It is so common to hear that period pain is normal. Although it is very common, it is not normal.
Many women suffer from moderate to severe period pain, the kind of pain that you have to use pain killers for, that might make you throw up, that is so debilitating that you cannot do anything for a few days every time you get your period. You go to the doctor and they tell you it is normal, take some painkillers and that’s all, or they put you on the Pill. While you will tell people you suffer from this kind of pain without mentioning it is period pain, they will tell you that kind of pain is not normal, yet when we are talking about period pain, suddenly it is normal.
Let’s talk about what is normal and healthy so we can understand what is not.
A healthy period lasts 3-7 days. Yes, there is such a thing as too light or too heavy when we are talking about periods. Average bleeding is supposed to be between 35ml to 80ml and most of the bleeding is supposed to happen in the first 2-3 days of the period. Usually, we feel some pain in the first day or two of our period and then it goes away and we want to see that our period starts and ends with no spotting at the beginning or the end. If your period is heavier than that, you might want to check what is happening in your body as well check your iron levels. Although our bodies are different and we all have a different size uterus, there are still some things we would be able to call “normal”.
When we are talking about bleeding, we are talking about a process in which there is some sort of inflammation and damage to tissue. When we are thinking of ovulation, there is some degree of inflammation as the follicles grow a lot and there is damage to the tissue as the egg bursts out and also when our lining sheds there is some kind of inflammation there, but that is natural and normal.
For inflammation to happen, our body produces lipids called Prostaglandin. During menstruation, prostaglandin triggers the muscles to contract and expel the endometrium lining and studies show that women who experience moderate to severe period pain have 4 times more prostaglandins.
Pain can also be related to other conditions such as endometriosis. Sadly in our day, it takes 12 years to get a proper diagnosis for Endometriosis for different reasons and it is mainly due to the doctor not paying enough attention to complaints and many times will just brush women off by prescribing hormonal birth control that won’t treat the problem, but will rather just put a bandaid over it in the best-case scenario.
Things you can change that are helpful:
- Check your diet. For many women, cutting dairy helped a lot. The commercial diary is full of growth hormones, antibiotics, proteins that we cause inflammation in our body and they are grain-fed, sometimes also with GMO that contain pesticides, and all of this causes inflammation in our body. If you can source dairy that is grass-fed and not treated with all these nasties, organic would be better otherwise try to avoid it for two or three months and check how that affects your body.
- Meat as per dairy. They are fed with GMOs and are given growth hormones. If you can source food that you KNOW what they ate, that would be good.
- Avoid sugar and processed food and cook more at home.
- Avoid Xenoestrogens – in a nutshell, I will write more about this topic, our environment, household and body products, kitchen containers and more contain chemicals we call Xenoestrogens. These mimic estrogen in our body and leave us with high estrogen levels which is not healthy for us and cause inflammatory reactions with several other conditions.
- Switch to eco menstrual products. Tampons and pads are associated with dioxin, bleach and other chemicals which are called endocrine disruptors.
- Acupuncture has great results in reducing period pains and inflammation.
There is no reason for us to feel pain and we deserve so much better than that.