How can you tell if those extreme cramps and mood swings are something more?
Whether it’s irritability, extreme pain or a heavy flow, when you’re surfing the crimson wave it’s easy to dismiss your monthly symptoms as just ‘a bad period.’ After all, a recent survey found period cramps to be as painful as a heart attack and all of your friends report feeling sore, moody and bloated during their time of the month too.
Feel like you’re suffering more than your besties? If you have any of the following symptoms be sure to drop in with your GP.
Your cramps don’t just last the length of your period, you have some form of pelvic pain for the rest of the month too. The culprit? It could be endometriosis. It occurs when uterine tissue migrates outside the uterus and begins to grow on other organs resulting in severe cramping as well as pain in your lower back and thighs. You’ll need to see your gyno for a diagnosis and you may be prescribed a course of hormones to treat it.
Got an abnormally high temperature during your TOM? In some cases Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can be to blame. Sometimes the result of an untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea infection, it’s often accompanied with killer cramps in your lower abdomen that last for weeks or even months, as well as painful urination and green or yellow discharge. Suspect PID might be responsible for your monthly misery? Make sure you ask for an STI test when you pop to the docs.
Those super size tampons don’t seem to be cutting it. In fact, you’re soaking through a large tampon or pad every hour or two. If this sounds familiar it can be a sign of fibroids, which are benign tumours found along the uterine wall. Likewise if you’re passing large blood clots each month you should check in with your GP.
Experience extreme cramping before, during and sometimes even after Aunty Flo comes to town and no amount of Panadol you throw at the situation seems to be helping? This is another sign of Endometriosis. You’ll need to drop in with your doctor who may suggest adjusting your birth control to combat the symptoms and slow down the disease.
It’s totally normal to feel a little teary during your period, but if your monthly flow comes with feelings of depression that leave you feeling powerless and bed-bound for a couple of days you could be suffering from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). A fix may be as simple as changing your contraception so don’t suffer in silence; go see your GP and talk it through.