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Had radical neck dissection done. Started getting painful period. Taking vicodin. Should I visit ER?

Mar 2013
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Practicing since : 1998
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I had a radical neck dissection on January 3rd due to thyroid cancer spreading to my lymph nodes. Seemingly unrelated: I started my period yesterday. My cramps have been more painful than any period prior. I am losing very little blood comparing to prior periods. I have Vicodin from my neck surgery but it does little help with the cramps. Is this normal? Should I go to the ER?
Posted Wed, 20 Feb 2013 in Menstruation and Miscarriage
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 2 hours later
Thanks for your query.

I hope the date of your period was in keeping with your normal menstrual pattern.
The menstrual pattern is altered by stress, surgery, anxiety and I am sure the multiple drugs that you would have taken.
Thyroid disorder in itself alters menstrual bleeding pattern.
So the little flow compared to earlier is explained to a certain extent.
However, there is no reason for you to have excessively painful periods, except that stress and emotional upheavals do contribute to dysmenorrhoea ( painful periods ).
Vicodin is a painkiller, you would need antispasmodics - You could try taking Buscopan tablets.
However, with a history of malignancy, and altered menstrual pattern plus painful periods- you need to rule out other less common causes.
These range from ovarian cysts to some uterine diseases, endometriosis, adenomyosis, adrenal hormone dysfunction etc.
So you do need to visit your gynecologist for a thorough check up and treatment accordingly.
Take care and feel free to ask for further clarifications.
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