years. Thankfully, I don't have any obvious side-effects. Over the years, as well as the pain, I would feel so ill. Then a few years on still, the pain improved a little but the sick feeling was just as debilitating. A few people suggested that after pregnancy my body might correct itself (?) but this hasn't happened. In my third decade of periods, I can finally say that my period is not as painful but I still feel sick and can get headaches. After endometriosis was ruled out, my doctor told me I had, "period pains without a cause" and that some people just get it. It doesn't seem to be genetic, no one else in my family has it. I feel desperately sorry for your daughter and hope you can get to the bottom of it. Personally, I am beginning to take diet and nutrition very seriously. I think it's probably the best thing I've ever tried. If you're interested, I'm finding Marilyn Glenville's writing very interesting. Finally, I have also found a tens machine extremely useful and probably healthier pain killers.

Copper Tue 15-Mar-11 21:32:40

We are just about to try buscopan for the cramps - as recommended on Mumsnet. My ds says the cramps are the worst and has sufferd for years. I've got my fingers crossed tight. You can get it over the counter and apparently they use it in Germany as the first treatment for period pain.

Very hard to get anyone to take period pain seriously, even with fainting, vomiting etc. Hope the new meds work for your DD

Albrecht Tue 15-Mar-11 21:44:03

I had this type of period pain but only for the first 24 hrs. I used to take Paracetamol and Codeine (ask at Pharmacy). As long as I took it as soon as I felt a twinge and kept it up every 4 hours (even at night) it was manageable. Sounds petty but I also had to wear especially comfy trousers.

Since having ds I have had very very little pain - not suggesting this as a solution for a 14 year old mind!

Hope you find something that works for her - I used to dread the end of the month.

foxinsocks Tue 15-Mar-11 21:47:05

ha! I always recommend buscopan to people.

it used to be a firstline treatment for period pain but they don't use it as much any more.

you take it when the cramps come on - it's an antispasmodic so it stops the cramps which normally stops the pain (as the pain comes from cramping) meaning you don't have to overload your body with painkillers

as the cramps are normally only painful for 1-2 days, you don't even need to take it that long

I still carry it around with, 26 years after starting my periods (!) just in case I get very bad cramps suddenly. I find it can take 30 mins - 1 hour to work in severe cramps.

I think it's now called Buscopan IBS but you can buy it on the shelf now in places like Sainsburys and Boots etc.

Scorpette Wed 16-Mar-11 02:01:03

I have severe period pains of the type you describe that your poor DD is having. I don't have endometriosis or any of the other things that can cause them - is just tough luck sad Mine often trigger uncontrollable projectile vomiting which land me in A&E requiring powerful anti-emetics, narcotic painkillers and saline (fun times!). Happily, I am 31 weeks pg, so have had a break for a while. Many Docs say that pregnancy is the only cure - I hope so! FWIW, I've been told that when there's no obvious cause, it's just that one or more sections of the uterus are working too hard to shed that month's womb lining - painful but harmless. I only get this agony on the left.

What worked for me was, yep, Buscopan. Take them with 2 paracetamol - on the continent, women get Buscopan and paracetamol combined in the same tablet for period pains. I also swear by those stick-on hot pads you can buy (some go on the skin but most go over clothes, so a pack of granny pants comes in handy). Most times, these 3 things combined (Buscopan, paracetamol and a hot pad) don't take away all the pain but make it tolerable.

I also had acupuncture for my terrible cramps and whilst it didn't sort them out totally, it took them from 'unbearable' to simply 'bad' and made my 3-pronged approach much more efficacious.

I hope some of our suggestions work for her - good luck!

woodland Wed 16-Mar-11 07:21:43

To clarify, by 'overdose' I meant that I took a few extra tablets over the course of a day above what was recommended. It was the only way I could manage the pain. I was not habitually attempting suicide.

Regarding pain management, I agree with other posters that medicating before it becomes full blown is key. At the first hint of cramps, do something.

mumslife Wed 16-Mar-11 08:08:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

samoa Wed 16-Mar-11 09:01:58

I am sorry to hear that your daughter is going through so much pain.

I also have extremely painful periods. Did all the tests etc and was told that I had sever Dysmenorrhea. I tried all painkillers and even ended up in A&E because the pain was so severe. But none of the painkillers have worked. everything would basically start 2 weeks before the period, with severe PMS and confusion and then the pains, then 2 days in bed spaced out with painkillers. But as I said the painkillers never worked, they just made me feel spaced out and then I developed a serious allergy to them.

