Mood swings, sudden cravings, and the familiar twinge in the gut are usual experiences during monthly visits in a woman’s life. Some fortunate ones don’t experience the excruciating wringing of their insides. But others deem this period one of the most dreadful days for a woman as they can’t even do daily tasks and needs heating pads and pain relievers to get through the day.
However, sometimes, these are not enough for other people to suppress the pain. It might be a regular unfortunate occurrence to several women, but how can one say it is indeed ‘normal’? And when is it time to see a doctor?
Check your flow
Just like how the intensity of menstrual cramps varies for every woman, menstrual flow can also be different for everyone. Some studies show how taller women, those who gave birth, and those who are currently in their premenopause tend to have a heavier flow, while the average duration is 4-6 days.
But these factors do not necessarily indicate how heavy your menstrual flow should be. What you should be checking for are the changes that happen in your cycle. See if there is more discharge than your regular. A sudden change from your usual time-of-the-month experiences might indicate something is amiss.
When cramps interfere with everyday life
Menstrual cramps do hurt, and it is normal. Many women don’t attend work or classes during the onset of the pain. Some can’t even get out of bed once the pain seeps in and rely on over-the-counter pain relievers to help alleviate the discomfort.
However, suppose you feel like it is interfering too much with your life – hindering you from doing everyday tasks, keeping you from doing whatever you planned. In that case, you might need to seek a professional to help reduce the discomfort and adverse effects on your everyday life.
You get cramps outside the cycle
Experiencing cramps during your period is a typical occurrence, but sometimes, the monthly visitor is not the one to be blamed, especially if it happens outside the cycle. There are many reasons why you are having these pains – it can be because of inflammatory bowel disease, ovulation, pregnancy, ruptured ovarian cyst, and the like.
So, if you have sudden symptoms that generally only happen during your period, you can visit your doctor just to be sure. However, take note that having vaginal discharge outside your period is normal – whether it may be brown, white, or pink discharge.
Over-the-counter medicines don’t work
When the pain is too much, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce the throbbing in your gut. Although in some cases, instead of bringing relief, you might not experience any effect from the medicine. It might be due to your cramps worsening, or you already have a tolerance to the said medicine.
In this situation, you need to go to a doctor to find other pain relievers that could work and identify the cause of worsening menstrual cramps and address it.
Watch out for the signs
Everything that women experience during their period is valid. If one woman doesn’t get to live a single day of her life clutching her tummy and looking for a hot compress, it doesn’t mean that those who do are not normal – it’s just that they are less fortunate to suffer during their time of the month.
But there are times that you should not go through it alone, especially once you experience a sudden shift in your cycle and symptoms. Additionally, if facing the pain is becoming too hard – you can’t go in your daily life, or over-the-counter medicines do not just work anymore, you must seek professional help.