Well, this post is really for the ladies out there or any men who help support their other half through the trauma. It is not something that affects all women with Fibro but many can have added complications to their menstrual habits.
One of the complications can be Painful Periods or Dysmenorrhoea to give it the correct title. Further information can be found about this on the NHS website here. Another complication can be excessively heavy periods or Menorrhagia and you can find out more about this on this NHS link. In this post, though I am going to concentrate upon the combination of problem periods and Fibromyalgia through my experience.
Prior to my journey with Fibro, I was fairly stable, not perfectly so and I have had to have scans for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS for short (again I have provided you with a link to the NHS website further information.) However, the tests always came back clear or borderline. Nothing that needed anything really doing about it. So I occasionally had a somewhat painful month but nothing some over the counter painkillers couldn’t solve.
Since the Fibromyalgia appeared
Since my Fibro symptoms began about 22 months ago I have noticed some visible change in my cycle. Firstly they are no longer very regular, the predictor apps which used to be accurate to the day now are accurate to the week (usually) and no, I am not exaggerating. The pattern is also completely changed. It can last from three days to about six or sometimes stop for a day or two in the middle and start again, which is really frustrating in terms of clothing choices etc.
The Complications of Fibro and that time of the month
So, let me tell you about my most recent experience, this month when even though it was only for half a day the Fibro beat me. I was overdue for two or three days by our calculation but nothing seemed to be happening. Then on Tuesday, we were all systems go, things seemed relatively sensible nothing out of the ordinary for that day. On Wednesday things became more complicated not only was the flow extremely heavy (Picture the scene from the film Carrie, you know the one I am talking about) but the pain became unbearable.
This, however, was not stomach cramps as you might expect but a chronic headache. This is not a one of fluke but pattern of behaviour I have spotted in previous months. All I can say is that I was bleeding so heavily that it triggered a really violent headache. During the early afternoon this slowly eased away as I rested and napped but in the late afternoon I had another flood and the headache built again with it.
How I cure Pain at that time of the month
It is certainly not the first time I have talked about them (here is a link to a previous post on the subject) but once again Essential Oils are one of my go-to tools to help treat both the menstrual pain and the headache. My standard combination is Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Lavender for treating most types of pain but I have also added in Rose to help with the menstrual element specifically. On this occasion, the headache was by far the worse symptom so I went with my standard combination which genuinely helps to lift and clear the pain. Here is a link to a similar diffuser to ours which has a fantastic offer on at the moment (Our exact two are not in stock at the moment but this one comes highly recommended and actually looks nicer than ours, maybe a future purchase!).
My magic Combination to manage really bad headaches
Well, it is an obvious fact that we are all different and when it comes to pain management I know I am very different to most given that when I have told people about my winning combination before they have basically winced and said how can you do that.
So it begins with getting the essential oils going on full pelt as above. Then I need to have some cold Pepsi Max and chocolate at the ready. Get as comfortable as possible on the sofa and find one of my favourite recordings waiting to be watched on the Tivo box, by the time the program has finished and the chocolate and Pepsi have done their job I am able to sleep off the rest of the pain.
As you can see I haven’t mentioned painkillers but that is because I am on a permanent dose of prescription Cocodomol 30/500’s which I usually take two of four times a day so they were already in my system. I can’t take oral Ibuprofen very often because I took it so often in the early stages of the Fibro that it upset my stomach.
The Power of Chocolate and Caffeine for pain relief
I am not the first person to find that chocolate can help the pain, this article references studies that have been done before. Studies have also been done into the painkilling effects of Caffeine so that will explain why the Pepsi Max helps me (I don’t like coffee or tea so I can’t get the caffeine that way).
And the TV?
This is the strangest one to explain. I do have two types of headaches, one of them is more like a Migraine and I can’t watch TV then all I can do is lie down in a dark room. The other type of headache which included this one is made better by the TV. As mentioned it has to be a really good programme that can totally absorb me. In fact, that is probably the key, the fact that my attention is grabbed so completely that it removes awareness of a headache.
What are your coping methods?
I’d love to hear from you if you have Fibromyalgia and have complications with your periods. What are your coping mechanisms? Do you have strange pain like my chronic headaches and has your cycle gone berserk. Do please comment below and maybe help someone else who is having similar problems to you.