Health Care, Just the Facts, Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo, Women's Health

Dysmenorrhea & Prostaglandins

I’m back to talk about Women’s Health, more specifically about Dysmenorrhea and Prostaglandins, and how it pertains to our monthly flow.

There are many aspects of my life that I was never fully prepared for, this is one of those. Sure, I learned the basics of women’s health in school and was given another talk by my doctor before my first pelvic exam. That was the extent of the knowledge that was shared with me. From the time that I started my periods ( age 11) until now (42) was mostly trial and error and doing my own research. Luckily young girls today have it easier with easy access to the internet. Many of us weren’t that fortunate.

I hope that by sharing my experience of 31 years that another female doesn’t have to continue to suffer for as long as I have with dysmenorrhea caused by prostaglandins. Before I go any further, I will make the disclaimer that I am not a medical doctor or an OBGYN. If you find that my experience sounds very similar to what you are dealing with, please make an appointment with your doctor or OBGYN to be diagnosed properly.

What is Dysmenorrhea: Dysmenorrhea is the medical term that describes difficult or painful periods.

While most women experience typical cramping during menstruation, the pain is tolerable and passes without too much disruption.

For the most part, I do experience the typical cramping and I have used an over the counter (OTC) pain reliever to take the edge off. In some cases, I have found relief in using a heating pad. Staying hydrated a few days leading up to the first day of my cycle helps a bit.

My experience with dysmenorrhea started when I was 13 and the experience has been the same miserable, debilitating and painful thing I have ever endured.

Dysmenorrhea for me includes:

  • Happens on the first heavy flow day, by heavy I mean going through an overnight pad every 4 hours.
  • Sweating, Clammy, Skin goes pale- This is the 5-minute window that I’ve learned to recognize that things are about to take a turn for the worse. If I can’t get home, the experience of what’s about to come is much worse.
  • Severe cramping. Cramping so bad that I’m doubled over with constant pain in my midsection that just won’t quit. The pain was so bad once (at work) that I nearly blacked out. That only happened once, the nearly passing out part. The severe cramping has been a constant factor.
  • I’m confined to the bathroom because part of this process includes loose stool/diarrhea. In most cases, I’m also vomiting at the same time.
  • My body feels hot, sweaty, clammy and I often take off my clothes (if I’m home which isn’t always the case) just to help cool down. All that is listed up to this point is just the first phase. This part has lasted up to 2 hours and everything happens at the same time.
  • Phase 2: Once my body is done expelling from every orifice and my body has started to cool down, I can leave the bathroom and proceed to lay down. The severe cramps are still present and typically have me doubled over in tears. I have a fan on the highest setting blowing directly on me to help bring my temperature down from clammy to chilled. The severe cramping eventually subsides and I am chilled to the bone, the fan is replaced with a heating pad. I rest, in and out of sleep and a few hours later I feel fine.

This whole process varies in time. In my younger years, it would last up to four hours. In the last 10 years, I have my husband that helps me through this process. We’ve got it worked out and I was able to feel better within 2 hours yesterday. Once I’m certain that I’m experiencing a “Bad Month” he brings a fan into the bathroom to help bring my temperature down. He’ll sit with me, rub my back which is comforting and he makes sure that I’m drinking something to replenish the fluids that I’m expelling from both ends. Once I’m ready to relocate from the bathroom to the bedroom, he makes sure that the fan is in position and offers an Iburophin now that I can keep it down.

I have brought my concerns to a few doctors and an OBGYN, all had nothing to offer since I don’t experience Dysmenorrhea every month. In my teenage years, it was suggested that I was exaggerating how painful the cramps were. For years I thought these “bad months” were normal. While every month isn’t a “bad month” it was happening more frequently in my teens and 20’s. In the last ten years, it’s at least once a year and it’s a guessing game if it will be this month or will it be next month. I can only rely on the 5-minute window when I start to feel my body temperature rising.

I started using a Period Tracker to see if there was a pattern to the “bad months”. Here’s the link to the site that I have been using since 2007. Also, a great tool if you’re trying to conceive.

After doing a bit of research yesterday (after phase 2) I wanted to get to the bottom of what was happening, what causes me to endure these “bad months” from hell. I found a probable cause, Prostaglandins.

What are Prostaglandins:

After reading that prostaglandins are a natural response to healing tissue, in this case, the uterine lining and if there is an excess (which I believe is the case) of prostaglandins, one could experience all of the symptoms that I experience. Something I wish that one of my doctors or OBGYN would have explained to me decades ago. All of my PAP tests and Pelvic exams have been normal. I had my tubes tied back in 2016, and nothing abnormal was noticed during that surgery.

Here’s my theory about what’s happening. During these “bad months” the flow is so heavy that my body may be producing more prostaglandins than what is actually needed. While prostaglandins cause uterine muscle contraction (aka menstrual cramps), they also affect the bowels. Prostaglandins stimulate contracting and relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract, which is why your period can cause changes in your bowels.

The result of too many prostaglandins is loose stools and painful menstrual cramps.
On my next visit with my doctor, I will bring this up to see if she suggests a solution. So far this is the closest reason that makes sense for my situation. Hopefully, my experience helps another woman find relief for the cause of the dysmenorrhea that she is experiencing. Again, I’m not a doctor or a medical professional.

As for me, I will continue to pray for menopause. It can’t come soon enough.




Covid-19, Health Care, Speaking from Experience, Women's Health

#StayHome Health Log

Welcome back blog readers,

At the start of this pandemic, last month (Canada it was early/mid-March 2020) I started to log my temperature and any symptoms just to keep an eye on things.

Since Sunday, March 15 I’ve had a slight pressure in my upper chest, no pain, no discomfort, no issues breathing.  Just a slight pressure for the last month.

I’ve recorded my temperature, to which I tend to register on the lower end of  “normal”, so on the rare occasions where I have spiked a fever, my temperature is typically reading 99F+.

Sunday, March 22nd, Temperature 97.9F

Sunday, March 29th, Temperature 98.0F
Still no other symptoms, just a slight pressure in my upper chest to which I have chalked up as anxiety as I have chosen to continue to work.

Thursday, April 16, the slight pressure in my upper chest is now accompanied by a slight heaviness in my lungs that is more noticeable upon inhaling. Still no pain/discomfort, no real issue breathing or getting enough air/circulation, no persistent cough. Feels like the beginning of an upper respiratory infection (unconfirmed diagnosis, just my thoughts).

Friday, April 17, same as yesterday, temperature 97F

Sunday, April 19, temperature 97.6F same pressure, the same level of heaviness, feeling tired and achy I decided to call in for my shift just to be safe. I could be dealing with a mild case of Walking Pneumonia (unconfirmed, it feels familiar from when I had it back in 2015) minus the sporadic coughing fits.

Monday, April 20, temperature 97.3F no changes to how I feel. Achiness/stiffness could be a combination of things. I normally have a chiropractic adjustment every 3 weeks, my last appointment was March 12th with a follow up on April 2nd that was canceled due to the Government closing things down. I have called in for Tuesday and Wednesday because I don’t know what I’m dealing with and I’m allowing myself a chance to rest and see if things get better or worse before deciding to go back to work.

I hate calling in, I know that many people are calling in and the store is extremely short-staffed. Am I dealing with a very mild case of COVID-19? Am I dealing with a very mild case of pneumonia? Am I dealing with an upper respiratory infection? The government of Ontario and the health experts have all stated that anyone that doesn’t feel 100% should stay home.

Has my level of anxiety increased since this pandemic started?, YES. I went from working 18 hours/week to 30+ hours/week. My position at work has changed from working in the Bakery to being trained (working in close proximity) to the associate training me in Claims and in the Cash Office. Since I’m being shuffled from one department (to train) to another department, I’m an associate without a permanent position.

If COVID-19 wasn’t a concern, I probably would just suck it up and continue to work my shifts. I don’t like feeling as if I’m letting my team down. I also know that I have to do what is best for me, do the right thing, and stay home.

I’ll keep updating this post with any new developments~ Tuesday, April 21.

***** UPDATE***** Wednesday April 22*****

I decided to call telehealth figuring that while I’m not displaying the more common COVID symptoms, what I do have maybe the less frequent symptoms and it was best to seek advice from a health professional.

Besides, it’s part of the due diligence.

Telehealth was so concerned that they suggested that not only should I get tested for COVID, but I should call an ambulance. Anytime there is a concern with breathing, the online assessment assumes it’s the worst-case scenario. I voiced my concern that an ambulance was a little much considering that I live within walking distance to the local hospital and the slight pressure in my chest is just that, slight.
I said I would call the hospital to get further instructions for the testing.

The local hospital doesn’t test for COVID, they suggested that I call Ottawa Public Health to find the closest test clinic. Public Health didn’t confirm my address and wanted to send me to downtown Ottawa to get tested. I raised the concern and questioned if there wasn’t a closer clinic. To which there is, but they didn’t have the information handy.
I asked a friend that had recently been tested to find out where she went. That should have been my first inquiry.

I drove out to Winchester where the COVID testing is taking place, I was in/out in under 10 minutes. No long wait times and the swab was very similar to having a swab for Strep Throat, not a swab through the nasal cavity.

Results will be ready in 24-48 hours and I will get confirmation whether it’s positive or negative.

The paperwork that I was given from the testing facility states (suggests) that if the test is Negative that I can return to work 24 hours after symptom resolution.

If the test is Positive: Self Isolate for 14 days- Return to work after 2 negative swabs, at least 24 hours apart (assuming you feel fine, no symptoms).

I’ve already called my employer, left a message with HR to let them know that I will be calling in for the rest of this week (Thursday/Friday) I’m off Saturday/Sunday. By then I should have the results to know how to proceed, assuming there are no changes.

Temperature: 97.8F

Oxygen Level, Checked at the COVID test clinic, 95% (taken while I was wearing a facemask).

That’s the news, for now, ~ Wednesday, April 22, 2020  *******

***** Friday, April 24, 2020******

Today’s news is that my COVID-19 results have come back NEGATIVE! So that’s a relief. I have further instruction to Complete my 14-day self-isolation (since the date of the test) which means I’ll be out of work until May 6th.

I’m still fighting off something (respiratory) so it’s probably best that I do take the time to rest, hydrate and see if I can’t get rid of whatever this is.


******* Update Sunday, May 3, 2020 *******

The slight pressure that had been present since mid-March is no longer there. It’s been gone for a few days now along with any other symptoms. I’m back to feeling 100% and intend to return to work on Thursday, May 7th as planned.

Here are the latest update/policy changes from the big-box retailer (my employer).

  • Safety- Associate temperature and wellness checks will continue in the Distribution Centers, our drivers and we’ll begin to roll out this program in the retail stores. We are encouraging customers to limit entry to only ONE adult per family. We are also distributing (voluntary) PPE (masks/gloves) to associates and we strongly encourage you to wear them while at work.
  • Offering New Services- Groceries by phone (not available in all locations)
  • Priority Pharmacy Access- Customers picking up a prescription no longer have to wait in line. They can call the pharmacy outside and get further instructions before meeting the associate at the front of the store.
  • Priority Store Access- Hospital Workers and First Responders will be given priority access starting Monday, May 4th as another way to Thank them.
  • Groceries to Hospital Staff- We’ve partnered up with eleven hospitals so their staff can have groceries delivered right to the hospital and we’re working to expand this program.

Online Grocery Orders continue to be in high demand. We are filling tens of thousands of orders each day, which means the wait time may be longer.  More stores are adding additional time slots and offering delivery. We appreciate your patience as we work through this high demand.   *** end of memo ***


Here are my thoughts and tips if you choose to visit any public store:

Wear a facemask, whether it’s store-bought, homemade, a simple bandana, or a scarf. Wear some form of protection. While our employer is offering PPE, keep in mind that there are 50+ associates each day sharing resources that are in high demand and don’t come in as often as we expect (backorder).

Please follow the arrows on the floor, Please go down the aisle in the right direction. Please wait your turn before proceeding down the aisle. I know that that Meat and Dairy aisles are the busiest and often the most congested. You have associates standing to one side with carts because they are either restocking and have to get it completed within 20 minutes (temperature-sensitive food items) or the associates are doing their best to fill online grocery orders (also time-sensitive). Just follow the flow and treat those aisles as you would a One-Way street. You don’t have to wait for the associate to move, they should be parked off to the side, so go around them when you have the space to do so. Customers going through the aisles in the opposite direction are the ones making matters worse and holding everybody up.

Have a LIST and know what you’re looking for. That is the key to getting you and other customers in & out as efficiently as possible. Start at the furthest point from the registers and work you’re way to the front.

