Period Problems

Periods aren’t exactly the most fun time of the month for those who get them. Everyone’s period is different – super light, heavy af, 3 days, maybe 8. Pain is not uncommon, but extreme pain could reveal a condition. We approached some questions about debilitating periods, and what you can do to alleviate your misery.

What if my period is really, like unbearably painful or hella irregular?

Painful menstruation is also known as dysmenorrhoea. It can be characterized by painful symptoms, usually in the pelvis or lower abdomen area, and accompanied by back pain, diarrhea, or nausea.

If you are experiencing extreme, persistent pelvic pain, especially during your period, you might suffer from endometriosis.

Endometriosis

is a painful, chronic disorder that affects over 6 million women and girls in the U.S., and millions more worldwide. It occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside your uterus. This tissue breaks down and bleeds during your period, causing painful scar tissue. If you have signs or symptoms that may indicate endometriosis, see your doctor for treatment.

Symptoms may also include:

  • heavy bleeding during and between periods
  • pain during sex
  • infertility
  • painful urination/bowel movements during menstruation

[Mayo Clinic]

Uterine fibroids

are another condition associated with painful periods. Fibroids are noncancerous growths of muscle tissue of the uterus that range in number and size. As many as 70-80% of all women have fibroids by age 50.

In addition to cramping and pain during your period, symptoms for fibroids may also include: 

  • heavier bleeding, sometimes with blood clots
  • longer or more frequent menstruation
  • spotting between periods
  • pressure on the bladder or rectum
  • frequent urination
  • constipation and/or rectal pain
  • lower back and/or abdominal pain

[womenshealth.gov]

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

is a condition characterized by an imbalance of hormones, including androgens, insulin, and progesterone. It affects about 10 million women worldwide. It is a leading cause of female infertility. Contrary to what the name suggests, not all people with PCOS have cysts on their ovaries. Early diagnosis and treatment can help control symptoms and prevent long-term issues.

Symptoms include:

  • irregular/missed periods due to not ovulating
  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • unwanted hair growth (generally on the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen)
  • thinning hair on the scalp
  • infertility
  • acne and/or darkened patches of skin
  • mood changes
  • pelvic pain
  • headaches
  • poor sleep and/or insomnia

[PCOS Awareness Association]

For more information, check out our Pain & Dysfunction basic. If you are experiencing symptoms, please see your doctor to discuss treatment options.

tabú tip:

If you find that your period is debilitating and affecting your quality of life, be your own advocate, and see your doctor for treatment.