I've just returned from my fifth trip to a GP to try and find out what's wrong with me and have, again, been turned away with a prescription for pain killers but with no clear answers as to what could be causing my symptoms. Instead I've been given another diagnosis of 'painful periods' where it seems I'm supposed to accept that this is just the way it has to be. I'm beginning to get pretty desperate - I feel like there must be some cause for what happens to me. You can tell me if you think this is just wishful thinking.
The symptoms I have are that one in every three or four periods is accompanied with excruciating pain - pain worse than anything else I've ever experienced which causes me to shout out and roll around. The pain comes on very suddenly and is very often accompanied with vomiting, fainting and, sometimes, diarrhoea. It is so bad and can begin so suddenly that I have often found myself stranded away from home - the last time, while working away from home, I was standing alone at a bus stop when suddenly I found myself in so much pain I passed out and remained lying on the pavement for nearly an hour trying to wait for a slight lull in the pain to allow me to walk back to my apartment (just one street away). I was finally persuaded by my mum, who I had phoned to try and talk me through the pain, to phone for a paramedic. I was helped home and, since by that point the pain finally began to subside, given no further treatment.
Though sometimes I manage to predict the pain in time to stay home, stories similar to that above have happened a lot - a couple of times ambulances have been phoned by strangers unsure how else to help (once while I was abroad in Germany) - and each time I find it next to impossible to try and explain what is wrong with me, firstly because I don't really know myself and secondly because I am constantly floating in and out of consciousness because of the severity of the pain.
Other than this severe pain, which lasts on average about 3 - 4 hours, these painful periods are normal - not particularly heavy and of normal duration. The rest of my periods are accompanied by what I would describe as 'easy' cramps - completely manageable, treatable with pain killers and allowing me to go to work / live normally.
I have also often had problems with painful sex though I find it very difficult to work out if this is psychological or physical (this seemed to begin with my first attempt at taking the pill and I'm worried that it's perhaps memories of past experiences that are causing me to worry and tense up rather than any physical problem).
This is the fourth GP I have asked for help. One of them diagnosed IBS, though this doesn't seem to me to fit. I tried the contraceptive pill as treatment but each and every time doing so (with a variety of different hormones / brands) I find it distorts my mood, makes my relationship with my long-term boyfriend next to impossible and makes my sex-life even worse (painful with complete loss of sex drive). I really can't decide whither the everyday miseries of the pill are worth preventing the extreme but sporadic pain I suffer.
This time, like all those before, I just feel like giving in and trying to forget about it. Sometimes it is easy to forget the severity of the pain and I'm always optimistic by month three or four that it's not going to reappear. But it always comes back eventually and I never seem to be able to control it effectively using pain killers.
Does anyone else have the same symptoms? Is there anything else can I try? Should I push for a referral to a specialist?