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Are severe cramps something to worry about?
Elaine Plummer, RN posted:
Period pain is normal for many women. During and before her period, a woman may experience a variety of aches and pains. The most common are menstrual cramps--the medical name is dysmenorrhea. Many women have no cramps at all; others get slight pain. But some women have cramps that are so painful that it interferes with their daily lives.

There are different kinds of cramps:

? A little discomfort - like a muscle cramp or spasm. Once you realize that it's a menstrual cramp, it doesn't really bother you

? Intense pain - this may be a sharp pain that causes you to double up or cry out

? Pain that spreads - starting in the lower abdomen, radiating up your back and down your legs, or centering in your lower back

? Pain accompanied by dizziness or nausea, diarrhea or vomiting.

If you have slight discomfort, intense, short pain or pain that spreads, you might be able to help yourself. If you suffer from dizziness, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting, or if you experience intense pain that won't go away, see a health care professional.

Usually, over-the-counter painkillers with ibuprofen as the active ingredient will help, along with things like heating pads, warm baths and mild exercise.

You should not be having serious, intense pain every month. If you are, there are prescription medications and medical treatments that may be able to help you. Please discuss it with your health care professional. Be responsible and get help.

What has been your experience with period pain? Have intense cramps caused you to worry and, if so, what did you do about it?
mami111 responded:
I am seeking information because my daughter is 13 and has suffered with severe pain and vomiting that last anywhere from 2 to 3 days of her cycle. It is so bad that she will have to come home from school every month or not go if it starts before she goes to school. I am scheduled to take her to the doctor tomorow but I have been afraid to do so because I think they will only give me the option of starting her on birth control and I really don't want to go that route. But I will consider what the doctor recommends because she can't keep going through this, it is really bad. I give her Ibuprofen and place a heating pad on her but she throws up the medication and the pad only helps a little bit.
Elaine Plummer, RN replied to mami111's response:
Ugh! Sounds like your daughter is having a really rough time with her periods. The first thing I recommend, if nothing else is helping, is what you are already going to do and that is to see a health care provider. Glad that you have that scheduled for today. Along with all that you are already doing, exercise can help relieve cramps. However, with your daughter's extreme symptoms, it might be difficult to make that happen.

About birth control pills, the reason they help menstrual cramps is that they are associated with the decrease of prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins are a hormone like substance found in many tissues of the body. During periods, prostaglandins can cause the muscles of the uterus to contract, sometime to an unwanted intensity. Since ibuprofen isn't helping, you are correct about your doctor possibly wanting to try birth control pills.

While I understand your reservations since your daughter is only 13 years old, discussing your concerns with your doctor will help you make the decision that is best for your daughter.

Best wishes to both of you, as you find some relief for this difficult and painful monthly problem. Please let me know how you both are doing!
aubs82 responded:
I have been having really bad cramps for the past 8 months and last month I called my obgyn and the nurse told me it is normal and to take ibuprofen. The pain is so bad for the first day and only slightly goes away by the second day. Last month I even had really bad cramps the day before. They are so bad that they do give me diarrhea, make me nausious, I am usually WAY exhausted and they usually have me doubled over. It is hard for me to be at work becuase I cant concentrate. Should I go to a different OBGYN?? Last time the ibuprofen seemed to help a little but they only help for about 4-5 hrs then the cramps sneek back up.
I have been off of birth control for about 3 yrs now because my husband and I have been trying to have a baby. When I first stopped taking the pill my periods were WAY off. I went for 52 days at one point without a period, and for a while the normal for me was about 40 days. Now I am inbetween 28-33 days, so it is getting back to normal but it took FOREVER. Also I do get do get cysts so they dont help with the pain. Should I be worring about endometriosis???
Elaine Plummer, RN replied to aubs82's response:
The pain and cramping that you are describing certainly warrants a doctors visit. This is especially important because you want to get pregnant and are worried that you have a condition that may interfere with that. If you have confidence in your doctor, I would schedule an appointment so you can speak directly to him or her about your painful periods, your concerns about endometriosis and cysts and your ability to get pregnant.

