Did you know that there are women going through depression due to their menstrual cycle? They go through so much each month and sometimes cannot find a way to explain how they feel because not everyone who has a period, has pain or would collapse/pass out due to being anaemic from their periods.
As a woman, our body goes through a monthly process called Menstruation. This is when the body sheds the lining of the uterus (womb). Menstrual blood flows from the uterus through the small opening in the cervix and passes out through the vagina.
For some women, this process comes without any discomfort; while for some it is their worst nightmare. I happen to fall into the latter category. The pain, stress, and discomfort that comes with it for me caused me to miss classes while in University; miss work, or when I do go to work, I am barely able to function as I would be in so much pain. I would cry, bend over, throw up and generally be very ill.
My medication has been changed on a regular basis just so that I can function better but it rarely has any long-term effect as I soon begin to feel the pain after a while.
I have listened to people say, people with painful periods are attention seekers, or just being lazy. It always makes me so angry when I hear such statement because I doubt anyone would want to go through such pain for days, I certainly can do without it. Almost every other month, I got admitted into the hospital and a few times needed blood as I lose a lot each month, and due to the heavy blood loss, I am anaemic (I will do a full story on me soon).
Due to the stress and pain, a person goes through regularly from menstrual pain, they most times get agitated/anxious just as the time for the next period approaches. This is called or known as PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). This is a condition whereby a woman becomes tensed up and anxious, gets irritated at and with anything and has severe depression symptoms before menstruation even begins.
For years, I went through this process as I would dread how my period would disrupt my life for a week or sometimes, two weeks as the pain begins days before the period would even start and I would have an after pain session after the cycle ended. For me, it was a nightmare. I barely sleep, and I sit up through the cycle. This leaves me feeling drained and very tired. I often tried to prepare for it, taking painkillers before it began which never really stopped the pain but made it a bit tolerable. I am miserable and irritable most times, and as soon as my period begins, I would start taking my mefenamic acid, tranexamic acid, and norethisterone, which honestly did not do much but eased the pain just a bit which was better than nothing. Presently, I am on Naproxen and codeine/paracetamol. Oh and I always have my hot water bottle.
Signs Of PMDD :
a) Problems sleeping.
c) Mood swings.
d) Lack of concentration.
e) Change in appetite.
f) feeling hopeless / depressed / sad.
e) Suicidal thoughts due to extreme pain and frustration.
h) Lack of interest in daily activities.
Ways to help control PMDD :
b) Eat healthy- fruits, vegetables, avoid sugar/ sweet things, and caffeine.
c) Medications -Antidepressants - if and when needed, painkillers such as naproxen, ibuprofen, aspirin (to name a few) - to help with back pain, headaches, menstrual cramps.
d) Find a way to take your mind off the pain and calculating the next period- I know this is hard, but once you can, you find yourself feeling more relaxed and less anxious.
If you find that you have any of the signs above, or find that you feel anxious, depressed as your period comes round, then please see a doctor. Speak to someone who can help you. You may not have to take antidepressants as I know some people get scared just thinking they would have to take that. I am not on any antidepressants. I got tired of taking so much medication (I usually joke about having a mini pharmacy by my bedside), I told myself that I would not allow the pain control my life any longer. Since then, I have been learning not to time myself or look forward to when the pain would come. My change in medication recently has also helped and I read more about my condition and learn more from doctors at every given opportunity.
Do you know anyone going through this or any menstrual condition? Encourage them to see a doctor, find out exactly what it is that is wrong and what treatment they can get.
You can also share your thoughts about what you think or write to me - firstname.lastname@example.org
No matter what you are going through, keep your Sparkle on and stay Sparkling.
I am Sisi Alero and I Sparkle✨