Girl Talk

I think when most people think “healthy living” they conjure up an image of someone eating lots of fruits and veggies and exercising on a regular basis.  In fact, when you type “healthy living” into google the only images that pop up are of fruits/veggies and people working out. 

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And while what we eat and how active we are are important aspects of living a healthy life,  they aren’t the only things.  Being healthy also means not missing your yearly doctor’s exam, wearing sunscreen, getting those freckles (ok, maybe they’re moles but I hate that word) checked out by your dermatologist, and drinking plenty of water.  These things might not be as glamorous as eating that plate of brightly colored veggies or running 6 miles before everyone else has even dragged their butt out of bed in the morning, but they’re equally important. 

What got me thinking about all those extra things is two-fold.  First, I discovered a weird “spot” on my back.  I refer to it as a spot because I honestly have no idea what it is.  I thought it was a mole, but I had August take a close-up photo last week and a mole it definitely is not.  I immediately scheduled a dermatologist appointment and texted my Dad a picture of it (I’m lucky cause my Dad is a Doc, though not a dermatologist).  He didn’t seem too concerned, said it was most likely something that started with an H and ended in -oma, but that I should still visit the dermatologist as they would most likely want to remove it.  Not gonna lie, the time between taking the photo and talking to my Dad I was pretty nervous. 

The other reason I was thinking about all the little things we can do to make ourselves healthy is a bit more personal, so for those of you who get a little squeamish with talks of periods and gynecologists, now might be the time to click that X in the upper corner. 

First a little bit of background.  I didn’t start my period until the age of 13.  Apparently all that gymnastics made me slightly behind the curve.  And by 16 my dermatologist had prescribed birth control to help manage my skin.  From 16 to 25 I took the pill without complication, but around 25 I started having a lot of pain in my lower abdomen which I found out was the result of fluid-filled cysts developing on my ovaries each month.  After many back and forth trips to the doctor I surmised that the culprit was my low-dose birth control.  Rather than try to find a new pill, I simply stopped taking it altogether.  Enter in the worst cramps I’ve ever experienced.  So bad that without some sort of medication all I can do is walk around because that’s the only position that brings any sort of relief. 

For those who might not know, the cramping sensation is caused by contractions of the uterus that is stimulated by prostaglandins released by the old uterine lining.  So, more prostaglandin release results in worse cramps.  So, I was wondering what all of you do to ward off or lessen your cramps?  I can’t possibly be alone in suffering from severe cramps and I wanted to ask for your ideas.  I know that exercise and taking ibuprofen helps but beyond that I’m at a loss.  There have to be some good, natural tricks for warding off these cramps every month.  Does drinking tea help or sleeping on your back the third Wednesday of every month?  I’m looking for anything that might curb the discomfort (though I’d rather it not be medication).

What extra things do you think make up a healthy lifestyle? 

Please tell me I’m not the only one who suffers from cramps!  And if you do get them, how do you deal with them?  Any suggestions would be helpful!

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8 thoughts on “Girl Talk

  1. I used to have completely painless periods, until about 2 years ago. Then, I was having pains almost any time of month. I was checked for cysts and all that good stuff, but they never found anything. About 4 mos ago, I got an IUD and although it was excruciating at first, now my cramps are 24 hour thing and done for the whole month. Still a painful 24 hrs but still!

    It sounds simple, but a heating pad was seriously a lifesaver. At night trying to fall asleep, pop a hot pad over those ovaries and it is as comfortable as youre gonna get! I also know you said no medication, but for the unbearable times, Excederin Menstrual is the bee’s knees…. Although there’s a bit of caffeine so it’s a daytime thing only. At least for me.

    • I’ll have to try the heating pad idea! And, even though I’d rather avoid medication I know it’s most likely inevidable and I’ve never tried Excederin Menstrual so I might have to pick some up.

  2. I totally agree with you on your definition of health. Eating fruits nad veggies as well as exercising is a way of preventing other issues. But seeing your doc is equally important.
    Thanks to the pill I only have cramps for a day or two these days.. But I feel your pain! Usually heat helps me too.. I have a monkey teddy bear that has a heat center. Somehow the heat combine with the soft animal helps and comforts me more than a simple heat (which is weird bcse I was never into cuddly animals haha) And also strong painkillers are all you can use sometimes…
    Drinking fennel tea before you period is supposed to ease the cramps too
    Good luck

  3. I thought I had heard about drinking tea from somewhere (can’t remember where), and even though I don’t really like tea, it’s something I’m considering.

  4. New reader, delurking. The thing that helped me was…having a couple babies. Sorry, that’s probably not a helpful hint. But, cramps haven’t been much of a problem for me since I had kids, although I previously had cramps to the point of vomiting. I read it’s not rare to see improvement after having a baby. Or maybe it’s getting older!

    Calcium and specifically dairy is also said to help, although I can’t vouch personally for that. The other thing I’ve heard, and this sounds kind of sensible to me wrt prostaglandin release, is that it’s more helpful to stop the cascade early rather than try to interrupt it. So the advice was to take ibuprofen prophylactically for a couple of days before things get started, and continue to take it for the first few days of the cycle.

    Just passing along what I’ve heard–I’m not a real doctor :P

  5. Haha, sadly I’m going to have to wait a few years to find out if having babies helps with the cramps. :) I also read that starting ibuprofen before the cramping starts is your best bet to manage the pain.

  6. I used to have painful periods when I was younger. The thing that helped me was eating healthy and working out. Unfortunately you seem to do that so it’s probably not much help. I also try to have herbal teas when I have my period to ease the pain and rest more.

  7. Pingback: Doctor’s Visit | The Running Doc

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