#BadPeriods? Just #PainfulPeriods? Or #Endometriosis? Accounting for the reasons of painful periods

Young African Woman Lying On Sofa in Pain

Campaigns have been running in the month of March, creating awareness about Endometriosis. The question that has lingered in the hearts and minds of most young women is probably whether Endometriosis can be equated to bad or painful periods. You see for a long time this whole question has been misunderstood. It is probable that your red tide may wipe out. Instead of waiting until then, you could read this now…

Caution: Do not ignore!!!

Unfortunately, for all women, some period problems are par for the course. Normal they are for a lifetime, or at least post menopause. Vaginal cramps, feelings of irritability and sometimes undercarriage bleeding more than you would want to or expect. Other problems definitely need the opinion of a doctor because they are unexpected during the normal 28 day cycle. These, need to be kept at bay, keep watch of them. DO NOT ignore them or write them off as just bad PMS.

Not everything is endometriosis…

As we saw earlier, endometriosis is a specific gynecological condition where tissue that look like the endometrial lining are found outside the uterus. These tissues may spread on other structures throughout the pelvis including the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, bladder, pelvic floor, and in more severe cases the diaphragm, the bowel, liver, lungs and sometimes the brain. Thus Endometriosis causes pain where it is located and how it presents. Endometriosis can therefore not be equated to period pain. Rather it is one of the causes of period pain. It causes menstrual pain when it is located right outside the uterus.

How does this happen?

If left untreated, endometriosis often results to adhesions, blood-filled chocolate cysts and internal bleeding. All these are perfect candidates for causing excessive pelvic pain. Unfortunately, this pain is not just limited to the period pain that goes on until the end of menstrual period, many women experience more pain including backache and other bowel symptoms.

Are there other reasons for painful periods apart from endometriosis?

Oh Yes! Many!

Let us be at par first. Menstruation is the process that occurs monthly (28 to 35 days) in cycles. During one cycle, the uterus sheds its lining which then passes through  a small opening in the cervix and out through the vaginal opening. This process is not devoid of pain from cramping and general discomfiture. However, excessive pain that grounds you is not normal and needs to be checked by a medical practitioner. Painful menstruation is called dysmenorrhea.

Dysmenorrhea

Two types exists. Primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is the pain that occurs in some women before or during menstruation. Secondary dysmenorrhea occurs in women who have had normal periods but later develop period pains later. Secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by endometriosis or uterine fibroids.

Medical conditions that cause painful periods?

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – Hormonal changes associated with the normal cycle may cause a range of symptoms in the body. These may begin 7 to 14 days before menstruation and disappear after a woman begins to bleed.
  • Uterine Fibroids – These non-cancerous tumors often exert pressure on the uterus causing excessive pain during menstruation.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – An inflammation of the reproductive organs (uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries) caused by a bacterial infection that is transmitted sexually. Causes a lot of pain
  • Adenomyosis – a rare condition where the lining of the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus causing inflammation and pressure.
  • Cervical stenosis – a condition where the cervix is small and therefore slows the menstrual flow, causing an increase of pressure inside the uterus that causes pain.

Seek medical help.

If you’re having period problems, see your doctor for help.

Join the Movement!

Share your story or that of a loved one and how you were affected by Endometriosis

Join the campaign and create awareness #MarchIsEndometriosisAwarenessMonth

Support and make donations to a cause that is involved in Endometriosis research

Volunteer to help a family and/or patients affected

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2 Comments

  1. Good to know. Glad last month raised the awareness on this. I have many friends who struggle with this. It is good you encourage visiting a.medical professional. Thanks for writing.

    • The society today does not talk about this often. Majorly because of ignorance. Keep on making people around us aware. Thank you

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