The dominant understanding of period pain is that it is a condition of the body. While accurate, this perception fails to address the very real and extensive mental, emotional, and physical implications that come with chronic pain.
Research has shown that individuals who have been diagnosed with various menstrual related chronic pain conditions such as endometriosis have higher levels of depression and anxiety. The reports also show that they experience feelings of disconnection and alienation from their friends and family because they are unable to alleviate their pain and so are overcome by their symptoms.
It is integral that people with period pain are able to access the support that they need so they are not destined to a reality of suffering.
If you are someone who struggles with chronic pelvic or period pain you are probably familiar with feeling alone and feeling afraid because of this reality. High quality support for people with chronic period pain is not always easily accessible and so many people end up lacking access to the support that they need and also deserve.
At somedays, we are striving to create a community of individuals and information in order to help people who have menstrual pain achieve a more pain free life.
How To Better Access The Support You Need To Improve Your Pain
1. Improve Your Health Literacy
It's difficult to know how and what kind of support you need if you don’t understand what exactly is happening to you when you are having menstrual pain symptoms. Menstrual pain manifests in different ways and can be a result of a variety of different conditions such as endometriosis, primary dysmenorrhea, or adenomyosis.
Knowing as much as you can about your own symptoms and about various menstrual pain conditions is crucial in helping you access the support you need because you can better advocate for yourself within the medical system.
I know what you might be thinking - shouldn’t my doctor be able to diagnose me and help me understand all of this? While this should be true in theory, unfortunately our society has a bad habit of devaluing period pain as being real and being worthy of attention, care or research.
And so, it’s important that people who menstruate build their personal overall health literacy so they can better understand and support themselves.
Accumulating knowledge and building your health literacy through various online resources could also help you develop your own personalized techniques to help you manage your pain, instances when the medical system fails you or if you are looking to take a more holistic and integrative approach to your healing.
Moral of the story? The more you know, the better equipped you are at caring for yourself.
2. Communicate With Your Family and Friends
Learning to and being open to talking about your menstrual pain with the people in your life will allow you to develop a necessary and strong support system so you can better manage your pain.
Often family and friends report feeling “helpless” and “lost” when it comes to supporting individuals in their lives who are struggling with menstrual pain.
They may want to help in any way that they can but struggle to relate to and understand what individuals with pain are truly going through. In some cases, family and friends may think they are helping and being supportive but might actually be making the pain worse.
Through thorough communication people with menstrual pain can develop effective support strategies with the people in their life that can make a big difference in them decreasing their pain.
Support strategies will look different for everyone and have to be created and developed at the individual level. Some examples of how people with menstrual pain have seen success with feeling supported by their friends and family is when they are helped with being reminded about their treatment plan, supported with physical tasks, and through developing less pain focused modes of communications.
3. Join A Support Group
There are various and diverse types of groups and clubs that are specifically designed to connect people who struggle with menstrual pain with one another all around the world.
The shared experience of people with menstrual pain is unique in and of itself and having people to connect with without having to explain or defend your pain is incredibly beneficial to individual healing.
Support groups also act as a great way to learn new treatments, methods, and techniques to better help you manage your own pain and get connected with the centres and doctors in your area that are good options for treating your menstrual pain.
The ultimate benefit of support groups is that it reminds you and shows you that you are not and have never been, alone. There is hope and there is help for an easier life with less pain.
4. Be Curious
There is a very wide array of treatment options, paths, and plans when it comes to menstrual pain. What may work well for one might not work for another and it is dependent on a variety of different factors such as age, condition, severity or type of symptoms etc.
There are so many options for decreasing pain especially when taking a holistic and integrative approach to healing. The goal is to find something that works for you.
The best way to learn how to better manage your menstrual pain is to commit to yourself and try different things to decrease your symptoms. This can span everything from changing your diet, to taking different medications, trying different exercises and new natural products.
Taking space and time to learn how to listen to your body may be difficult at first but is so important to achieving a more pain free life. Your body will guide you. It will tell you what you need and what you don’t as long as you are able to listen.