Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

RedGlitter
Posts: 15777
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:51 am

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by RedGlitter »

Period makeovers: Fixes for heavy bleeding, cramps, PMS


Story Highlights

Perhaps as many as 95 percent of women have issues with their period

Naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen can ease painful cramps

Procedure known as endometrial ablation can reduce excessive bleeding

Try calcium supplements to ease headaches, breast tenderness, mood swingsBy Leslie Goldman

Katherine Sutherland, an OB-GYN in Mountain View, California, knows something about terrible periods -- and not just from her patients. She used to go through tampons every hour, excusing herself to go to the bathroom between appointments. Heavy bleeding made doing what she really loved --hiking -- especially difficult. Truth is, she wanted her period to go away altogether. In 2003 Sutherland, then age 51, got her wish. She had a minor surgical procedure called endometrial ablation, or by its brand name, NovaSure, to remove her uterine lining and stop heavy bleeding. And she hasn't had a period since. "I was delighted," she says. "Up until that time I'd never missed one period." Sutherland recently hiked 8,000 feet to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Many women, perhaps 95 percent, have period issues -- bleeding like Sutherland's, debilitating pain, out-of-control PMS, or annoyances such as constipation or diarrhea. Thanks to a variety of new remedies that can make over (or eliminate!) periods, you don't have to suffer. We've collected the best fixes for five of your most common problems.

Killer cramps

Virtually all women in their childbearing years have period pain (or dysmenorrhea). In fact, it's a leading reason for calling in sick to work or school. "Your uterus is a muscle, and it squeezes really hard," says Susan Haas, M.D., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University. "Sometimes it can squeeze so hard it blocks the arteries coming into it. Just like in a heart attack, when the arteries are blocked, it causes pain." Health.com: Pelvic pain -- solve the mystery

The fixes

Naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen help by short-circuiting the production of pain-causing chemicals called prostaglandins that are involved in muscle contractions. They work best if you start an hour before your cramps hit. "Load up with a double dose and keep the blood level up," Haas says. (The maximum safe daily dose of ibuprofen is 2,400 milligrams, or 12 200-mg pills. Take the minimum dosage that works for you.) Right when you get your period, start with 800 mg and then go to 600 mg every six hours. But talk to your doctor if you have elevated heart disease risks; the Food and Drug Administration recently reported that all NSAIDs, except aspirin, may heighten cardiovascular risks. And remember that extended use of high dosages of aspirin or NSAIDs may cause gastrointestinal troubles.

Omega-3 fats from fish oil seem to block prostaglandin production, too. And research shows that women with low intakes of omega-3s have more painful periods. While mainstream docs are mostly neutral on the idea of increasing omega-3s to fight period pain, some think it makes sense.

Heat is an old-fashioned, but useful remedy for relaxing crampy muscles. Get out your heating pad, or try new nonprescription heat wraps, which last for eight hours and can be worn under clothes. Health.com: Your guide to fibroid fixes

Severe bleeding

Ten million American women have heavy bleeding, also called menorrhagia. (The average woman loses about three to four tablespoons per cycle; more than five tablespoons is considered heavy.)

The fixes

NovaSure, in which a wand is inserted into the uterus through the cervix, emits energy that, in most cases, permanently removes the uterine lining. It's best for women who, like Katherine Sutherland, no longer want to have children. (Getting pregnant after having the uterine lining removed could be risky.) The five-minute procedure is done in a gynecologist's office. Many women report lighter bleeding right away. And a recent study found that after seven years, more than 95 percent stopped having periods.

The 365-day birth-control pill, called Lybrel, is another way to skip monthly menstruation. Approved by the FDA in May, Lybrel has no placebo pills, so you just keep taking an active pill each day. (Breakthrough bleeding can be an issue for about 20 percent of users. And, since Lybrel contains estrogen, it's not for women who are prone to blood clots, such as smokers, who get migraines with an aura or who are over age 35 with elevated heart disease risks.) Health.com: Is it safe to ditch your period?

If you'd prefer having a period, just with less bleeding, the traditional pill is also useful for curbing heavy flow. Its constant level of progesterone causes the endometrium to develop a much thinner lining. During your week of placebo pills, you get a lighter period because you shed a thinner lining over time. Another option is to have a period just four times a year: With Seasonale and Seasonique you take 84 active pills in a row.

Mirena may be for you if pill-taking isn't your thing. This intrauterine device secretes progestin on a daily basis, thinning the uterine lining so there's virtually nothing to shed. "One-third of women get no period, one-third get a much lighter period, and the other third have only irregular spotting," says Dan I. Lebovic, M.D., a reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at the University of Michigan Health System. Drawbacks? Pain during insertion, and possible cramps and bleeding for about three weeks afterward.