I started my period when I was 9 but the pain only came on when I was 12 years old.

The only thing I do now to help me is to take the pill non-stop in phases of 3 months so that I do not have periods. Then on my month where I stop the pill and I have my period I use TENS machine, which helps quite a lot.

It is very difficult because many people, even gyneacologists, think that you are exaggerating. It even took my mother quite a bit of time to understand the amount of pain I was in.

Having a baby has not helped with the pain. But really the TENS machine was great help for me, does not take the pain away but takes the edge of it.

NightLark Wed 16-Mar-11 09:14:11

I'm really glad your daughter is getting help.

On the flip side, I'm always astonished when people don't get / only get very mild period pains, as my experience was of vomiting & having diarrhoea, crawling to and from the bathroom and just curling up and weeping because of the amount of pain I was in every month from the age of 11. Also had heavy (7-8 day) and regular periods from the beginning. I did't get any sympathy - my mum didn't like to talk about 'women's things', so good on you for being there to help.

I was eventually prescribed something called Ponstan by my GP, and also used to take medication to stop my periods entirely when I had exams - IIRC, you could take it for 3 months at a time.

Going on the pill helped a bit, and after my first child I have been pretty much pain free (and labour wasn't that much of a shockgrin).

Am36butfeel66 Wed 16-Mar-11 09:15:51

Think carefully before you ask about the pill. I was put on Dianette at 14 for painful periods, and took it for years..only prob is that at 19 I developed depression and have had it on and off since....drs now believe there is a link between teenage use of certain Pills and depression.
A hot water bottle or two can also help the spasms along with pain killers. Codeine pain killers are good, but they can also slow up the gut making pain sometimes worse I found. Dr prescribed me 20mg of Buscopan for the cramps as well as ibuprofen type pain if the 10 mg doesn't help her, they may be able to invcease her dose. A tens machine is also good. Period pain unfortunately for some doenst go away with one tablet, it needs a few different things used at the same time to help...tens at her back, hot water bottle at front, Buscopan, paracetamol, ibuprofen and a big hug! X

samoa Wed 16-Mar-11 09:33:06

actually i also found that Osteotherapy has helped me a lot recently. I would go for one or two sessions before starting my period and I did notice a great difference.

Scorpette Wed 16-Mar-11 12:00:48

Mumslife, be reassured that her having the pain on the left only doesn't mean there's a problem there - as I said, I've only ever had period pains on the left (and funnily enough, only had pregnancy stretching pains on the left too!), but it's only because the left hand side of my womb is more muscular/sensitive.

I also found one lying down position helpful - lay fairly flat and put your legs in the same kind of position you adopt when having a smear - feet together and let your legs flop to the side. This stretches the pelvic muscles and can force cramping ones to relax a bit.

I took the pill at 18 for a few years and it did help but it messed my general health up and made me put weight on (although that was a long time ago, so I hope/presume they've improved them now).

I feel quite lucky now, reading some of the experiences here. I only get the pains for 1 day (rarely 2) and I have light periods - which has always confused Docs, as severe cramps plus light bleeding doesn't seem logical. The 'wonders' of the human body, eh?! hmm

mumslife Wed 16-Mar-11 20:26:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amyamyamy Wed 16-Mar-11 20:43:41

I sympathise - also VERY painful periods when I was younger...also ending up in A and E on occasion. Labour was NO worse grin My period pains indeed got loads better after childbirth. I have since discovered that I have a bleeding disorder that affects about 1% of women:

Apparently the high level of blood loss is what can cause the uterine contractions if the blood cannot flow out quickly enough (ie with a tight cervix pre-childbirth) so if you can stem the blood flow the pain goes. This is EASILY done with a nasal spray.

Why, oh why, did that take 25 years for someone to tell me this? Answer: you need to see a haemotologist and not an obstetrician. Staggering really but a simply blood test will tell you if this is the problem. I wish more people knew about it. Do ask your GP for a referral for the test and then you might be able to dispense with the painkillers AND your daughter would be less likely to get anaemic through blood loss. Also, she could avoid a post partum haemorrhage on childbirth (how my blood disorder was finally noticed)

frazmum Thu 17-Mar-11 20:49:39

My DD suffers the same as your daughter. She is now almost 17 and at 14 had the same pain levels. Sounds like you're on some good meds - sympathetic GP makes a big difference. For the nausea we have tablets from the GP, also you can buy Ginger and Lemon syrup which is good hot or cold (good for a drink bottle for school) and stock up on whatever she is able to eat to keep her metabolism up.

