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Why Do Periods Hurt?

And when to seek medical attention.


Dealing with my Period

When I was younger, my friends and I would often talk about the pain that comes with periods. The bloating, the cramps, and sometimes even nausea. It seemed like a normal part of being a woman, something you were expected to endure, go to school or work, and just deal with. If it became too much, the solution was often to get on birth control.

Back then, this was the extent of my knowledge on the topic, and no one thought to educate me further. So, I continued to experience period pain and eventually opted for birth control.

But I've always wondered, what if I had learned more about my menstrual cycle and how to care for my body during my periods? Could I have found a way to have a healthy period without pain?

Is period pain normal?

Unless there's an underlying medical condition, period pain should be mild and not disrupt your daily life.

The perception that painful periods are normal can be influenced by various factors, including cultural, social, and educational influences.

Many portrayals in media show women experiencing excruciating pain during their periods, often unable to get out of bed or even vomiting.

However, this is NOT normal, despite what these portrayals may suggest. This portrayal can lead to people dismissing period pain when seeking help or support.

What causes period pain?

Typically, it's the contraction of the uterine muscles. During your menstrual cycle, your uterus contracts to shed its lining, which is necessary for menstruation. Some

bleeding on the floor

times, these contractions can be intense, resulting in pain.

These contractions are triggered by chemicals called prostaglandins. They help the uterine muscles contract for the lining to shed.

However, in some cases, the body can produce an excessive amount of prostaglandins, leading to pain and inflammation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce the effects of prostaglandins and are often recommended for those with painful periods.

In addition to prostaglandins, other factors can contribute to period pain:

  • Endometriosis: This condition involves tissue similar to the uterine lining growing outside the uterus. It can become irritated and painful during menstruation, leading to additional symptoms like pain during intercourse, bowel movements, and fertility issues.

  • Uterine Fibroids: Noncancerous growths in the uterus can cause increased menstrual pain, especially if they press on other organs or the uterine wall.

  • Adenomyosis: This condition occurs when uterine lining tissue grows into the muscular wall of the uterus, resulting in more intense cramps.

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Infections like PID can lead to inflammation and scarring of the reproductive organs, causing painful periods.

  • Cervical Stenosis: Some individuals have a narrow cervix, which can obstruct the flow of menstrual blood, leading to increased pressure and pain.

What's more, stress and anxiety can exacerbate physical symptoms of menstrual pain. These emotional factors can cause muscle tension, hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and digestive issues, making period pain feel even worse.

birth control products

With all the education I now have about my body and menstrual cycles, I still find it challenging to establish a harmonious balance within myself.

And you know what? That's perfectly fine.

I've spent more than half of my life on birth control, so the journey to restoring normalcy to my system won't occur overnight. However, with the guidance of medical professionals, the right nutrition, and ongoing education, I'm confident that I can cultivate a life in which my period is a welcomed and manageable part of my overall well-being.


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