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Question for the women re: pain

Discussion in 'Pain and Inflammation' started by Gingergrrl, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    I have a question for the women on PR (sorry guys who may read this :eek:) re: techniques for treating severe menstrual cramps.

    I have had cramps for 30 years now but they vary in severity from mild to feeling like you are being stabbed with a knife and you would rather die than endure the pain. At the very worst, it makes me throw up and I get close to fainting from the pain.

    I cannot find any correlation between the mild months and severe months but it does not seem worse or better pre vs. post ME/CFS.

    This morning I had the most severe cramps in at least two years which is bad timing b/c I am coping with yet another bad reaction to a new medication (not that there is ever good timing for this!)

    There are only two things that help me: pain medication and lying on a scalding hot heating pad.

    I was wondering if anyone else has found anything other than those two things to be helpful? I want to hear it all no matter how ridiculous it sounds b/c every time I go through this I end up with worse PEM and it lowers my functioning which is already about as low as can be without being completely bed bound.

    Thank you in advance and sorry to the men!!!
     
    Countrygirl likes this.
  2. daisybell

    daisybell Senior Member

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    Just plenty of painkillers! I seem to recall reading somewhere that women tend to have a good month I.e. With less pain and cramps followed by a bad one... Which fits for me anyway. So I know if my last period was ok the next one is likely to be less so, and I can plan accordingly!
     
    Gingergrrl likes this.
  3. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    @daisybell I don't actually have a pattern like that and could have several better months in a row or several bad ones in a row. In my healthy days, I could plan ahead b/c I was so active but now that I am so sick, I am not even sure what I could do differently if that makes any sense?!
     
  4. daisybell

    daisybell Senior Member

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    Perfect sense, but how annoying for you!
     
    Gingergrrl likes this.
  5. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I used to have very painful periods (paralysing pain, could only lay there groaning/throwing up) if I didn't take painkillers.

    After many years of managing OKish as long as I took painkillers I learned that it really matters when you take them. You shouldn't wait for the pain to build, or even to start, if you know it's coming: you should get ahead of it. So if you tend to start bleeding before you get pain, or have any sort of pre-warning symptom, start on the painkillers as soon as you know what's coming.

    Also, I took two kinds of painkillers at once (which is possible as long as you follow your doctor's/pharmacist's instructions). I took paracetomol and mefanamic acid. That was a real help.

    I was amazed not to have been given any of this useful info from the get-go. It took me years to find out about it.

    Good luck!
     
    RML, waiting, Hanna and 3 others like this.
  6. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Oh, I do remember that! It is a horrible pain and I used to just about pass out from its intensity too. I relied on scorching hot water bottles..........I think it was the pain of the burn that helped to distract from the cramps. Then there was the sickness and...........well...........let's leave it there. After about 20 years of this a female GP said she had the answer as it worked for her....................it did for me too........like magic! All it took was one dose of indomecithin at the beginning of every attack, although it had to be taken before the pain really hit hard and then it amazingly cleared all the problems. No more pain, no more sickness and no more of the other. Now I have the perfect cure..................the menopause which comes with its own set of problems......whatever doesn't drop out or off travels east, west or, especially, south.:(
     
  7. CantThink

    CantThink Senior Member

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    I havd endometriosis and other female problems. The endo has made me quite good at trying to deal with the pain.

    Naproxen helped me after mefenamic acid stopped working - a pain reliever that works on prostglandins is worth a try if you can take one. It has to be taken before the period starts (or ovulation if that's painful) as it needs to reduce the prostglandins before they get too prolific and if you are already in bad pain this type of pain relief is not helpful. I would start taking it a couple of days before you are due on. Codeine helps me if I'm already in pain, but it is something I try to limit due to bowel issues. I will take it if I'm in unbearable pain though.

    Tranexamic acid can help if your bleeding is heavy.

    I find a TENS machine helpful. Also those temporary heat packs you can buy are good as they can be applied more directly and move with you (somewhat) as opposed to a hot water bottle or heating pad. They are a bit costly for regular use though.

    I like badger balm for relaxing my back and abdominal muscles as well because I think I tense everything as I'm in such bad pain. If I can manage a bath that's quite relieving for the relaxation and warmth reasons. On that note, I think gentle massage might help, but I don't have anyone to do it. There is Maya abdominal massage you might want to look into - it's quite interesting. I haven't tried it myself... Yet.
     
    ahimsa and Countrygirl like this.
  8. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    I understand this is why indomethicin works: it inhibits the production of prostaglandins.
     
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  9. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    Are indomethicin and mefamanic acid in the NSAID class? I forgot to write that I can't take NSAIDs. I googled them and they seemed to be but I wanted to confirm.

