Cramped Style: A Monthly Misery, And The Search For Solace


This Wednesday or Thursday, I’ll be getting my period. And, possibly, gut-churning, nausea-inducing cramps. You can probably feel my pain already.

To be honest, the cramps are really only bad every other month. One month, old Aunt Flo breezes in and out of town without any drama. The next month? That bitch is like a tiny, evil troll; squeezing, poking and wringing out my insides.

A few years ago, a wave of cramps came on when I was in a department store. The world started dissolving in front of my eyes and I had to grab a clothing rack and lean into some down vests to keep myself from collapsing in a heap on the floor. It’s tough to describe the sensation: As the pain twists, throbs and shoots, sometimes I feel hot and suddenly sweaty. Dizzy. The lights seem too bright and standing or sitting in an upright position feels wrong. I feel like I want to throw up and die.

The worst part is pretending it’s not really that bad, when it is: I’ve been in situations (usually in an office, to coworkers) where I lied about what was wrong (“food poisoning”; “hangover”) instead of admitting that ladyproblems were distracting me and addling my ladybrain. Is there anything worse than having someone quip, “What, are you on the rag?” when you actually are?

Usually, I try taking ibuprofen, or when available, naproxen (the stuff in Aleve). I’ve tried herbal tea and hot towels on the tummy, but neither seem to have any effect. (Maybe Red Zinger is not “herbal” enough?) In the spirit of the consitpation dilemma (and the dozens of cures you offered), I’m open to suggestions. Wise women of the world, how do you cope?

In the meantime, I’ll just be over here in the fetal position, anticipating the wrath of Cousin Red.

Earlier: A Reader’s Treasury Of Constipation Cures

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