Punishing PMS

About two-thirds of regularly menstruating women have premenstrual symptoms, says Jean Endicott, Ph.D., director of the Premenstrual Evaluation Unit at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. It could be headaches, breast tenderness, or big, unpleasant mood swings. Up to 8 percent of women who have PMS suffer mood changes severe enough to cause problems in their personal lives and daily routines; this more serious version of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD. The fixes Calcium supplements are a good first thing to try, Endicott says, because research shows they ease symptoms. (Calcium may help even out hormone levels, although no one knows for sure why it works.) Besides, most women don't get enough calcium in their diets anyway. She suggests 1,200 mg daily, and not just on the day you're PMS-ing. "It should help take the edge off" over time, Endicott says.

Daily exercise -- like fast walking, lifting weights, or even dancing -- may be the last thing you want to do when in the throes of PMS, but it has proven antidepressant and antianxiety effects.

Antidepressants (Paxil, Prozac, Sarafem, and Zoloft, to name a few) can relieve severe symptoms. The new twist is that you don't have to take one daily -- but instead as soon as you feel anxious. "We tell (women who choose this option) to put a red flag on the calendar noting when they're likely to have symptoms so they remember to take the medication beforehand, when it can be most effective," Endicott says. Another choice: Yaz, a birth-control pill that's FDA-approved to treat PMDD. Clinical trials show it can cut symptoms by at least half, though the reasons are unclear.

Gastro upsets

Many women have diarrhea, gas, or constipation during their periods. Prostaglandins, the chemicals that cause cramping in your uterus, do the same in your bowels. "For lots of women, it's common to have a loose stool or diarrhea on the day they have a lot of bleeding," says Leslie Miller, M.D., University of Washington-Seattle clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

The fixes

Fiber can help keep GI issues under control. Aim for 30 grams a day from cereal, fruit with the skin, and vegetables. But don't add fiber to your diet too fast when you get your period; that could worsen diarrhea. For constipation, check your habits. Miller says women often hold in bowel movements because they're in public places. Before you know it, you are bloated and constipated. "When you get the urge, go," Miller advises.

Ibuprofen and other similar anti-inflammatory medicines may reduce gastro cramping. To avoid tummy irritation, take it with food.

All of the above

Some women experience a combo of excessive bleeding, cramping, breast tenderness, headaches, PMS, and other troubles. What to do?

The fix

Stop treating the individual symptoms. Miller recommends continuous birth control pills -- you just skip the placebo week and move on to your next pack. If your insurer won't pay for that, ask about Lybrel and the other pill options. Also, consider NovaSure if childbearing isn't in your future.

Copyright 2007 HEALTH Magazine
User avatar
minks
Posts: 26281
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:58 pm

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by minks »

Well Basically we women go through he|| once a month every month for many years.

Hmmmmm No wonder the world is tilted off kilter huh :wah:
�You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.�

― Mae West
User avatar
along-for-the-ride
Posts: 11732
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:28 pm

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by along-for-the-ride »

I got older, so my "monthly visitor" went elsewhere. :wah:
Life is a Highway. Let's share the Commute.
RedGlitter
Posts: 15777
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:51 am

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by RedGlitter »

OH YUCCK!!

That's gross! Seriously Jimbo, there's this all girl rock group called L7. They were playing a show and for some unknown reason, the lead singer stuck her hand in her pants and chucked her used tampon at some guy in the audience.That's just no way for a woman to be. That poor guy. Can you imagine? :yh_sick
User avatar
along-for-the-ride
Posts: 11732
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:28 pm

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by along-for-the-ride »

RedGlitter;701066 wrote: OH YUCCK!!

That's gross! Seriously Jimbo, there's this all girl rock group called L7. They were playing a show and for some unknown reason, the lead singer stuck her hand in her pants and chucked her used tampon at some guy in the audience.That's just no way for a woman to be. That poor guy. Can you imagine? :yh_sick


Leave it to Jimbo.........................:o
Life is a Highway. Let's share the Commute.
User avatar
spot
Posts: 38203
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: Brigstowe

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by spot »

There's more than one attitude to menstruation, not every woman considers it a blight. The article seems singularly one-sided.
Nullius in verba|||||||||||
Who has a spare two minutes to play in this month's FG Trivia game!
User avatar
Imladris
Posts: 4798
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:29 am

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by Imladris »

spot;701333 wrote: There's more than one attitude to menstruation, not every woman considers it a blight. The article seems singularly one-sided.


When you're trying to get pregnant you dread it every month, when you're trying not to get pregnant you welcome it every month!!



