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After starting my period during Spring Break of fifth grade, I missed an entire week of school because my cramps and headaches were so bad that I vomited off and on for days.
Two years later, I went on birth control in hopes of controlling my terrible cycles. I felt so weird being on the pill at twelve years old, but we had tried everything and this was only other option my doctor offered. I was miserable during the 10-14 days that my period lasted and could barely function. I even had a doctor write me a prescription for hydrocodone.
Fast-forward through four more years of milder but still present pain and heavy bleeding- it’s my first day of Junior year and I’m in the last class of the day. I’ve felt pretty bad the whole day but now I’m far past any pain I’ve ever felt. My friend walks me to her car and gets me home and up the stairs.
I laid in a steaming hot bath for hours, refilling the rub every time the water cooled. My pain was so high that I was shaking. The next day, I saw a doctor who suggested that I visit the ER. So I waited what felt like all day to be seen by an ER doctor who determined that I had appendicitis.
He said my appendix was slightly enlarged but shouldn’t be causing such intense pain. But he didn’t know what else it could be so we scheduled an appendectomy for the following day. I spent my recovery time laying in bed and researching what was really wrong with me. Something just told me that I didn’t have appendicitis and I was so angry about having scars all over my stomach for no reason.
Then I came across article after article of girls and women sharing their stories. Stories that sounded exactly like mine.
- Starting period before 11 years old
- Long and heavy periods
- Vomiting during period
- Pain between periods
- Difficulty participating in day-to-day activities due to excessive pain, weakness and exhaustion
And then there it was in bold, capital purple letters. ENDOMETRIOSIS.
From that point on, I read everything I could find on the condition. Eventually I was 100% convinced that this is what I had and I told my mom that I needed to see a new doctor.
We made an appointment with a wonderful gynecologist and he agreed that I probably did have Endo. He shared that 1 in 3 women see 3-4 doctors or specialists before being taken seriously and definitely diagnosed. I felt so much relief because he was listening to me and I thought: “Wow, I finally know what’s wrong after 6 years. I’m finally going to be normal.”
We scheduled a Laparoscopy, where my doctor looked for and removed lesions. I felt so lucky because it takes some women 10 years to get a diagnosis, and some never do. They just suffer in silence after being shut down by too many doctors who say that they just have “bad periods.”
After the procedure, he suggested that I get an IUD to help with the pain. So, I had the Skyla IUD implanted and eventually my periods disappeared for the most part. The last 7 years of my life have been relatively pain free. There are still bad days, but now I go months without experiencing the vomiting, chills, shakes and intense stabbing pains that I had been dealing with more often than not.
Endo is also linked to anxiety. A recent study found that 87.5% of women diagnosed with endometriosis also deal with anxiety. For me, living with these two conditions has been difficult and while neither define me, both have shaped who and how I am in huge ways.
Cole and I have recently begun our family-planning discussions – everything from removing the IUD and discontinuing my current anxiety meds that aren’t safe for pregnancy, to the ideal timeline. Actually one of these conversations is what triggered my most recent panic attack. The thought of getting off my medications, plus my Endo pain coming back full force was just too much for me to process that day. The statistic that 30-50% of women with Endo suffer from infertility is always present in the back of my mind. And suddenly, with all of these thoughts swarming and buzzing around in my head, I felt like my ribs cracked, and off the edge I went.
The next day, after I’d calmed down, I started looking for concrete ways to make myself feel better about the process. I found clinical trials and read up on medication weaning protocols, I looked into meds that are safe for pregnancy, and I looked for holistic ways to treat pain.
I found Livia – known as the off switch for menstrual pain – and immediately had the Blue Green one sent over. After unboxing the device on my Instagram story, my DMs were flooded by followers raving about it or asking to be kept in the loop on how I like it.
The Livia is a wearable TENS – or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – device that blocks the pain signals of your cramps from being transmitted to your brain. If the nerve impulses never reach your brain, you can’t ever feel the pain.
It’s so small that you can discreetly wear it under your clothes without ever being noticed. I wore mine to school right after I got it and no one knew. The Livia kit comes with a set of flower-shaped electrodes, a charging cable, a carrying case, and replacement pads.
After the first charge, your Livia is ready to be worn for up to 10 hours of period pain control. You simply attached the electrodes to the body of the device and place the pads on your lower abdomen. Then you can adjust the intensity with the plus or minus buttons on the device. Livia can also be worn on the lower back.
It totally knocked out the mild cramping I was feeling and I can’t wait to see how it works after my IUD removal. You can try it for yourself with the Valentine’s Special – 25% off + 2 free skins + free fast shipping!
The Livia also has a 2-year warranty and comes in a variety of colors. After experimenting with the various settings, I decided that I like level-6 the best but everyone’s is different, depending on the pain intensity.
I would 100% recommend that ladies with Endo/PCOS, or even just painful periods try this holistic approach to treating cramps.
Read reviews here. And if you purchase, let me know how you like it!