Is it normal to have painful periods? Absolutely not.
As women we grow up thinking it's normal for “our time of the month” to be painful, horrific and debilitating. But it shouldn’t, because that’s not normal.
Painful periods, also known as dysmenorrhea, are common and affect many menstruating women. However, while they are common, they are not necessarily normal. Menstrual pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other medical conditions.Endometriosis is a very common medical condition in women which causes painful periods.
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other organs in the pelvic region. This tissue can become irritated and inflamed, leading to pain during menstruation.
During a menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus (endometrium) thickens in preparation for a potential pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the endometrium is shed during menstruation. In endometriosis, the tissue that grows outside of the uterus also responds to hormonal changes and may thicken and shed along with the endometrium, leading to bleeding and inflammation in the surrounding tissues. The shedding of this tissue and the inflammation it causes can lead to pain during menstruation. The pain associated with endometriosis can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, fatigue, and bowel or bladder problems.
Endometriosis can affect fertility in a number of ways. Some people with endometriosis may experience no difficulties with fertility, while others may struggle to conceive. The severity of endometriosis does not necessarily correspond to the severity of fertility problems.
Endometriosis can affect fertility in the following ways:
- Fallopian tube damage: Endometriosis can cause scarring and adhesions in the pelvic region, which can result in blocked or damaged fallopian tubes. This can prevent the egg from reaching the uterus, or the sperm from reaching the egg.
- Inflammation and hormonal imbalances: Endometriosis can cause inflammation in the pelvis, which can disrupt the hormonal balance and interfere with ovulation and implantation of a fertilized egg.
- Changes in the structure of the uterus: Endometriosis can cause changes in the structure of the uterus, such as the development of uterine fibroids or adenomyosis, which can interfere with fertility.
- Reduced ovarian reserve: Endometriosis can result in reduced ovarian reserve, which is the number of eggs a person has in their ovaries.
It's important to note that not all people with endometriosis experience painful periods, and the severity of pain does not necessarily correspond to the severity of the condition. However, painful periods can be a common symptom of endometriosis and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment.
And so what’s the moral of the story? If you have painful periods, please make an appointment to see your OBGYN.