Dicyclomine: A Helpful Medication for Cramps
In addition to having endometriosis and adenomyosis, I also have irritable bowel syndrome, otherwise known as IBS. Many people with endo have IBS as well, as I've written about for this site. However, about three years ago, I made a discovery that seems to at least partially help alleviate the very painful cramps I get when I get my period or am experiencing PMS.
A long time ago in my mid-20s, I was offered a prescription for Bentyl, which is Dicyclomine, an anti-spasmodic that more specifically targets the muscles in the stomach and intestines in order to relax them. I didn't really take this medicine much and after that one bottle, I didn't refill my prescription.
Fast forward to a few years ago, and I was at the urgent care with a terrible pain in my right side. After ruling out something serious, the doctor concluded it was probably a combination of the endo and IBS causing this pain (even though I wasn't having any bowel-specific symptoms like diarrhea or gas at the time, just pain). He asked me if I had ever tried Bentyl. I told him I had briefly in my 20s, but hadn't noticed it helped much for diarrhea. He told me he thought it was more helpful for pain caused by intestinal cramping and he'd write me another prescription and to take it when I was experiencing the kind of pain that brought me to the urgent care (which while worse than usual, was actually a heightened version of the kind of pain I experienced on a semi-regular basis).
Managing my cramps
Sometimes, cis men or other people who have never experience bad menstrual cramps ask me what it's like, and the best way I can describe it is that it feels a lot like the intestinal cramps one might get with food poisoning or the stomach flu Though, unfortunately, going to the bathroom doesn't relieve the cramping. It just continues.).
I realized that these right-side pains often occurred right before my period. So, I decided to take the dicyclomine then. I noticed it did actually help me quite a lot. I then also decided to take some dicyclomine during my period as well when I was struggling with menstrual cramps (one bonus is since it's a different class of medication, I was able to take it in tandem with NSAIDs like ibuprofen). It helped those cramps as well, probably because I have endo around and on my intestines and it helps relieve the muscle spasms I have in that area.
Any option for endo pain?
Usually, I only take a low-dose of dicyclomine during my period or right before it, about once a day. It's so helpful in taming my cramps and in better allowing me to function that I can't imagine going through a period without it on hand.
Out of curiosity, I Googled to see if other people with painful menstrual cramps found it helpful as well and did find a few (but just a few). It may only be helpful to those of us who also have IBS and/or have endo on our bowels. But, for me, it's now an important part of my endo-relieving arsenal.
Have you ever tried dicyclomine for IBS or a related disorder? Does it help you during painful periods or PMS episodes as well? Please answer in the comments below!
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?