If you suffer from recurring menstrual pain that keeps you from dealing with everyday life in the usual way, you should seek healthcare. This is how it’s done, step by step!
Step 1: Self-help
Before you schedule a healthcare visit, it’s a good thing if you have tried methods where you can ease your discomfort yourself. We have several tips that you can try!
Write down what painrelief methods you have used, and how much they helped. If you later seek healthcare, you will be asked about this.
Step 2: Contact healthcare
If your issues are not eased by over-the-counter painkillers or other painrelief methods, you should contact healthcare. Don’t wait too long. Besides the pain making life difficult and complicated, the issues can be a sign that something is not quite right.
What healthcare receptions are there and what do I do?
- Healthcare centre: Regardless whether your issues are physical or if your pain is more psychological in nature, you can contact a healthcare centre. Depending on where you live, they can be called vårdcentral, hälsocentral or husläkarmottagning. You can find your nearest care reception through 1177 Vårdguiden. You can also, around the clock, dial 1177 and ask a nurse your questions.
- Midwife reception or gyneacologist reception: You can also contact a midewife reception or gyneacologist reception directly. You can call directly to the reception or contact it online. You can read about what applies to booking an appointment on the reception’s webpage. Depending on where you live, the time you have to wait for an appointment varies from a few days up to several months.
- Youth reception: If you are between 13-23, you can turn to a youth reception. Check what age limits apply where you live. They often have special drop-in times, but you can call them and make an appointment as well.
At some hospitals, they have endometriosis centres or endometriosis teams. They are experts in the illness called endometriosis and you can be referred there by your healthcare centre. That means that they contact the endometriosis centre / team and ask them to see you. You can go there even if there is no clinic where you live.
Step 3: Prepare yourself!
Before your appointment, it is a good idea to write down a list of questions that you want to ask. It helps you remember and can make you feel more relaxed.
Know all about your issues - knowledge is power!
It’s easier to get the right healthcare if you know a lot about your menstruation and issues. A menstrual diary or menstrual tracking app (for example Clue) on your phone are great tools that you can bring to your appointment as well. It is easier for the healthcare staff to understand you and your issues if you can show them your mapping, either printed out on paper or on your phone.
Prepare yourself for intimate questions
Something that can be good to prepare yourself for is that some private, intimate questions will be asked. The questions may be about sex or details about your hygiene products, they may also be about discharge or other such questions. The questions are asked to help define the issue so that you will get the right kind of healthcare.
There are HBTQ-certified receptions. That means that the reception guarantees that staff will address you well regardless of your gender identity or sexuality.
Make an appointment with a friend who can accompany you
You can bring a friend or relative for support, it is you who decides what you want. It may feel comforting to know that that person is around, whether you prefer that the person waits outside or if you want him or her to stay by you the entire time.
You have the right to an interpreter!
If you do not speak the language, you have the right to an interpreter during your healtcare visit. At Sweden’s youth receptions, you can get an interpreter who is especially trained in talking about issues concerning gender and sexuality.
Step 4 - The appointment
When it is time for your appointment and you arrive at the care reception, you register at the reception, where you also pay fees if necessary. After that, you take a seat in a waiting room where you will be fetched to go to the examination room by healthcare staff.
If you are going to do a gyneacological exam, you can read more about what happens here. You don’t have to have a gyneacological exam if you do not want to.
Remember, you always decide over your own body and have the right to stop the examination at any time if you are not comfortable.