Are You Making a Big Mistake?
Most of us make a big mistake right off the bat when we go to address our severe period pain. And this mistake actually blocks our ability to get true relief from terrible period symptoms.
But first… have you seen the memes about menstruation and cramps? They are good for a laugh, but I have a problem with them. These memes promote the false idea that period symptoms including debilitating nausea, extreme moodiness and paralyzing pain are normal.
It’s actually not your fault if you agree. Trusted doctors and the medical system also promote the idea that a painful menstrual cycle is acceptable. Have you had to miss work and schedule your life around your period because of terrible cramps? It’s smart to go to your doctor to get checked out. However, most women who are in your shoes are dismissed in some way. Doctors often offer the pill or pain meds as a solution and encourage you to manage your symptoms rather than seek complete relief.
In this way, women are led to believe that painful periods are a normal part of being a woman. This is simply not true. So if you are motivated to get lasting pain relief, this article is for you.
Back to the Big Mistake
So the big mistake that most women make when they address their period pain is just that: they treat the period pain and not the underlying cause. The thing is, period pain is always a symptom of something else. And if you want to get relief you first need to diagnose the cause otherwise you’ll be spinning your wheels. In this article, I’m going to help you get clear on the cause of your period pain.
To do this exercise properly, take a moment to think honestly about your recent periods and what you experience.
Question Set #1
-Is the cramping in your lower back or pelvic region?
-Are you in pain right before and during your period, and not at any other time of the month?
-Does the pain go down when you take ibuprofen or other pain meds?
-Have you done a pelvic ultrasound in the past 3 months and it came back as normal?
If this sounds like you, your period pain is most likely caused by an excess of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are a natural part of your menstruation. They contract the uterine muscles to release the endometrium lining. However when there is more inflammation present in the body it can overproduce prostaglandins which causes undue pain and nausea.
Question Set #2
-Do you experience pain when you’re in sex positions like doggy style or reverse cowgirl?
-Do you have leaks when using tampons or a menstrual cup?
-Do you have to go to the bathroom often?
-Are you prone to urinary tract infections?
If this sounds like you, you may have a retroverted, tipped or displaced uterus. This means that the uterus is not sitting over top of the bladder like it should be and is displaced in the pelvic bowl. This causes pressure and tension, which leads to the pain.
You can confirm this diagnosis with a pelvic ultrasound.
Question Set #3
-Are you over 35?
-Do you feel pain or pressure in your abdomen throughout your entire cycle?
-Do you feel bloated or a tightness in your abdomen?
-Are you uncomfortable wearing fitted pants?
-Do you have to go to the bathroom often?
-Has your period become heavier?
If this sounds like you, your period pain could be caused by one of two things. Read on to see how you can further diagnose.
Uterine Fibroids or Polyps
These are benign growths on or in the uterine muscle caused by an estrogen-dominant environment. You can confirm their presence through a pelvic ultrasound.
This condition is where the uterine lining has grown into the uterine muscles. Adenomyosis is often misdiagnosed as fibroids because your uterus may seem ‘bulky’ when ultrasound results are reviewed. You may need to go for an MRI to confirm.
Question Set #4
-Do you have throbbing, burning, searing or stabbing pain?
-Does the pain occur randomly, or at any time?
-Have you tried to relieve your pain with ibuprofen and it never works?
-Do you get nauseous and vomit?
-Does the pain bring on headaches?
-Does the pain bring on a low-grade fever?
-Do you sometimes bleed between periods?
If this sounds like you, you may have endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue grows in areas of the body outside of the uterus (around the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and/or bladder). The pain is caused when the immune system produces inflammatory cytokines and antibodies that inflame the endometrium and promote growth.
In fact, 1 in 10 women has endometriosis but it often seems less because it often goes undiagnosed. This is because the only way to confirm the presence of endometriosis is laparoscopic surgery. If you think you have endometriosis, request to see a gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis and learn more.
You can see how your symptoms can point you to the underlying cause of your painful period. Once you have a good idea, you can advocate for yourself and get the testing you need to confirm your personal diagnosis. This is invaluable information on your journey to a pain-free period.
Once you discover the underlying cause, you can move forward to the next step: treatment and healing. If you are interested in learning about holistic treatments, please don’t make the ‘second big mistake’ and go it alone into the depths of the internet! This leads to frustration and unnecessarily lengthens the time it takes to feel relief from period pain. Instead, reach out to a local practitioner or contact us for for more information on how we can help.
Looking for a community of like-minded women who are on the journey to pain-free periods? Check out The Pain-Free Periods and Hormone Balance Sisterhood on Facebook.