Many people with good intentions are spreading the myth that periods should never be painful. That is not totally accurate.
Regular periods can feel like nothing much at all or can be accompanied by minor pain. If you have a little pain around the time of your period but can take some over-the-counter medication or take a hot shower and it feels better, that is normal.
Healthy periods might be a little discomforting when your uterus is squishing out the blood. When the uterus contracts, it can cause some “cramps”.
Periods are not normal or healthy when the pain is greatly affecting your life.
If your period hurts so bad you can hardly stand up, you could have a more serious problem. If you have ever passed out from pain, you definitely have a serious problem (not everybody passes out from severe pain, but some do). If over-the counter medications do not help you, that may very well not be a healthy period.
Pelvic pain should not OWN you, and that is the difference between healthy discomfort and unhealthy pain.
There are many things that cause pelvic pain, so having bad pelvic pain does not mean that you “definitely have endometriosis”, but it means that you should relentlessly look for whatever is causing you grief. It may be endometriosis or it may be something else.
The important thing is that you fully understand how NOT normal severe pain is and that you know what is going on in your body. Do NOT let anyone convince you otherwise. If you are ever told that “it’s all in your head” or “you just don’t handle pain well”, run don’t walk. Find a healthcare provider who believes you and who wants to see your problems resolved as much as you want your problems resolved.
If your doctor cares about you and runs tests, beware of the attitude that can often accompany clear scans. Often, if a physician cannot see obvious issues on ultrasounds or other imaging, bloodwork, or exams, they can make the wrong assumption that you are fine and “not handling periods well”.
What they are doing in this case is they are going back to that terribly dangerous myth that all menstruators experience discomfort but that “you are not doing well with it”.
Once again, run don’t walk.
As wrong, gross, and unfair as it is, this is the world we live in. It needs to change, yes. But in the meantime, you need to get as prickly and unrelenting as you can. KNOW your pain. KNOW your worth. KNOW the things you learn and hold onto them tight, because it’s scary to feel that there are no answers and that no one believes you.
Regular periods are endurable like any other normal, healthy bodily function.
Periods that devastate and destroy are NOT normal and awful pain at any other point in the menstrual cycle is also NOT normal. Know it, soak it up, and set the world straight on the matter.
Have you ever been to a healthcare provider who didn’t take you seriously? Tell us about it in the comments.