The experience of having periods differs from menstruator to menstruator. For many, the menstrual cycle typically starts between the ages of 11 and 14, with the average cycle being around 28 to 34 days. It can be light and painless for some while heavy and painful for others, but what might be completely normal for one might just be a cause of concern for the other. While some side effects during one’s period are considered usual, it is important to remember that one shouldn’t accept all pain during their menstrual cycle as normal and acceptable.
Dysmenorrhea or cramps are one of the most common side effects of menstruation. Cramps during periods are caused by an excess of a hormone-like compound called prostaglandins, which is released from the endometrium (uterine lining) as it prepares to be shed. It helps the uterus contract and relax so that the uterine lining can break down and flow out of one’s body. If the uterus contracts strongly, blood flow is reduced, and the supply of oxygen to the uterus muscle tissue decreases, causing one to have painful cramps. If a typical painkiller isn’t enough to ease the pain of your cramps, and if your cramps affect your ability to do everyday activities, it is best to seek out medical advice as soon as possible.
While many experience pain, normalisation of this pain during periods can lead to people going undiagnosed from conditions such as endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition where the womb’s inner lining develops outside the uterus. According to the Endometriosis Society of India, about 25 million Indian women suffer from endometriosis.
The Endometriosis Society of India states that endometriosis can cause heavy or scanty menstrual flow spotting before the periods and painful sex. Irregular bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation can also occur, and a person may also be subjected to pain during passing stool or urine. According to the Endometriosis Society of India, childlessness is associated with endometriosis in about 20- 40 percent of the cases. Endometriosis can be diagnosed by MRI, ultrasound, and transvaginal scans and treated medically or surgically.
It’s high time we start talking about periods and period pain more openly. This #MenstrualHygieneDay, #Infano along with #TheLogicalIndian, is addressing nuanced conversations on period centering on the well being of the menstruators as they power through every day.
The information provided in the article, while collated with utmost care and caution, does not amount to any medical diagnosis. The Logical Indian and Infano team urge people to reach out to their medical practitioner in case of any query that they may have.