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Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't let Menstrual Cramps steal your days!

I love being a girl! Dressing up, makeup, all things girly and feminine included.

But like all the other ladies, I dread that time of the month and I particularly detest it when my period coincides with important dates, events or worse, travel dates. Apart from the inconvenience and trouble, bad menstrual cramps are seriously the worst :(

I'm sure most ladies have experienced them before, cramps that are so painful that you feel horrible and just want to curl up in bed and cry. It can be so debilitating that your school, work or social life is affected, and worst of all, this cycle happens every single month, for the rest of your life! Just to think about the pain and suffering every 28 days of your life.. It's a pretty bleak thought.

I was privileged to attend a very informative workshop a couple weeks ago and I learned a lot of tricks to dealing with menstrual cramps, which I'm gonna share with you girls too!

Don't Let Menstrual Cramps Steal Your Days!
When it comes to menstrual cramps, you don't have to suffer in silence, really! There's a ton of tips/remedies to help with easing bad cramps, so read on!

This never fails to make me feel better. Applying a little bit of heat to the stomach can actually help ease menstrual pain.Try a heat patch or resting a hot water bottle on the stomach!

I did a bit of research and it seems that light exercise, especially stretching exercises such as Yoga is actually helpful towards easing menstrual cramps! And it's even better too if you exercise regularly all the time and stay active!

A warm shower
Similar to applying heat on the tummy, I always take a comforting warm shower which helps to relax my body and takes away some of the discomfort.

Over-the-counter pain relievers
There's over-the-counter medication available for pain relief, which may help with mild menstrual cramps.

See your doctor
If you have very severe menstrual cramps which aren't helped by the above, the most effective thing to do is to consult your doctor for more options! A doctor can prescribe you stronger medication to help pain relief, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). However, these drugs may be associated with gastric side effects and have to be taken 2-3 times a day for effective pain relief.

Not sure if you've heard of Arcoxia, but I have had recommendations to try this particular pain relief medication which works just like NSAIDS but with lower risk of gastric side effects! It only has to be taken once a day but Dr Fong mentioned that you will need to see your doctor for this medication.

I also know of people who take birth control pills because they regulate your hormones and thus help to reduce period cramps.

Most importantly, do know that you don't have to suffer every month! You can be empowered to take control of your menstrual cramps with the above tips and information. 

During our session, we were given a talk by Dr Fong Yoke Fai, who's a Senior Consultant and Head of Benign Gynecology at National University Hospital, Singapore.

It's scary, but we learnt that painful menstrual cramps can be caused by a condition called Endometriosis, which occurs in ONE in every TEN women!

Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium (inner membrane of the uterus) is found in areas outside the uterus, usually within the pelvis.

It is not a cancer or STD, but may be genetically linked. Some common symptoms are:
-Painful and/or heavy periods
-Painful intercourse
-Pelvic pain not related to menses

However, you could even be totally symptom-free because symptoms and disease severity do not go hand in hand. Which makes Endometriosis even more scary :(

The great news is that the earlier this condition is detected, the better it can be treated. There's many different ways to treat Endometriosis, ranging from medicines to implants/injections and lastly surgery for more serious cases. Treatment can help to relieve your symptoms and improve fertility, as well as improve your quality of life!

If you are experiencing severe menstrual cramps, I strongly urge you to see a doctor and get checked out, instead of just suffering in silence and brushing it off by thinking that this is something that's perfectly normal. It could very well be Endometriosis that's affecting you and keeping you from enjoying a higher quality of life.

Here's the lovely ladies who attended this informative talk with me! We really learned a lot from Dr Fong, who was very helpful and willing to share.

Dr Fong is also heading an initiative at NUH: EndometriosisAwareness Campaign, Singapore which is dedicated to growing a community of support and hope for women who suffer from Endometriosis and also to spread the word about this condition so that more women can be detected for this condition earlier and allow a better quality of life!

I'm all for supporting the EndometriosisAwareness Campaign because I think everyone should be better educated in our current age of information and technology. Noone should be suffering in silence due to ignorance, especially when this condition affects one in every ten women of reproductive age. 

You should follow EndometriosisAwareness Campaign's Facebook page too to learn more about the condition and to help awareness!

Cheers to a better quality of life every single day, and remember not to let menstrual cramps steal your days!


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