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How to manage your period during med school

Discussion in 'Women in Healthcare' started by LeafyBreeze, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. LeafyBreeze

    LeafyBreeze Dr. Know-Nothing

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    Sorry I know this is probably super tmi but the worry has been eating at me for a while now.
    I just got accepted into med school and I’m totally excited! But I have REALLY bad periods every month that last 4-6 days and are really painful and often leave me bedridden due to the pain/nausea/ect.
    This is all manageable at home, but in a tough med school environment I don’t have the luxury of sleeping through the pain with a heating pad on my abdomen for three days straight once every month. Especially with labs and exams and lectures!
    The school I’m going to records its lectures, so I can probably get away with watching the stream online, but regarding labs and the constant need to study, I’m worried that I’ll get left behind on the months when I get really sick, and I can’t take that risk!
    Any advice as to what I should do?
    Sorry again if the topic is grossing anyone out
     
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  3. mk04447

    mk04447 Banned
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    This could be a real problem for you and I would suggest seeing a GYN. You simply aren't going to be able to disappear every month for 4-6 days at a time. It will be easier the first two years, but when you start rotations it will be almost impossible. My guess is a note wouldn't cut it either; you'd basically be providing evidence of a medical condition that would get you a leave of absence, not excused absences.
     
  4. LeafyBreeze

    LeafyBreeze Dr. Know-Nothing

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    Yeah that’s what worries me :<
    I’ve seen an obgyn but they just tell me that some people just have bad periods and we gotta live with it (I weep).
    I mean, I’m sure I could probably get through most months with enough Advil at my disposal but I’m just worried about the days where I just can’t get out of bed...
    Ah well, it’s no biggie, I guess I’ll just have to push through it :)
    Thanks for the input!
     
  5. HopefulMDNP

    HopefulMDNP SDN Bronze Donor
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    Your OB/Gyn told you to "live with it"?!
    That's absurd.
    Have you tried any form of birth control?
    I used to have bad, painful, heavy periods (crying, rocking in fetal position, fatigued all 6 days, leaving work unexpectedly, ibuprofen until gastritis) every month until I started using the NuvaRing.
    I feel like I'm in heaven, I don't dread my period every month and I don't even remember what a cramp feels like anymore... Seriously, I feel like my life has changed over something seemingly trivial... Something I thought I had to "live with".

    If it isn't something you have tried, look into it.
     
  6. LeafyBreeze

    LeafyBreeze Dr. Know-Nothing

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    Oh wow! I’m glad to hear that you’re doing so much better!
    I was kinda surprised when my obgyn said that, but then my pcp said the same thing and I just sort of accepted it.
    I’ve never tried any type of birth control, but at this point I’m very much open to ideas!
    Is that a pill you need to take everyday or so?
    Thank you for your suggestion! I’ll definitely look into it!
     
  7. HopefulMDNP

    HopefulMDNP SDN Bronze Donor
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    No its a vaginal ring... Leave in for 3 wks, out for 1 wk (withdrawal bleed week).
    Periods are lighter too!
    I tried the pill but I kept forgetting to take it (can't blame my patients now lol).
     
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  8. CazadorFalconry

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    Mirena! It’s approved to treat difficult menses and it lasts 5 years.
     
  9. Olon1974

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    Painkillers don't help you much I assume? In this case, yeah, you should definitely try pills. But consult with your gyn first.
    Also living with a bf helps:)
     
  10. CUatthefinishline

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    I would definitely suggest researching and trying different birth control products. Some of them are designed for this exact problem and we live in a time where you don't just have "deal with it".

    Also, your doctors may mean well, but maybe consider getting a second opinion if you can (I know insurance can make that tricky). Especially, if they give you push back for wanting to treat it with birth control.
     
  11. dent for the win

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    I second using the nuva ring.
     
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  12. StayingPositive2017

    StayingPositive2017 Michigan State CVM c/o 2022

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    I second getting a new doctor
     
  13. 56iam

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    I've had a mirena iud for a year now, and my periods have become a little smear of spotting roughly once a month. I know some women who stopped having periods completely. Try asking your doctor about this, or a new doctor for abother opinion. The device is fully covered by insurances under preventive care.
     
  14. precisiongraphic

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    I hate thinking you're going through that every month. I had a great experience with Mirena (no periods) and others have had that experience too. There's also the new IUD - Skyla which is smaller. Or continuous birth control pills (Seasonale or just continuously taking the active pills and skipping the placebos with your doctor's advice) and just have a period once or twice a year on a planned basis - like not when you have exams.

    And take it from me - over the years I've had doctors tell me I had to live with something and it turns out that they missed a diagnosis. You may not have a missed diagnosis but often when someone tells you that you have to live with it, they are wrong - find another doctor, get a second or third opinion. This is 2018, not 1918.

    Also, those stick on heat packets (Thermacare) are the bomb for cramps. You can wear them under your clothes during the day. Like a cordless heating pad that is invisible to others.
     
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  15. Dancing247

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    Women's heath provider here.

    1) I definitely recommend seeing a new provider. No one needs to suffer this way. This is abnormal, although not uncommon. I find that certified nurse midwives and reproductive endocrinologists tend to handle these issues ... more holistically.

    2) I wonder if you have endometriosis? I would ask for an evaluation to rule this out. At minimum, a transvaginal ultrasound of your ovaries and uterus.

    3) Many of my patients* (Edit: *with endometriosis) have had success with Lupron and Mirena. Mirena in general is great for menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea. I'm hesitant about recommending combined systemic contraceptives, particularly for women with a family history of breast cancer. However, OCPs can be protective for ovarian cancer.

    Edit: Mirena is FDA approved for 5 years but works for 7+. I wouldn't use the smaller IUDs as Mirena lasts longer. If you're in medical school, I'm assuming you want it for at least 4 years.
     
    #14 Dancing247, May 9, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  17. siliso

    Physician

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    +1 for Mirena. Works great.
     
  18. Infinitely

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    I will try to get the name of the medication for you once i got home but I belive it called menstrual relieve in CVS. It saves me from horrible menstrual for the past couple years.
     

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