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LeafyBreeze

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Apr 25, 2018
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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
 

mk04447

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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.
 
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LeafyBreeze

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Apr 25, 2018
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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.

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!
 
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ThetisAntithesis

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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.
 
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LeafyBreeze

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Apr 25, 2018
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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.

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!
 

ThetisAntithesis

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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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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:)
 

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.
 
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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.
 

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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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.
 
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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.
 

luxaeterna6

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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
My periods were exactly like yours except they lasted 7-8 days... I got the kyleena IUD in December and it's been such a blessing. I don't get sick anymore, no cramps, and my bleeding that used to be so heavy that it made me anemic is so light now that I can get away with just using a pantyliner most days. It's gotten lighter and lighter as the months go on. It's good for 5 years, aka it will last me all through med school until I have to get it replaced (unless it happens to expel).
 
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calico96

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First of all, it's not TMI at all. It's a taboo topic that should not be taboo. Half the population deals with this!

Second of all, your symptoms sound very similar to mine, and I ended up having a bad case of endometriosis. I tried Mirena and hormonal birth control pills, but nothing helped much. I ended up having the lesions removed via laparoscopic surgery and now I'm on progesterone-based pills that suppress my cycle completely. (I don't get bleeding any more)

I'm not trying to talk you out of using Mirena or pills. Apparently, they do work for most people (I'm just weird :yeahright:) You should definitely find a new doctor. It should NOT disable you like that. They can find something to take care of your symptoms, and if they can't, keep going back until they find something that helps you!
 
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friendly.ghost

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This is a little late but I wanted to add my two cents about the Mirena! It really works for keeping periods light and painless, but if you're like me you might need something that also prevents ovulation so that you do not get cysts. I was on hormonal birth control pills for years and switched to the Mirena and now get Ovarian Cysts all the time! It's not that the Mirena is causing them, it's that it doesn't prevent them. I thought my pain was just caused by endometriosis, so once I had the lesions removed via laparoscopy I switched to Mirena. My pain is even worse now, but at a different time in my cycle (I assume - I don't get a period anymore).
 
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Astharia

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Not a provider yet, but I have had 3 kids, and tried many types of BC and I also plan on practicing women's health. For sure get a second opinion. It sounds sexist, but I would suggest seeing a female OB/GYN (men do a great job, just sometimes I feel they can't relate). Get tested for endometriosis as suggested above, and find out different birth control options for you. The pill would help this issue too, but it's hard to remember, the Mirena or the new smaller one would work well, or even the Implanon that goes into your arm would probably work as well. Good luck! I hope you feel better!
 
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Firebubbles

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So glad I found this post, but I have another question. Anyone have advice for people who can't be on birth control? I also have debilitating menstrual cramps, so bad I can't move without it feeling like I've been stabbed, but that pain is only really bad for about 36 hours, ish. After that I can buck up and soldier on through.
I tried the pill form of birth control for the fall semester, since its the safest, and had a really bad reaction. My doc told me I was a rapid metabolizer (I assume I'll find out what that means in later semesters) and should avoid hormonal birth control. I can use heat pads when I'm at home, and just study at home for a day, but I worry about what happens when I have a test that day.
 

medstu19

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So glad I found this post, but I have another question. Anyone have advice for people who can't be on birth control? I also have debilitating menstrual cramps, so bad I can't move without it feeling like I've been stabbed, but that pain is only really bad for about 36 hours, ish. After that I can buck up and soldier on through.
I tried the pill form of birth control for the fall semester, since its the safest, and had a really bad reaction. My doc told me I was a rapid metabolizer (I assume I'll find out what that means in later semesters) and should avoid hormonal birth control. I can use heat pads when I'm at home, and just study at home for a day, but I worry about what happens when I have a test that day.

IMO the hormonal IUDs cannot be recommended enough. They have nothing to do with metabolism since their hormonal effect is local (i.e. uterus) not systemic. The implant in the arm could also help but has more unpredictable bleeding. The hormonal IUDs mostly cause lighter periods if not stop bleeding all together.
 
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BunsenBeaker

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I know it comes with its own set of issues, but the Depo shot stopped my periods altogether.
 
