How much period pain is too much?
Women are used to living with the pain and discomfort that comes with their periods. We expect cramping, bloating, fatigue, and maybe even nausea and an upset stomach. We all have our list of PMS symptoms that we anticipate for a few days each month, and we are relieved when they pass and we can feel like ourselves again.
However, for some women, the pain that comes with their period is severe. For these women with severe periods, typical daily activities such as going to school or work are unbearable, and they are forced to stay home. Many women with severely painful menstruation are unaware that their period is abnormal and that their pain can be due to a medical condition – not that they are just unlucky.
If your period pain is severe… you may have:
If you have endometriosis, tissue that would normally grow inside your uterus has grown on the outside instead. This means that when you have your period, the tissue cannot exit your body the same way as tissue inside the uterus would, which causes pain and inflammation. Severe endometriosis can be painful regardless of whether you are on your period. Additionally, endometriosis can affect a woman’s fertility. Fortunately, there are medical and surgical treatments available for women who are diagnosed with endometriosis.
Fibroids that occur in a woman’s uterus are non-cancerous growths. Women may have uterine fibroids but be unaware of it if they do not exhibit symptoms. For those who do have symptoms, they may have pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding and issues with urination. Uterine fibroids are quite common, but if you are among those with painful, unpleasant symptoms, we recommend reaching out to your PGOMG provider to discuss your treatment options.
Do you have an IUD? An IUD is a form of birth control that is inserted and removed by your provider; it prevents pregnancy but does not protect against STDs. There are two types of IUDs – copper and hormonal. For those who have a copper IUD, they may experience heavier, more painful periods in the first few months after the IUD is initially inserted. It’s important that you discuss any pain or changes in how you feel with your provider if you’ve recently had an IUD inserted, or if you’ve had an IUD for a long period of time and are just experiencing painful symptoms now.
PGOMG offers women the hormonal version of the IUD, called the Mirena IUD.
Remember, there are treatment options available. There may not be a cure for every condition that causes painful periods, but there are medications, lifestyle changes, and even surgical options that can help control or limit symptoms.