Talking about personal health problems as a form of advocating can be tough and I just realized what a tough job the HIV/AIDS activists have when they share parts of their life stories to encourage and help preserve other sufferers.
But if I don’t speak out, no one will. There is limited awareness on the causes of menstrual dysmenorrhea or severe painful periods but I found some quit alarming causes.
For 9 years I suffered from dysmenorrhea. During my periods if I had no pain killers I couldn’t walk because I would feel sharp pains in my lower stomach, I would have severe diarrhea and it was just next to impossible to see me walk during my periods unless I was on strong pain killers.
Those pain killers were my only consolation because they made it possible for me to be like other normal women. Without them I was bed ridden throughout that period until my periods were gone. In high school it was a normal thing since I wasn’t the only sufferer and my mother had given me several pain killers to curb the pain.
I still remember one particular girl who always received diclofenac injections throughout her periods but none of us ever questioned why we had such severe pain while others walked freely during their periods.
As I grew older my body stopped responding to the pain killers, there were no more pain killers stronger than what I was using except for mefenamic (which I hated using because it made my periods irregular or stopped the bleeding immediately). In 2013, I requested my mother to put me on stronger pain killers but she refused to upgrade them and also refused me to use family planning pills to alter my periods. I had to suffer through every month.
At first I thought her decision was the worst because I started over dosing on some of the pain killers I was formerly using amidst screams and growls. But the overdose did me no good except for leaving me groggy and worked up with pain.
I loathed every beginning of a new month because I knew what was coming. The situation was not getting any better until I came across this story about a woman who had severe pain during her periods in her teenage and never cared about it until she started spotting( irregular bleeding) during the month when not in her periods.
When she visited the gynecologist she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and she was told the severe pain was because of it. That story pulled me off my cart wheels and I went in for a consultation with a gynecologist. I guess it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself.
The consultation began with a few basic checkups then I did a stomach scan and a cervical cancer test. Luckily the cancer test came back negative but I got a very shocking revelation during my scan. The lab doctor looked in closely and said my womb was weird. Normally what he sees are V shaped wombs and some L shaped wombs.
I got a bit worried but he told me it was nothing to worry about. The gynecologist told me the scan results showed an abnormal development of my womb. Medically speaking I had endometriosis, endometriosis is a condition where the womb develops abnormally and the abnormality causes the severe menstrual pain and in some cases infertility. My blood froze in my veins, for not once had I ever thought the pain would be caused by something of such serious magnitude.
What was I thinking about all those 9 years of pain, I read up on the condition and medical research showed that the condition is common in women 25-35 years of age and I was 25? It further showed that 20%-50% of patients on fertility treatment have the condition. Luckily the gynecologist told me my condition was not so bad it could be treated and I was not liable for a surgery but in other cases you are required to undergo surgery.
I asked about other medical causes of dysmenorrhea and I was told ovarian cysts, fibroids, pelvic infectious diseases (PID) and an abnormal level of water in the douglas pouch cause the pain. I underwent treatment in January and since February I have experienced painless periods, I don’t have any cases of dysmenorrhea except for the little tingling in my lower stomach.
Do you or someone you know suffer from dysmenorrhea, this should be the time you visit your gynecologist and rule out the cause of that pain.
Share this story or recommend it to your friends I hope my experience will open up a forum for discussion on dysmenorrhea.