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SLC

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So glad I found this post, but I have another question. Anyone have advice for people who can't be on birth control? I also have debilitating menstrual cramps, so bad I can't move without it feeling like I've been stabbed, but that pain is only really bad for about 36 hours, ish. After that I can buck up and soldier on through.
I tried the pill form of birth control for the fall semester, since its the safest, and had a really bad reaction. My doc told me I was a rapid metabolizer (I assume I'll find out what that means in later semesters) and should avoid hormonal birth control. I can use heat pads when I'm at home, and just study at home for a day, but I worry about what happens when I have a test that day.

If you were my patient, you’d get a strong suggestion to try a Mirena IUD.
 
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precisiongraphic

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If you were my patient, you’d get a strong suggestion to try a Mirena IUD.
Not a doctor but all my friends and I that have had Mirena are satisfied. Most of us don't have periods on it so that gets rid of the few days a month where one might have cramps. It's worth talking to your doctor about.
 
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SLC

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Not a doctor but all my friends and I that have had Mirena are satisfied. Most of us don't have periods on it so that gets rid of the few days a month where one might have cramps. It's worth talking to your doctor about.

I place quite a few of these in my practice (college town); women love them.
 
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EssentialOil123

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I have the same problem, and I've tried painkillers, birth control and herbal supplements, which have upgraded me from vomiting and passing out to cramps on day 2 and fatigue. The OB-GYN couldn't point out the cause, but it's also genetic. Do you think writing about this on secondaries as a challenge I've faced would be palatable for adcoms? I wanted to mention that these women's problems are often dismissed, and sometimes it's not feasible to go through IUD, surgery, and there are also many side effects of these procedures that could make symptoms worse in the long-run.
 

suzygroanberg

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Hi! I was worried about all this too and here's a fun fact...I was diagnosed with endometriosis while in medical school because I finally learned about the workup for dysmenorrhea and demanded it myself from my GYN after 10+ years of crippling pain. I recommend attempting this in your situation. I understand it is not always possible to get a new doctor, but if you learn how to be a strong self-advocate then that can absolutely solve the problem. Start by asking for an ultrasound.

In terms of how to deal with your period, the only thing that has given me complete relief and control over the situation is taking continuous birth control (i.e. with no breaks/placebo pills). I've taken it for about a year at a time before having to take a short break due to breakthrough bleeding. I don't love to be on it when its not absolutely necessary because it makes me gain weight, but that is not the case for most people.

If you do have endometriosis, finding a REPUTABLE endometriosis specialist who can perform excision surgery can significantly help to mitigate your symptoms. This helped me quite a bit for a while but I think I have gotten worse again over time. Birth control is still the best mask for symptoms in my experience, but surgery is an effective treatment for the actual disease.

P.S. Nancy's Nook is an amazing educational endometriosis Facebook group geared towards empowering patients with knowledge. If you think you might have endometriosis, please check it out!!
 

ThetisAntithesis

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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.

Here's my update, I got the mirena and it kinda sucks. I was really rooting for it. Really hoping it would make me forget my period for the next 4 years. But its been nothing but a literal pain. I keep having this weird pain that is very different from my cramps and my last period on the mirena was 16 days!!!! I want to give it at least 6 months of use (they say things gets better in 3-6 months) but my next gyn visit might be to take it out.
Will likely go back to the nuvaring.
Jealous of you guys that had it work for you.
 

thunderstorm1824

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Here's my update, I got the mirena and it kinda sucks. I was really rooting for it. Really hoping it would make me forget my period for the next 4 years. But its been nothing but a literal pain. I keep having this weird pain that is very different from my cramps and my last period on the mirena was 16 days!!!! I want to give it at least 6 months of use (they say things gets better in 3-6 months) but my next gyn visit might be to take it out.
Will likely go back to the nuvaring.
Jealous of you guys that had it work for you.
If you've never been pregnant, the Kyleena is often more comfortable than the Mirena! It's basically the same IUD but smaller, so it tends to cause less cramping especially in a uterus that has never grown with pregnancy. It's effective for 5 years. Hope you find the method that works best for you!
 
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