Things are now a lot better, though still has the odd bad months and relies each month on the Mefenamic Acid. With the pain, watch out for fainting. Also we found we could sometimes take her in later to school so she didn't miss too much. Lots of sympathy from all the family (DH has spent hours sitting by her bed holding her hand).

amyamyamy Fri 18-Mar-11 12:07:16

Seriously, please get your daughters a blood test for Von Willebrands.......I would have had 15 years less pain had someone given me that at 14 and it is NOT uncommon and it is wildly underdiagnosed. There is nothing to lose, and all to gain. ASK your GP and they might say "oh, yes, that's a good idea." Please.

Meantime, make sure your daughter has plentiful Vitamin K as this reduces menstrual bleeding:

I found that bananas really helped with cramping too (like tennis players use them for tennis cramp).

Avoid parsley which causes uterine contractions (some people eat it to induce childbirth).

But mainly, get that test.

mumslife Fri 18-Mar-11 13:51:12

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AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 20-Mar-11 09:38:09


Its all too easy to be fobbed off and I write from bitter experience.

I was eventually at 31 diagnosed with endometriosis and my symptoms were extremely similar to your DDs when I was 14. Any pain that is cyclical in nature and that gets worse up to and during menses should be investigated further to see if endometriosis is present.

It is very much under diagnosed; it can take a highy experienced gynae cons to spot it in a lap type operation as such lesions are not always typical in appearance.

A & E certainly have their place but this type of issue is truly not their specialty. Your DD would be better off instead seeing a gynaecologist following on from a GP referral. Do not take no for an answer!. Something is causing this and it is in your interests to determine why.

I would certainly mention her previous appendix op to the gynae too; any type of stomach surgery can cause adhesions to arise and these sticky strands can tether organs together and cause pain.

It may be endometriosis that is the root cause here of her painful periods. Endo as well would not show up on any blood test or ultrasound scan as the endometriosis deposits are very small. It is usually only diagnosed through a keyhole surgery op called a laparoscopy.

Mefanemic acid and the like is a short term solution to a long term problem. You need to determine the CAUSE of it and not just treat the symptoms as they arise.

It is also the second most common gyane condition seen in women after fibroids so a specialist referral is needed here.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 20-Mar-11 09:43:09


Your DD may well have had the vitamin K injection done at hospital when she was a newborn.

The underlying causes of endometriosis are still not fully understood.

Have the blood test done by all means but if it comes back negative for Von Willibrands then you need to start looking more closely at endometriosis here being a possible underlying cause.

She ought to at that stage see a gynae specialist as well.

hermioneweasley Sun 20-Mar-11 09:46:23

i am going to sound completely 'woo', but i had painful (though not as painful as your DD) periods, but they were incredibly heavy. Periods lasted for 10 days on a 21 day cycle so i spent half my life bleeding and cramping. GP could only suggest the pill which i wasn't keen on. eventually went for acupuncture, and the difference after one session was amazing. had it for a while and it really sorted my cycle out.

purepurple Sun 20-Mar-11 09:46:52

I had painful periods when i was a teenager and missed lots of school.
I also had a baby with no pain relief and the pain was no worse in labour than I had experienced during my periods, that's haow bad it can be.
I used to get dizzy, pass out, throw up, the lot.
It only got better when I started on the pill, but had to stop taking it after several years as my blood pressure was raised.
The painful periods returned several years ago, and I now have the mirena coil which means I don't have periods at all.
Have you considered the pill?

mumslife Sun 20-Mar-11 09:59:51

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AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 20-Mar-11 15:51:54

Would suggest a pain/symptom diary is kept by her until the time she sees a gynae re this issue. You could record appearance of blood (in terms of colour/clots), record pain levels from 1-10, what was taken to alleviate pain.

Pill will alleviate symptoms if this is endo causing it but will only mask any endo if it is there. It certainly won't get rid of it.

Scan may not show anything untoward, this does not mean that endometriosis is not there however. Endometriosis deposits are not normally seen on an ultrasound scan.

Yes, am on that board too.

Do keep us updated.

mumslife Sun 20-Mar-11 18:51:08

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