    I do agree with Sasha and everyone who said to take the pain pills early before it gets really bad and I made that mistake today. Thank you for reminding me. It seems like once it passes a certain threshold, it is too late. It can wake me up from sleeping in excruciating pain.
     
  10. CantThink

    CantThink Senior Member

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    Yes, unfortunately.

    When you do take your current pain meds do they help?

    Do you know what your progesterone and estrogen levels are like?
     
  11. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Sorry, should have said - yes, mefanamic acid is an NSAID.
     
    Gingergrrl likes this.
  12. Countrygirl

    Countrygirl Senior Member

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    Yes, sorry Gingergrrl. Indomethecin is a NSAID.

    I hope you can find something to help you as it is a horrible pain and makes you feel very uck. I found that I was unable to keep any other painkiller down and it returned very rapidly, so I have nothing else to suggest.:(
     
    Gingergrrl likes this.
  13. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    Thanks @Sasha @Countrygirl and @CantThink thanks for clarifying and I am not familiar with all the names of NSAIDS b/c I don't take anything in that class. And I think some have different names in the UK.

    I take Tylenol for mild cramps and Norco for more severe. I always take 1/2 pill but when it is this bad, I need the whole pill and sometimes I am wrong at predicting in advance how bad it will get and then it is too late.

    It is the kind of pain where massage or TENS unit wouldn't be enough (whereas for other pain like neck, back, arms, etc, those things are very helpful.)

    I once had an ND tell me to try castor oil packs (I hope I am remembering this term correctly and may be way off!) but I never did b/c it seemed very confusing and a lot of work to prepare and I just didn't believe that it would work. Has anyone heard of that? After today I am more desperate to try something new and every time this happens, it sets me so far back with additional PEM.
     
    Sasha likes this.
  14. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Is there some reason you don't always take the whole pill? I'm wondering why you're holding back!
     
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  15. CantThink

    CantThink Senior Member

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    I don't use TENS or massage alone. I literally have an arsenal of things I use in combo. I am in chronic pelvic pain from my gynae issues, so I am on long term daily painkillers and top up with opiates at period and ovulation time. That's like my baseline of trying to cope, and then I do the other stuff on top as added extras to try to make myself feel better. Hope that makes sense. I'd always think that some form of pain relief is necessary if the pain is debilitating, and everything else is just a matter of trying to distract oneself and cope.

    The Maya abdominal massage is supposed to help the underlying cause of the pain apparently, so I'm guessing it is used outside of the actual period time.

    The castor oil packs I've heard of. Haven't tried it. I'd definitely be interested to try it sometime. I'll look into it. I think you can buy disposable packs, but to do it yourself I didn't think was too bad nor too expensive.

    I know that vaginal steaming with herbs has suddenly become an 'in' thing. My sister wanted me to try it so I read up on it. It's the sort of thing I'll try once. I am not anti trying it, but I couldn't at the time she suggested due to surgery and being bed bound.

    If you tend to be estrogen dominant then that is worth trying to address as the estrogen feeds the problem. Some women find relief via the pill or mirena etc.

    The level of pain your in, I'd be inclined to see your gynae or PCP. It is possible you could get more effective pain relief.
     
    Woolie likes this.
  16. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    @Sasha I am very sensitive to medications and usually a half pill is enough for me and is effective for the pain without side effects and then if I am wrong, I can still take the other half. I just misjudged it this time and ended up in severe pain. I was also worried b/c I was taking another med that can be hard on the liver but once the pain is that bad, you will do anything to stop it!
     
    Sasha likes this.
  17. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    Six inches up the ankle on the inside is an acupressure point, Spleen 6. It does wonders for relieving cramps. I share it with co-workers often - that "look" and a whispered admission, my asking for permission to do a little acupressure, followed 5-10 minutes later by relieved surprise for them. I hold both on someone else, light pressure.

    On myself, I dig the heel of one foot into the spot on the other leg with the intent to switch in ten minutes... and never do because I am comfortably asleep by then.

    I hope this helps a little
     
    merylg likes this.
  18. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    Sorry I missed this question, and I actually just did all the hormone tests with my Endo (who treats my thyroid issue) and he said all my female hormones were normal for my age. I don't have the labs in front of me but do have a copy and can check if you tell me what to look for specifically.
     
  19. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I see! That's a problem.

    I agree with @Can'tThink - I think it would be a good idea to see a gynae and explain the problem. There may be new strategies that they know of.
     
    WillowJ likes this.
  20. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    @GracieJ Is it six inches from your ankle regardless of your height or length of your leg? Is it starting at your inner ankle bone and measuring straight up six inches? Just want to make sure I understand?
     

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