Make the appointment efficient by writing your questions ahead of time and then taking notes when he responds. Sometimes it is hard to remember everything you are told when you are not feeling that great and are worried about your reproductive health.

Some things to consider asking during your visit are: What can you do about the discomfort every month since the ibuprofen only helps you a little? You may also ask what the doctor thinks is causing your extreme pain and cramping every month and if there are any medical options to think about. Also, be specific about your pregnancy questions.

About switching doctors, I would never tell someone to get a new doctor, especially when I don't know all of the details about the professional relationship they have. However, I do suggest that you consider your confidence level with your current physician, as well as his responsiveness to your concerns and whether you are getting the medical information and care you think you should have as you weigh your options about staying or changing.

Best wishes in getting the answers you are seeking, as well as the care you deserve
mami111 replied to Elaine Plummer, RN's response:
Thanks for the feedback and the concern. The doctor did not suggest putting her on birth control yet. She wants some blood work taken and told us that the vomiting comes from the cramps so she wants my daughter to take midol or pamprin as soom as she feels her period coming and before the pain starts. She says that these medications work better than Ibupofen. So we will try this next month and hopefully it will work because she says if we tackle the pain before her uterine starts contracting then that will stop the nausia and thus vomiting.
Elaine Plummer, RN replied to mami111's response:
mami111: Thanks for letting me know. Glad you and your daughter have a plan, for next months cycle, to stop the pain before it begins. Hope it does the trick and she can go on being a teenager!
pyahel responded:
I had been on hormonal birth control for about 10 years (starting when I was 15) due to heavy periods that were causing me to become anemic and severe cramping.

I was finally unable to deal with the side effects of the hormones and switched to Paraguard instead.

A month or so after the Paraguard was inserted I started having severe cramps again. The pain radiates down into my thighs and I often have a heavy flow twice a month instead of once, usually about a week apart. If I don't have a flow every two weeks or so, I do have the cramping regardless.

I see a nurse midwife for my regular GYN checkups and told her I was having these cramps and pain during intercourse, which had never happened before and asked if it was my IUD that could be causing it. She said it wasn't likely and sent me for an ultrasound and a follow-up with an MD.

When I went to the MD he said that since the ultrasound came back clear that there must not be anything wrong on my pelvic region and that it must be a GI issue instead. He referred me to a GI doctor, whom I can't afford and have no insurance for - so I never went.

So I'm pretty much still here with the heavy bleeding, severe cramping, and affected sex life being told it's "normal."
An_197098 responded:
I'm 16 yearsold and I've been having my period for about 3 years now. Every time it's horrible. Intense pain that keeps me in bed for the first day or two.I tend to throw up a few times on the first day, I usually feel nauseaus for about 3-4 days of it. I've missed so much school because of cramps and period related issues, I'm starting to really fall behind. My whole body hurts, my joints ache, my head hurts, I get diarrhea. All I want to do is sleep.
I don't always get it, either. Sometimes it will skip a month or two. Once it was 4 months between periods. I've tried birth control, I can't handle it. I lost about 10 pounds while on it. I suffer from minor depression already, and it made me feel ten times more depressed. I was even suicidal at one point. When they took me off of it, I was fine. So I'm really at a loss of what to do here. Any ideas?
Elaine Plummer, RN replied to pyahel's response:
pyahel: So sorry to read about your discomfort and difficulties. I am not an expert on the Paraguard IUD, but I did go to the website to review the prescribing information to see if the symptoms of cramps, heavy flow and pain you are describing have been reported during clinical trials. What I found is that the Prescribing Information includes a chart on the summary of rates by year for adverse events causing discontinuation during clinical trials of Paraguard IUD. In the chart, there is information that states that out of 4,932 women in the first year of use, 11.9% reported bleeding and pain.

