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I'm So Sick When I Have My Period

Published: March 14, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Hi, I'm a 14-year-old girl. I started getting my periods at 11 and since then they've been so bad it's causing problems. I lose so much blood in the first day that I get lightheaded and dizzy, and the cramping is so severe that I have to lie down. I've taken painkillers for it (like Midol and ibuprofen) but my body has just had enough. I tried to explain it to my doctor but she says I just menstruate more than others. I can't go to school when I'm menstruating because I'm too sick. It's really rough trying to work around all this stuff. I'm worried that it's serious. I'm a little lighter than average (5'1" and 100lbs) but I have plenty of body fat, just not much muscle, so it's not like I'm lacking a lot of fat. I don't have any longstanding health problems. So what do you think is going on with my periods? Thanks
Signed: I'm So Sick When I Have My Period

Dear I'm So Sick When I Have My Period,

If your primary care physician has not been addressing your complaint about having a heavy menses, then TeenHealthFX recommends that you schedule an appointment with a gynecologist. Gynecologists deal with the health of the female reproductive system (uterus, ovaries and vagina) and the breasts. Given this is what a gynecologist specializes in, you should be able to get a better understanding of what is contributing to your heavy menses and what you can do about it. For example, a gynecologist might recommend that you go on a low dose birth control pill or other prescription medication. Given how light-headed you feel, the doctor might also check to see if you are anemic.

FX suggests that you speak with a parent/guardian about setting up an appointment with a reputable gynecologist. If you have any concerns about bringing this up with a parent/guardian, then FX recommends that you speak to your school nurse about it. She will be able to provide you with some support and guidance with this, and intervene on your behalf to ensure you get the medical treatment that you need.

In the meantime, FX recommends the following:

  • Look to your school nurse if you need any help with this issue. Your school nurse will also have pads or tampons in her office if needed during the school day.
  • Have an extra change of clothes on you during the days you have your period just in case.
  • If you are taking Advil for the pain, start it early before the cramps and heavy bleeding set in. Keeping track of when you get your period will help you to know when it is coming so you can take the Advil at the time when it will be most effective. Just remember to eat when taking Advil.
  • Taking a warm bath in the evening or using a heating pad can be helpful. Just be sure to follow the instructions with the heating pad to ensure you are using it safely.
  • Start exercising on a regular basis. Regular exercise can help to ease the intensity of the cramps. Just don’t wait to exercise right before or during your period. It needs to be a consistent thing to really help.

 

Given how disruptive this issue is for you, please reach out to a parent/guardian or your school nurse soon so that you can meet with a gynecologist about this. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network gynecologists.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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