Period pain: It’s a widely accepted part of being a woman. Each month as we menstruate, our bodies go through a variety of hormone changes that result in symptoms that the outside world generally categorizes into “pre-menstrual” and “menstrual” syndrome. Cramps, bloating, nausea, pain, cravings, and dizziness can all come along with our monthly visitor, and as women, we all struggle in some way to “just deal with it.”
Menstruation, cramps, and period pain are widely often considered the normal side effects of being woman and being able to bear children. The issue is big enough that the United Nations recently addressed the stigma and misinformation around menstruation with an infographic that shows just how many women around the world struggle with everything from access to sanitary options to general fears about periods. Non-profits like Period., started by two teenage girls in the U.S. and for-profit companies like the menstruation supply company Cora, have popped up to address the issues surrounding period stigma and help women all over the world gain access to better self-care for their time of the month.
Yet, despite these strides, in general, women are still conditioned to “just deal” with any pain or discomfort that comes along with their monthly visitor. After all, there are plenty of drugs marketed at women targeting everything from tender swollen breasts and bloating to stomach upset and cramps. But what if those over-the-counter solutions don’t work? When is it actually something you should ignore, and when should you seek out medical help? How should you talk about it?