I realize that the information above is technical, but I wanted to be exact about what has been reported. If you haven't yet, I suggest you go to the Paraguard IUD website to read more.

Glad you went to your physician, but it sounds like you really do need more care since your symptoms are affecting your life. Is there a university clinic in your area you can go to or another type of clinic that services uninsured patients.

Hope you get some relief and the medical care you need. Best wishes to you.
Elaine Plummer, RN replied to An_197098's response:
An_164968: It sounds like you have been suffering a lot with your period and have a lot of health issues going on that are impacting a 16-year-old life in a negative way. I am so sorry to hear about your situation.

What I strongly suggest is a visit to a health care professional so you can get assessed and appropriately treated. You should not have to be going through this.

I wish you the best and hope that you let me know how you are doing.
Best wishes to you!
bethany_alex responded:
I've been having horrible periods since I started to get them which was around 15 years old. I'll be 18 in May and almost everytime I get my period I cant walk or stand, the cramps and pain keep me in bed for the first day or two, I throw up a couple times the first day and i sweat a lot the first day. My body also shakes and twitches. I also have diarriha a lot and am always on the toilet..I end up crying the whole first day and moaning out loud when it hurts. Theres a lot of pressure on my legs/stomach/down there..and sometimes my bottom hurts..
Only my right leg hurts when I'm on my period and i have back pain. Ive tried heating pads, midol (which has not helped) you think I need to go to the doctors? My mom is about the same..she is in bed the first day of her period, and I dont know about the other problems I had but hers is bad as well. And my sisters have similar problems. I'm not sure if it's normal or if it runs in the family.
crystalraye1978 responded:
For the past year, I've been suffering from severe cramps that start from, what I believe to be ovulation, all then way up to the end of my period. Prior to this, I have had 4 miscarriages in a row, all ending in D & C procedures. I have had all the possible tests that my Dr. could come up with and there is no possible explanation to my inability to carry any more children. I have 4 children already, so I just count my blessings and accepted that I may never have any more kids. Anyway, I have these cramps that last a while, and I take Ibruprofen to ease the pain, only to subside the pain to a dull ache. The thing that's different from all of the posts that I have read is that I only have a period that lasts for 3 days and I have hardly any bleeding. For me, it's almost like I wish for my periods to be a little heavier so that the cramping would stop. To me this sounds odd and that I may have some kind of scarring from my surgeries that are affecting my cycles. I really don't know what to do? Or what to think? My Dr. says my blood work, my tissues, my hormones, pretty much everything is normal! help!!
Elaine Plummer, RN replied to bethany_alex's response:
bethany_alex : You ask if I think you should go to see your doctor about your extreme cramps and other monthly symptoms and I definitely think you should schedule an appointment. It is possible that, depending on the cause, it may be related to your genetic make-up. However, the first step is diagnosis. Then, you can explore options to minimize the discomfort and disruption to your life.

Best wishes with this, as no one deserves such pain every month.
Elaine Plummer, RN replied to crystalraye1978's response:
Read your history and your symptoms and I am so sorry for your discomfort. It sounds like you have been through a lot. While I can't diagnose you, even with the detailed information in your post, I don't think suffering through this is the best course of action.

I suggest the following next steps:
1) schedule another appointment with your doctor to more actively seek answers to what you are experiencing. Sounds like he has done some tests, but more assessment and an action plan is needed. As part of this, you can ask your doctor if there are other medical option possibilities beyond just taking ibuprofen.
2) get a second opinion. Some insurance companies cover second opinions. I hope that yours does or you may have to pay for the appointment. Check with your insurance provider to see if this is an option.

Regardless of whether you see your physician again or someone else to get a second opinion, write down your symptoms, the time of the month they appear and the intensity. Also, write down your questions. Having this information with you will make for a more efficient appointment.

My very best wishes to you and I hope you find some relief soon.

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