A to Z Challenge, Day 4: D is for Dysmenorrhea

This is another one of those words most people have never heard or said:  dysmenorrhea.
Just like "fibro your what-a?".... "This man..... huh?"  LOL

But seriously, I've been afflicted with dysmenorrhea (extremely painful menstrual periods) since forever.  I've never given birth, and they say that older women who are nulliparous (have never given birth) will experience this worse than other women.  Since I've had this since "day one" of my very first time, I'm basically screwed.  I spend several days each month in bed and inconvenienced.  A year ago, on April Fool's Day, I had finally had enough -- at 53 years old, going through vomiting, extreme pelvic and back pain, and passing out month after month after month.  A friend took me to the emergency room.  My first time in an E.R. in over 30 years.  It did no darned good.  Once they heard that I was having menstrual problems, they wanted only to send me home.  They didn't even give me pain meds (not that I wanted them, because I don't like drugs); they gave me anti-vomiting meds, pumped me full of fluids, and sent me home.  Of course, I was perfectly fine, because that's what ALWAYS happens.  In a few hours, I am perfectly fine.  I've been to countless doctors and no one can figure out what is wrong.  Other than Primary Dysmenorrhea -- which is just a fancy way of saying you have painful periods for absolutely no reason.  [If you have Secondary Dysmenorrhea, it means you have painful periods secondary to another medical cause, such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary disease, super-huge fibroids and the like.  I have an absolutely clean bill of health (which is great!) so I get the "you have painful periods for absolutely no reason at all" diagnosis].

Dysmenorrhea is part of the spectrum of afflictions that Dr. Muhammad Yunus determined overlaps with fibromyalgia.  His study indicates that most people with fibromyalgia have more than one syndrome, and that the syndromes overlap with one another.  He views this overlapping conundrum of syndromes as a "spectrum".  Other doctors have backed up his claims, and you can read about it more in detail here.  It is a fascinating study.

It amazes me that it's been a year since my E.R. visit.  I have had (for the millionth time in my life) test after test after test during that year.  Doctors wanted to give me an IUD or put me back on birth control pills to "stop" my periods.  I explained to them that a)  I already have an angry uterus, you are not implanting a foreign object in there, no way, no how!!; and b) I don't want my periods to stop -- that's unnatural; and c) I don't take prescription drugs or hormones anymore.  Yeah, so I'm a difficult patient.

I've noticed that when I take vitamin D (it was prescribed by two of my doctors -- don't mess with vitamin D see my post about that: here); and when I take vitamin B6, the problem is less intense.  I have to take it every single day of the month.  If I skip or slack off, the problem flares up.  I prefer these solutions to the standard "medical" solutions.  Like I said, I'm a difficult patient.

Before you ask:  not one doctor has ever suggested surgery.  Why?  Because, all my ultrasounds and MRIs and blood tests come back normal.  Surgical intervention, in this case, in unwarranted.

I have my annual physical with my primary next week.  I'm going to talk to him about it all again.  I'm supposed to have "A visit from Aunt Flo" between now and the appointment.  I'll be 54 in a few weeks.  I wish I would just (naturally) go into menopause.  Enough already!!

So, if you thought that your painful monthlies had nothing to do with fibromyalgia... think again.  It's all part of the dysregulation spectrum.  The dysregulation spectrum includes other syndromes such as multiple chemical sensitivity (I have that, too); migraines (check!); IBS (yep); TMJD (uh-huh).... you get the picture.  Again, read Dr. Yunus' report, it is a real eye-opener.

As always, thanks for listening.  And remember the disclaimer.  I'm not a medical professional, just a regular person who has fibromyalgia (and overlapping conditions).

I'm participating in the Blogging A to Z Challenge this month. My theme is fibromyalgia symptoms. And here comes the disclaimer:  I'm not a medical professional -- not even close. I'll be sharing my own experiences with fibromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Please consult a professional if you have a chronic illness, or suspect you do. My blog is purely my own opinion and experience. It is not intended to serve as medical advice.


  1. Dysmenorrhea sounds familiar and I'm trying to remember if that's what my boss's daughter said she had. I don't think it is because her problem was fixed relatively easily. Still, it sounds familiar. Maybe it was mentioned when I was getting diagnosed with endometriosis.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

    1. Hi Patricia, Yes, they would most likely mention dysmenorrhea in connection with the pain from endometriosis. That would be secondary dysmenorrhea -- caused by endometriosis. Sorry your daughter went through endometriosis, I hope she is doing better now?

  2. Wow, I never knew that dysmenorrhea can accompany FMS. I am a massage therapist and some of my clients have FMS. I'm going to google Dr. Yunus' report as I've never heard of him before. But you always learn something new and thanks for letting me learn another word for "D".

    I went to a private all-girls school in high school and I remember how dysmenorrhea was one of the reasons for absences. I've only had a handful of painful periods, most of them happening when I finally went off the pill years ago. My best friend did have a hysterectomy 2 years ago because of painful periods.

    1. Glad to help with a new "D" word! LOL! Oh wow, how I wish I had "normal" cramps. They do hysterectomy when there is a clear problem that can be cured by surgery. For me, they find no clear problem. It stinks! Not that I want surgery, but you know what I mean :)

  3. Hi...I found your post through the A to Z challenge. I had an ablation a few years ago because I was having extremely painful periods. Painful to the point that I was convinced something was terribly wrong...I had never had such bad pains before...they started and got really bad for about a year before I went to the doc for it. I'm so very glad that I had the procedure. No more periods and no more pains at all. Best of luck to you and I hope you can find some relief.
    ~ Katie

    1. Thanks for sharing that info. They did not suggest an ablation for me, although I've had several friends who have had ablations as well. They say that surgery isn't for me because I don't have anything specific that is causing this pain... I've had pain like this ever since my very first period at age 11, so nothing "new" is causing it, if that's a good way to explain it. I just followed you over on BlogLovin' :)

  4. This is a very pertinent topic. You have suffered for many years and I can understand your frustration about it. I will be reading Dr Yunus' report as you suggest. Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge. Good Luck!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading, and your feedback! Dr. Yunus' report gave me great encouragement when I was newly-diagnosed with fibro.


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