When you're young you want them to start to prove you're growing up, then when they do start you wonder why you wanted them in the first place.



If you can carry on life as normal when you have your period then fine but so many women suffer and have miserable time because of them.



I for one was glad that my request for a hysterectomy was granted - 3 years free now of the monthly pain, heavy bleeding, anaemia, bad moods etc etc.



But I do take your point Spot - a friend's mother bleeds for two days every month and sails through like it never happens - lucky cow!!
Originally Posted by spot

She is one fit bitch innit, that Immy





Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time
User avatar
spot
Posts: 38203
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: Brigstowe

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by spot »

Imladris;701344 wrote: But I do take your point Spot - a friend's mother bleeds for two days every month and sails through like it never happens - lucky cow!!Go on, lets break a few taboos while we're at it. Some women say that sex when bloated that way, with such slippery lubrication, gets them off far more than during the rest of the month. So where did the taboo come from, do you suppose?

The Golden Bough, by Sir James George Frazer, is the obvious place to find examples - his chapter 20.3 "Women tabooed at Menstruation and Childbirth" is full of it:An Australian blackfellow, who discovered that his wife had lain on his blanket at her menstrual period, killed her and died of terror himself within a fortnight. Hence Australian women at these times are forbidden under pain of death to touch anything that men use, or even to walk on a path that any man frequents.Are we overstepping the bounds of decent conversation yet?
Nullius in verba|||||||||||
Who has a spare two minutes to play in this month's FG Trivia game!
RedGlitter
Posts: 15777
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:51 am

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by RedGlitter »

spot;701346 wrote: Go on, lets break a few taboos while we're at it. Some women say that sex when bloated that way, with such slippery lubrication, gets them off far more than during the rest of the month. So where did the taboo come from, do you suppose?

The Golden Bough, by Sir James George Frazer, is the obvious place to find examples - his chapter 20.3 "Women tabooed at Menstruation and Childbirth" is full of it:An Australian blackfellow, who discovered that his wife had lain on his blanket at her menstrual period, killed her and died of terror himself within a fortnight. Hence Australian women at these times are forbidden under pain of death to touch anything that men use, or even to walk on a path that any man frequents.Are we overstepping the bounds of decent conversation yet?


I don't know about overstepping but I have to admit your choice of words at this hour of the morning was a real eye opener for me, Spot. :wah:

I'd never heard of the Australian thing but I do know many cultures either consider a menstruating woman unclean down to the point where she is not to cook food for others and is often even banished from the rest of the community -or at least the menfolk- as she is considered to have special power during this time and can rob men of their strength.

In wicca and pagan culture, that time of the month is considered very powerful and some even include the blood as an element in their ritual or spellwork.

Both you and Imladris have good points on both sides. It is awful for some women and not a big deal for others. Myself, I get weary of women who complain about it almost seemingly for the want of attention or sympathy. I'm not saying everyone who complains is like that of course, but these women who whine about their horrendous pain and act like they're going to kill if they don't get chocolate really get on my nerves.
User avatar
sunny104
Posts: 11986
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:25 am

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by sunny104 »

spot;701346 wrote: Are we overstepping the bounds of decent conversation yet?


nope, tell us more! :D
User avatar
spot
Posts: 38203
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: Brigstowe

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by spot »

RedGlitter;701364 wrote: these women who ... act like they're going to kill if they don't get chocolate really get on my nerves.Oh - they're my favorite sort! Sorry, back to menstruation taboos...Among the Bribri Indians of Costa Rica a menstruous woman is regarded as unclean. The only plates she may use for her food are banana leaves, which, when she has done with them, she throws away in some sequestered spot; for were a cow to find them and eat them, the animal would waste away and perish. And she drinks out of a special vessel for a like reason; because if any one drank out of the same cup after her, he would surely die.
Nullius in verba|||||||||||
Who has a spare two minutes to play in this month's FG Trivia game!
RedGlitter
Posts: 15777
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:51 am

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by RedGlitter »

Wow. Powerful enough to poison the village cows too? :D It amuses me how in third world cultures women are so often relegated to being a second rate species every day of the year et on flow days, men are afraid of them.

Maybe there is someone here who can help me out with this. I understand in Jewish culture, is it customary for the mother to slap her daughter when the girl's first period comes. I'm serious. My Jewish friend was slapped by her mom and when asked why, her mom told her she didn't know but that her mom had slapped her too. I think this is terrible but I would love to know the thinking behind it. :confused:
RedGlitter
Posts: 15777
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:51 am

Womens Issues: Fixes for the Monthly Visitor

Post by RedGlitter »

Actually I did just find this about the slapping custom:

http://www.mum.org/slap.htm

Return to “Health and Drug Concerns”