What’s the word Gutted fam?!...............
Time for a girl chat! In honor of #EndoMarch2020, #WomensHistoryMonth, and #InternationalWomensDay I thought it best to jump off March’s blog with a quick conversation about menstrual health and endometriosis. I’ve had my own love-hate, but mostly hate, relationship with my period since I started mine many years ago.
When I got my first period, I immediately thought this was very ghetto, wouldn’t recommend at all chile! It’s the most dreaded time of the month—period (pun intended). But as I got older, I realized how AMAZING
women’s bodies are and that we should embrace every part of them.
Let’s get into some information about menstrual cycles that I found interesting and then we’ll talk about the elephant in the room—endometriosis.
Typical menstrual cycles are 28 days long but should usually occur anywhere from 24 to 38 days, with periods lasting 4-8 days.
About 90% of people who menstruate say they experience various symptoms.
Approximately 32% to 40% of people who have period pain report that the pain they experience is so severe they must miss work or school (ME!).
Painful, irregular, or heavy periods affect approximately 14% of people during their childbearing years.
I always assumed that excruciating period pain was just a part of the journey through womanhood. I was very uncomfortable discussing “the time of the month” like it was some secret that I bled from my body every month. In addition to feeling like I needed to be hospitalized, I couldn’t complain, because after all, we do this every month. When I started having in-depth conversations with my gynecologist, and my friends, who were also experiencing the same thing, I felt seen and realized that I wasn’t alone in trying to find an answer to this period pain predicament.
Speaking from my own experiences, there’s things I did to alleviate my own menstrual discomfort. I found that my current lifestyle, my DIET and PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, is a major determining factor in my period symptoms. When I’m eating a healthy diet with minimal amounts of sugar, I have no cramps, fatigue or bloating. Adversely, if I’m not taking care of my body and eating more recklessly, my period symptoms have me at home ready to fight somebody.
I said all of this to say, taking better care of yourself can be done independent of taking birth control pills or other medications that will either cost you a doctor’s visit or trip to Walgreen's. Let’s take care of our bodies so they can take care of us in our time of need. Stop eating reckless and take a walk GIRLLLL! For good measure, refer to the previous blog post, here, on remedies for cramps so you can avoid the tantrums and potential jail time from unresolved period pain.
While I have not struggled with endometriosis, I know women who have and how stressful it is to handle. The most crucial step we need take is getting more comfortable with discussing menstruation. There shouldn’t be a stigma around women’s bodies to the extent that we don’t feel comfortable talking about our struggles. The amount of insight I have gained about myself from simply TALKING is invaluable. Don’t stay silent! Now, some quick facts about endometriosis….
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the lining of the uterus, also called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterine cavity.
Pain comes from the inflammation as a result of hormonal changes during your cycle that affect the misplaced lining.
The misplaced lining can cause irritation, scar formation, adhesions, severe period pain, and fertility problems.
Symptoms include painful periods, pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation, cramps, heavy bleeding and bleeding between periods, pain following sex, infertility, discomfort with bowel movements, lower back pain, or no symptoms at all.
The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown. Although there are theories, they have yet to be scientifically proven.
At one point, while going on a deep dive search through WebMD, I thought endometriosis was the source of my period pain because of how severe it was. But I went to my gynecologist and got an exam and found that was not the case. All those unnecessary theatrics I put myself through were due to my own fears of the worst possible scenario. So, I tell you from experience, the best thing you can do is consult the experts and resources around you. You’ll save yourself time and stress.
My last meaningful words are like I said earlier; talk to your friends, family, medical professionals about your body. We all have more in common than we realize, and once we all dialogue it’s amazing what we can accomplish. So, hop in the group chat and start a conversation about those period woes…. we are stronger together.
*I am not a medical professional. I advise you to get regular gynecological exams by a medical health professional to discuss any issues, pain, or discomfort you have.*
Endometriosis: Causes, Complications, and Treatment.
Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle