Research has found that over 80 percent of women will experience period pain at some point in her life, while 40 percent of women report having debilitating pain associated with their period each month.
I am one of those women.
Since the start of my period as a teenager, I have dealt with cramps so terrible that I'd throw up or lay curled up crying on the floor.
As I have gotten older, my pain and bleeding increased, which I found out was due to the fibroids growing in my uterus. In April of last year, I decided to have the fibroid and polyp causing my excessive bleeding and pain removed. I thought that would be the end of all of my problems, but sadly while the bleeding got better (still heavy, but better), the pain feels worse — leaving me popping 1600 mg of ibuprofen for six days each month. Research says that Ibuprofen rarely causes complications with the liver, but I can't imagine taking that much pain medicine in such a high dose would be good for me.
There aren't many options for dealing with chronic pain aside from pharmaceutical drugs, which got me to thinking about cannabis. A couple of weeks before my surgery, I gave Whoopi Goldberg's period pain products a try. To put it mildly, the THC in the product made me paranoid, anxious and exacerbated the pain.
My body was numb, but the pain of my cramps was amplified. It was a bizarre feeling and an experience I look back on and laugh at now.
Even with the hilarious experience I had with the THC products, I wanted to give more cannabis products a try. This time I went the CBD route and gave up my pain pills for my cycle this month, so I could really see what worked. I know that some of you reading this might say that a change of diet and lifestyle will get rid of all of my pain, but that hasn't been my story. I have made some pretty mindful changes to my diet that have helped a lot, but the pain (and sometimes nausea) I feel is still there.
I tried a few products I'd read were great options for women with menstrual pain starting with Foria's Relief Vaginal Suppositories made with organic-certified cocoa butter and 100mg active CBD each and their Basic Tonic on the first day of my period. When I told a co-worker I was giving these a try, she gave a little chuckle and said: "You're willing to try anything, huh?" The answer to that is a roaring yes! As a teenager, my doctor always recommended I get a head start on my pain by taking Ibuprofen a couple of days before my period hit because once the pain starts, it's more challenging to manage.
My cycle is pretty predictable at this point, so I know the days when the pain is going to be worse. The morning it started, and I felt cramps, I immediately inserted the suppository. I had already starting dosing myself with 0.75 ml of the tincture a couple of days before to get a head start on managing my pain — so I'd like to think both products were working together.
Once the cocoa butter suppository was inserted, I could feel a tingly sensation almost immediately, and about twenty minutes later, the pain was gone entirely. I tried the same remedy on my roughest days, and while it did help ease the pain, my uterus was like "we're going to show this little thing who's boss," — and I almost reached for my pills. Instead, I upped my dosage of the tincture and added a new product to the mix, Lord Jones' High CBD Formula Body Lotion. Like the suppository, when I applied the creamy lotion, I felt a tingly cooling sensation, and a few moments later, as my sharp cramps were at their peak, I felt a sense of relief. Every time I felt my body about to give it to me, I applied one more pump, and there was some relief, which was a pleasant surprise.
As the week went on, I gave both Foria's Basic Tonic and Lord Jones CBD Tincture a try. If you're wondering what a CBD tincture is and how it can help with pain the simple answer is: a tincture is a cannabis option you can take orally, and it is known to help with anxiety, sleep issues, and can help alleviate inflammation in the body, which can help with pain.
The jury is still out for me on whether I could solely use the tinctures in place of my pain meds since I'm still trying to figure out the right dosage, but I got some great benefits like better sleep and less anxiety.
When my period is doing its thing, I don't get any sleep because either I'm in too much pain to sleep or I'm afraid that I'm going to wake up with blood-stained sheets — so I'm always tossing and turning. The tinctures helped me sleep through the night with ease, which never happens for me.
The Lord Jones Body LotionCourtesy of Lord Jones
The CBD products coming to market are wonderful because they're giving those of us with chronic pain options beyond pain pills. Am I ready to throw out my bottle of 800 mg Ibuprofen? No. But, the topical options like Foria suppositories and the Lord Jones Body Lotion will be a part of my monthly pain management routine because it was nice to have something that worked on the spot that didn't come in a small bottle with my name on it.
My final note about CBD, in general, was something I thought about a lot while trying them — the pricing. The average CBD product starts at about $40 and goes up from there, that is pretty pricey especially for those of using products monthly (or even daily) to help with pain caused by fibroids and endometriosis. If the industry wants to make sure everyone dealing with illness and pain can afford to use alternatives then that needs to reflect in the pricing.
All and all, I had a great experience using CBD products and can't wait to try more! What are you all using to help with your pain each month?
Featured image by Getty Images.
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