By Monique Goss, osteopath.
Yep, you read that right. Period pain, although VERY common, is NOT normal.
Typically pain is a sign of inflammation in the pelvis which becomes apparent as the uterine lining starts to shed during bleeding. When this occurs we experience dysmenorrhoea, period pain.
So what actually causes the pain?
Usually, in people that experience period pain, there is an excess level of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like compounds that play an important role in inflammation, blood flow and healing in our body. Prostaglandin helps contract and relax our uterus to allow the lining of the uterus to release during menstruation. When amounts are in excess this can cause strong contractions in the uterus, hence, strong period pain.
There can be many reasons why this inflammation is occurring and that's why a good case history and examination of the body during your osteopathic consultation is key to addressing your pain. Conditions such as fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and adenomyosis can all impact levels of period pain experienced.
So a thorough diagnosis is important but understanding how we can allow the uterus to contract more efficiently, drain with more ease and avoid external inflammatory responses is so important during your osteopathic consultation. Your osteopath can then address these areas throughout treatment.
It’s important to note that these things are not necessarily a quick fix. Organs and the body can take time to shift and heal. So patient education, pain management strategies and gentleness in your journey are all important to help target period pain. Finding the right practitioners who will support you on your journey can be game changing but the number one advocate for your health needs to be YOU. And if you’re told your period pain is normal and can be fixed with the Pill or other contraceptives, remember, this is only hiding your symptoms and not addressing the cause of the inflammation.
You have the capacity to heal if you only give yourself the chance to explore it.