Don’t harass the cashiers about any quantity limits or new policies, they have ZERO control and are only doing what they are asked to do for their safety as well as yours. Yes, these are hard times, they are inconvenient for everybody. Some may be new hires and are still learning, so give them a break if they aren’t as “fast” as the next cashier, or if they make a mistake while ringing up your order.

While you’re shopping you see your friend or neighbor and want to catch up. I understand your excitement, you haven’t seen them in weeks. DON’T take up space in the aisles with the marked arrows. Meet up with them in a lower traffic area, like shoes, infants, men’s wear. Don’t block the high traffic aisles where you see associates moving through with their carts or continue to move through with skids from the back of the store. Pull off to the side (between displays) or meet up in the parking lot.

Anyway, that’s the news for now.

Stay Safe 🙂






Abuse comes in many forms, Health Care, Not the Popular Opinion, Politics, Religious Beliefs, Stigma/Taboo, Women's Health

My Body, I have the final word.


Welcome back blog readers,

Just a bit of fair warning, If you don’t want to read what I have to say about my views on abortion, then carry on about your day.

I know this topic may generate different points of view, that is perfectly fine as long as we can agree to keep things civil. My opinion on this matter is that it’s my body, I should have the final word. Just as it is your body and you should have the last word. While it’s nice to have all of the facts, and I do mean facts, not religious beliefs, or opinions I’d like the right to choose what is best for me. I don’t want men that have no experience being pregnant making choices for me. I don’t want any religious group making decisions for me.

The choice to go through with an abortion is very personal, can we agree on that? Why would I want the government stepping in or religious groups that I have no affiliation with telling me what is best for me and my body?  I don’t. I don’t want that for anyone as they are not the ones who have to live with that choice, the guilt, remorse, or deal with any complications that might come after the abortion takes place.

Do I think making the choice of having an abortion is easy? No, absolutely not.

It’s also not right to pass judgment on a woman who is making a choice to have an abortion. Those groups that linger around the family planning clinics, protesting, yelling, harassing women that enter/leave are despicable. Those groups assume all those that enter are going in for an abortion when that is not the case. Not to say that some of those appointments are for a consultation, more often than not, many of those appointments are related to reproductive health and have nothing to do with seeking an abortion. Frankly, what women go in for is between them and their doctor/ OBGYN, not you or anyone else.

You may feel that abortion is not right for you, that is fine, that is your choice. That doesn’t give you the right to pass judgment or pass laws that make that choice for anyone else. In many cases the decision to have an abortion isn’t just a matter of Oops, we didn’t use protection. Incest, Rape are things to consider as to why a woman might choose to have an abortion. In some cases the mother to be might have health related issues that may prevent her from carrying full term, her life may be at risk and therefore the baby’s life as well. Most people don’t consider that possibility, they only hear abortion, and their mind goes straight to MURDERER. Not everything is as black and white.

Not every woman has the support of the father to be. Not every woman has the support of her family. Maybe you do, many of us don’t. Can you understand why a woman with no father to be, no parents, no family in her life finds out that her life is at risk if she carries full-term might consider saving herself over losing her life along with the fetus?

Is it really better to force a woman to give birth only to be at a higher risk for postpartum depression, she has no support and her newborn baby is found in a dumpster?

Yes, I’m fully aware that adoption is available. As easy as it is to sit back and claim that you would make a choice to put the baby up for adoption when that time comes is all well and good until you are in that position and are put on the spot. For some of us, going through the 9 months of carrying a baby only to give it up is not as easy as it sounds.

I find that many Pro-Lifers are hypocrites, not all but many. They prefer that the woman carries full term, give that baby a chance at life. Until the baby is born, the mother who has no support goes on welfare/government assistance for 18 years or the child ends up homeless or in the foster system and their tune changes. Pro-Lifers fight for a child to be born, not for that child to be fed, housed, educated or to see that the child receives health care. That’s not Pro-life, that’s Pro-Birth.

A choice that I make for me and my body may not be a choice that you make for yourself and your body, that’s okay. I believe that you and everyone else has the right to CHOOSE what is in your best interest. If not having an abortion is best for you, Great! Don’t have one that is your choice. Isn’t it nice to have an option and not be forced to do something against your will, especially when it’s your body we’re talking about?

