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[tmi] stupid body.

As some of you know, I have a serious problem with extremely painful menstrual cramps, of the "curl up and scream and want to die for two or three days" variety. This has been a problem ever since I started having a period, back ... hell, I was living in Japan, at the first house, so I must have been 10 or 11. I spent years suffering, and then, shortly after I came to Virginia, I started getting Depo Provera shots, and lo! No more periods!

I spent five years free of periods, and it was wonderful. But, Depo doesn't come without its side effects, including, oh, weight gain. And joint problems. And anxiety issues. You know, all those things that I really didn't need any help with at all. So, I came off the Depo last year, switching to Ortho Evra (the birth control patch), and started having periods again. And guess what? They still sucked.

I spent a few months spending a few days of each month wanting to die, and talked to my nurse practioner, and since we had discussed this beforehand, we had a plan laid out. I would start being on the patch continuously (instead of three weeks on, one week off, I would go to 11 weeks on, one week off), and have periods quarterly.

This week was the first of my 'one week off' timeframes since I've gone to the quarterly plan. Only tonight has my body figured out what's going on (I switch patches on Mondays, normally), and is letting me know that, while I may have managed to avoid the unpleasantness for a while, it will get its revenge. It's only been an hour or two since the twinges started, and I've taken two soma and 3 advil, and can barely sit up. I am only sitting because I tried lying down, and found that I couldn't do so without whimpering.

How do people actually do this, month after month, year after year? How did I ever do this? Isn't enough that the hassle and the mess and the inconvenience plague us, but that we have to have this awful injustice of pain lumped into the process as well? And, damnit, I never want to have children! I don't have a need for an endometrial layer! This is so not fair.

So, I am going to go and whuggle a heating pad, and take more soma, and pray that I can sleep at some point. The temptation to go back on the Depo is strong, but I am finally managing to lose weight (25 pounds since October!) and finally getting my anxiety back into check, so I don't want to lose the ground I've gained there. Anyone have any other ideas? :/
  • Current Mood: whimpering
If you're not going to have kids, have they considered just giving you a hormonal IUD or something similar?

And is Aleve (anaprox) any better than Advil for those cramps? They gave me Anaprox for mine before it became Aleve.
A hormonal IUD shouldn't prevent you having children later if you want, though fertility doesn't return instantly when you have it removed, as far as I know. It might work, though I'm not sure offhand how IUDs and extremely painful periods interact.
Did you try any of the usual one-a-day contraceptive pills? One of my ex's had painful irregular periods, and her problems disappeared almost entirely when she started to take the pill.
Poor you :(

Is there any reason you have to have those quarterly periods? Why can't you just use the patch continuously?

I gather that the quarterly periods, from what I've read, are not strictly necessary. You may want to do some research on this.
One of my friends takes her BCPs continuously and hasn't had a period for years. She said that her gyn says there's no harm from not having periods. I don't have any scientific proof to back that up, but I'm sure meri's gyn could look for into on that.
I have very painful cramps now that I'm not on any form of hormonal birth control. Painful meaning "will wake me up out of a sound sleep to whimper in agony". The only thing that works for me is to take at least 800mg of ibprofen the very first instant I feel a twinge. That seems to head it off and I'm just mildly uncomfortable for about 6 hours.

Another painkiller that works really well for me is ketoprofen. Sold OTC as Ordis KT. Check with your doctor on whether it's safe to take that much of it for you.
I wonder if the pain is from the uterine wall shedding or if it's hormone related. If it's the former, you could have your uterus removed. It would probably be very difficult to find a doctor that would do so, though, because you are so young and haven't had any children.

God knows I'd be all over this in a second if I could find a decent doctor who would do it. I don't want kids, my period is annoying... And if they just remove the uterus, you don't have the issues with hormones that you would with a full hysterectomy.

Well, at least this is what I've been told...

One of my sisters is plagued by this also. Now, she apparently doesn't care about her weight and so just takes the Depo shots. But as a teenager they had her on a no-sodium, no-artificial or refined anything diet (one doesn't just learn to love wheat germ, one has to be forced to love it). It worked, but it was a real pain in the behind.
I wouldn't suggest an IUD, though - they make your periods worse, not better. Even the hormonal ones, I think. I wish I had some positive advice tho!