Are your periods so horrible that you find yourself in so much pain & all you can do is curl up in bed with a hot water bottle? Do you also deal with additional uncomfortable symptoms like PMS, bloating, fatigue, nausea & hot flashes? Ugh! I know the feeling!
Are you wondering if your period experience is normal or if there’s anything natural you can do to fix it? You’ve definitely come to the right place!
It’s uncomfortable (to say the least) to have to go through the same gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing pain each & every month. The good news is that there is actually a way out! A natural way at that, which doesn’t require medication or surgery.
Too many women are under the impression that period pain is normal, a natural part of female physiology. However, this couldn’t be any farther from the truth. What if I told you that you DON’T actually have to bear through so much pain each & every month? What if I told you that you CAN overcome your period pain naturally? Let’s find out!
Is it normal to experience period pain?
Technically, no. Although period pain may be fairly common, it is definitely not normal. It is actually a sign of imbalance within the body. Depending upon the severity & cause of your menstrual pain, you can likely control it all on your own.
There are 2 main types of period pain, technically known as Dysmenorrhea. There’s Primary Dysmenorrhea and Secondary Dysmenorrhea.
Primary Dysmenorrhea is the most common form of menstrual pain. It usually occurs in girls & women during their prime reproductive years (from onset of menses - perimenopause). It occurs due to uncomfortable contractions of the uterus muscle - similar to birthing contractions (some women’s period pain may even be comparable!) - which help to shed the built-up blood of the uterine lining. Accompanying intense period cramps may also be heavy bleeding, the appearance of clots as well as digestive disturbances (i.e diarhhea, gas, nausea, bloating, etc.). Primary Dysmenorrhea can be triggered by various internal imbalances in the body, however, they are primarily brought on from increased levels of inflammation & prostaglandins (more on this below). Primary Dysmenorrhea is hereditary for some, but for many, it can be triggered by an accumulation of systemic imbalances. Thankfully, it is possible for this form of dysmenorrhea to be corrected by establishing balance back to the body through making simple dietary & lifestyle adjustments.
Secondary Dysmenorrhea is a form of extreme menstrual pain triggered by situations other than extraneous contractions of the womb. For example, in cases of pelvic infections, endometriosis, fibroids or cysts. In these situations, there may be an underlying infection or abnormal tissue growth occurring either inside or outside of the uterus (i.e on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, urethra, intestines, etc.). These cases are also quite common in women experiencing extreme menstrual pain, but they are usually incredibly painful to the point where the pain is debilitating and it is often accompanied by additional & differentiated symptoms (as indicated below in the ‘When you May Need to See a Doctor’ section)
Statics show that on average, around 80% of women experience period pain at some point within in their reproductive lifetime. Many women opt to take over-the-counter medications or hormonal birth control to manage their symptoms. Although effective, these forms of treatment are not correcting the underlying issues or imbalances at hand. They only suppress the causation of menstrual pain which may lead to further, more complicated issues into the future if not corrected.
Although menstruation is a normal, inevitable part of being female, period pain doesn’t have to be a part of the deal. There are many natural & effective ways to support menstrual & reproductive health without the use of medications or birth control. Please know that you have the right to be fully informed & to understand your options before deciding which type of management or treatment plan you want to use.
What should a normal period feel like?
A normal, healthy period should not be extremely painful. There may be minimal discomfort at most, but nothing too unbearable. If we were to rate the pain from 1-10, 10 being womb-stabbing, gut-wrenching pain, we would rate the normal level at about a 1 or 2. Uterine contractions are a healthy and vital part of menstruation. These contractions may induce slight discomfort, but it should never make you feel like you can’t function normally. In addition, healthy menstrual discomfort should not be accompanied with other bodily symptoms like extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, bloating, etc.
In the book ‘Her Blood is Gold’ by Lara Owen, she writes “Menstrual Pain has several functions; one of the most obvious is that it shifts our attention to our bodies. It deepens our experience of our bodies and awakens the ability to be aware of the different parts of the body and of bodily sensations. ….. Menstrual symptoms pull us back in touch with ourselves.”
I love her writing because she has a beautiful way of painting the pure magic & feminine aspects of menstruation. Periods are meant to be slightly uncomfortable because they are a reminder for us us slow down & tune in with ourselves. When we ignore what our body is needing in the moment, especially during menstruation, it can lead to our symptoms intensifying.
If you are experiencing extreme cramping, it’s very important that you figure out the root cause of your troubles. Listed below are 8 potential reasons (or triggers) why you experience horrible period pain. I encourage you to reflect upon the options and where you can adjust your lifestyle to best support your reproductive health. You may also consider finding a qualified health professional to help you overcome these areas of imbalance. If you’re interested in working with me as your reproductive health coach, guide & mentor, click here to learn more.
8 Potential Reasons Why You Have Horrible Periods:
What you can do to help support a healthy period:
Supplements you may consider:
When you may need to see a doctor:
Disclaimer: Please know that all information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or professional advice from your qualified health care professional.
Article sources available upon request
Ashe Milkovic, NTP is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Functional Hormone Specialist focusing in the field of women's reproductive health.