If there are doctors that are fine with performing abortions, more power to them. Let them help women that require it. The same goes for doctors that are okay with helping patients with terminal illnesses, they know they are on limited time and want the chronic pain and suffering to end. The option for physician-assisted suicide is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean the option shouldn’t be available for those who want it. This goes for medical professionals that don’t want to perform surgeries that go against the morals/beliefs, they shouldn’t have to. It’s all about CHOICE and the freedom to be able to make a choice for yourself, not have one forced on you.

You may not want something, or opt for a procedure, that is fine. Your beliefs should not stop somebody else from choosing that for themselves as their choice has no effect on you whatsoever.

I am not owned by anyone, I am not the property of the government, I answer to myself and want the freedom to choose. I want you to have the freedom to choose.

For those curious minds, while it is not your business, I will clarify before the question gets asked; NO I have not had an abortion, I have never been pregnant because that was MY CHOICE.



Speaking from Experience, Stigma/Taboo, TMI, Women's Health

Women’s Health


Welcome back blog readers,

This blog post will cover topics that deal with women’s health, periods, cramping, PMS and the monthly joys we as women have to endure, and by endure, I mean suffer. Consider yourself warned, no hard feelings if you choose to stop reading now. I get it, some things fall under TMI (too much information).

I feel inclined to share my experience on this matter because after 28 years of suffering, let’s be honest, it’s not a joyous occasion; I seem to fall (yet again) into a one size fits all (except for me) category. While yes I have regular periods, no major complications but since I was a teenager I have had what I call “really bad months”.

Here is where the TMI comes in as I explain what I deal with during these “really bad months”. The PMS symptoms are normal, lower backache, water retention, bouts of irritability, craving chocolate, sleep less than normal, all of which is pretty standard for me.

Here’s where it’s not so normal, when the “really bad month” shows up, it’s typically the first heavy flow day. When I say heavy I mean going through an overnight pad every 2-4 hours kind of heavy. I should mention that I’m only 5 feet tall and my weight has fluctuated from 112 in high school to 142 now.

On these days (which are hard to predict) I experience severe cramping, my body temperature fluctuates from normal, to feeling feverish, to the point where I practically strip down (that is the only warning I get the severe cramps that have me doubled over and the quick temperature change). Once those appear, I have learned that I have maybe 15 minutes to get home and to the bathroom where I spend a good hour sitting on the throne, severely cramping, feeling like I want to die it hurts so bad, heavy bleeding, sweaty/clammy as I sit with a small fan blowing directly on me, bouts of diarrhea and a bucket to vomit in all happening at the same time. Sorry for the visual, I’m being honest.

That’s not even the end of it, just the first hour. Once I feel safe enough to get off of the throne (usually when the chills set in), I bring the vomit bucket into the bedroom and put on some fresh comfy stretchy clothes and try to sleep off the severe cramping and fight off the chills for the next hour or two. Once that finally passes, I feel great and the cramping over the next 3-4 days is minimal and the loss of blood is considerably less.

I have talked to a few doctors and OBGYN’s about my concerns and they have offered nothing in support or advice except to say that they don’t feel it’s anything to worry about since it doesn’t happen “every month”. The really bad months show up at least twice a year, they were more frequent during my teens through my late 20’s. If these symptoms happening all at once are “normal” then I am the only one I know that deals with it. If this is “normal” why was it never mentioned in Sex Ed or talked about by other women?

The worse episode happened in my ealy 20’s while I was at work (45 minutes from home). I was in the middle of talking to a customer and experienced tunnel vision and a slight loss of hearing (almost blacked out standing up). I had to excuse myself to get to the bathroom. That had never happened before, or since. I had to call my brother to pick me up and drive me home. The neighbors saw him walk me up the stairs and assumed I was drunk. They heard through the grapevine that I was bleeding heavily and almost blacked out, to which they assumed I had a miscarriage.  I was neither drunk nor have I ever been pregnant.

During my many years of suffering through this I have found that I really have to hydrate a few days before I expect my period to start. Staying hydrated seems to help keep the bad months at bay, or at the very least it has cut the time of suffering in the bathroom down. In any case there doesn’t seem to be name or cure or any information that makes sense as to why it happens.

My best guess is that my body loses too much blood to quickly, sending my body into shock as it tries to regulate the temperature.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you experience something similar or if you have better advice.

The joys of being a woman…… ~ Hannah