I debated about writing this post for a few months, before it struck me that no one actually reads this blog. So I can dispense with any worry as such. Having said that though, in case any one does read it, here is a disclaimer:
I am not a medical professional, and I don’t claim to have a cure that works in every scenario. I am describing what has helped me through extreme menstrual agony, in the hope it may offer relief to someone else too. Please do not use this advice in lieu of visiting a professional, and also please keep your own medical circumstances in mind too.
Now that that is out of the way, I can get on with my post.
So, up until a few months ago, I suffered from debilitating menstrual cramps. I have a fairly high threshold of pain, having suffered from migraines for the better part of my life. But these cramps had me crying with agony, while clutching my stomach, and gasping for breath.
I used to chow down ibuprofen to stave off these cramps, but the pills somehow elongated my cycle. And to be honest, ibuprofen scares me a little, with excessive usage known to cause kidney issues.
I agree that the responsible thing would have been to visit a gynaecologist, and perhaps be tested for endometriosis or something. However, I am overweight and I knew how the conversation would go: “Lose weight. The pain will then go away.” This is my imagination at work mostly, but that’s my opinion of the broad medical profession in this country.
[Reader discretion: The concluding part may be TMI for some people. I talk about bodily emissions. So stop if you are squeamish or easily grossed out.]
When I recalled the cramps and the agony, I realised that I always felt I would end up feeling better if I could let out some gas. I always felt constipated during, and therefore putting two and two together, I figured out that maybe a clean gastric tract was the way out of these cramps.
So, I avoided food when I knew my period was on its way. The preceding few days, I would eat much less. During the actual period, I would eat practically nothing. I survived mostly on juice and water. And it worked. I didn’t have cramps at all.
As you can imagine though, this is not the healthiest decision to make. Also, it was sometimes not feasible to maintain a no-eating policy.
Apart for my cramps, I also suffer from gout, and the attendant swelling at my joints. To ease that pain, I started measuring how much water I drank in the day. To my utter shock, I realised I drank less than a litre. I slowly amped up the intake every day, till I was drinking between 2 and 3 litres. Yes, it meant more trips to the loo, but the swelling reduced considerably. And, I found it was much easier to clear my intestines.
Then a couple of months ago, I finally put the two theories together. If drinking more water helped with my digestion normally, then it should ease the constipation during my period too. So I started drinking a litre more during my period.
It helped. It really helped.
First of all, I no longer felt constipated. At all. Second, every time I could feel my uterus tautening up, I would drink a glass of water. Funnily enough, the full bladder forced my uterus to calm down a little. I don’t have a clue why, but it did. Third, my period cycle didn’t elongate. Fourth, there were fewer clots. And fifth, the flow became easier and more consistent. I forgot to mention before that I have extremely erratic periods, and they can vary between mere spotting to practically haemorrhaging levels of flow.
Like I said, I was unsure about writing this, but I think that if it helps even one woman overcome debilitating pain, it was worth it.