A younger version of myself would’ve never thought to ask, how to survive dysmenorrhea?
I was young when I had my first experience with menstruation, and unsurprisingly, I didn’t rely much on anyone to tell me how things should be done. I just winged it until I could no longer. Something I never thought deeply about is how long I’ve been suffering from extreme cramps. I have always had painful cramps and checked off all the symptoms of painful menstruation every month. It got to the point by junior high that I would often miss school during the first day of those seven days. I have a regular cycle, which meant that each month, I made a trip to the nurses’s office.
Then in high school, I learned about the beauty of swallowing pills and taking Midol. For a while, it helped until somehow, the efficacy lessened. Even with the help of the painkiller, I still struggled with painful cramps. I still remember feeling faint in the middle of a school day I had to rest on a bench on my way back to school. Another time was sleeping on grass after school with no care who was looking cause my muscles just had no energy in them.
More recently, I quit using painkillers to help because I had such a bad side effect- literally blacking out that I couldn’t remember how I got to the bathroom to my bed. Plus, becoming so pale and cold, I looked practically dead.
And even more recently, I’ve been suffering from crippling back pain which finally made me ask myself…
How to survive dysmenorrhea?
The only answer I could ever give is… suck it up and live with it. Oh, and have someone you can complain to about being a girl and not a boy. It’s the only answer I have because it’s all I’ve ever been told to do, aside from the painkillers.
As a kid, my doctor always told me it was normal to feel all the pain. It was the only answer I always got whenever I complained about it in high school. I don’t think anyone really knew what dysmenorrhea was at the time, not as much as they do now.
So, the only way to deal with it without painkillers was to sleep it off. However, without the painkillers, the pain lasted for days. I’m knocked out for three days before I see any semblance of normalcy while still in my period. The rest of the week is still riddled with other symptoms that make living with it difficult including the different emotions I have little control of.
Around the time I found tea, I started treating myself herbally.
I call myself an herbal hermit.
If sleeping is not a good method for you, then here are other ways I deal with my pains.
Chamomile, raspberry leaf, dandelion, ginger, and turmeric are ingredients for teas I would make for myself. These herbs are always helpful and act similarly to painkillers for me. Also, take magnesium vitamins daily to shorten the period duration. I would recommend drinking the tea on a daily as well, maybe even when it’s not that time of the month. If you’re lucky, I suggest buying the tea in bulk as loose leaf because it’s easier to measure to your taste. Additionally, you can get magnesium in a bigger bottle through Costco or somewhere similar. I also cut off milk chocolate and traded it with dark chocolate.
Sugar is something I always crave during my period, and dark chocolate gives me that sugar boost I need without the high sugar rush which works against me.
Overall, I survive dysmenorrhea with as much help as possible otherwise I wouldn’t be able to at all.
And this is my way of saying, I’m having health problems and difficulty doing much of anything after trying to catch up with life. So, I’m trying my best to work on things when I feel good and have no chores to do. 😭 But most times, I’m lying in bed or on the floor… because it feels so much better.