When to Talk to Your Doctor About Period Pain

Talking about your period is good for your health. Here are five ways to get started.

There are a lot of period pains that we know all too well. Menstrual cramps, body aches, fatigue, mood swings — they are all part of the menstruation machine. However, there’s one period pain that we don’t talk about often and it’s one that can be difficult for a lot of people: advocating for your menstrual health! 

Talking about your menstrual cycle might feel a little nerve-racking or uncomfortable, especially when it comes to advocating for yourself to a medication professional. But learning about how your body works, how to speak up about your cycle, and knowing that it’s okay to talk to a doctor doesn’t just help your menstrual health— it's beneficial for your overall physical and mental health, too.

Here are five ways to start the period convo going, and how to get the ball rolling when it comes to advocating for your health and wellness. 

Periods are normal, so is talking about it.

Talking about your period is super helpful in normalizing your experience. There’s nothing to hide here! If you’re feeling less than amazing, say it out loud. If you’re PMSing, tell your pals. If you need tips on pain relief or how to relieve menstrual discomfort, that’s what are besties for! Talking about your period and all that goes along with it, (painful cramps and other symptoms, menstrual bleeding, period products like reusable pads and period underwear, and even hormonal birth control) will get other people talking about their period experiences, too. You can learn so much from the people around you! For example, does caffeine help period cramps?

Find out! Read: does caffeine help period cramps?

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We suggest using names like “menstruation” or “period” when talking about your period. Try phasing out language and period euphemisms like Aunt Flo, riding the crimson wave, Shark Week etc. Euphemisms can make it feel like we have something to hide when talking about our periods, when in reality it's a completely normal bodily function. No hiding necessary.

The more we talk about our periods using its actual terminology, the more it helps to smash period stigma, and the more it helps us feel more powerful when it comes to our bodies. 

Painful periods and menstrual cramps: what's normal for your body?

Like snowflakes, no two periods are alike. Everyone has a different normal, so take some time to figure out what that means for you! Keep track of your period, when it starts, when it ends, how heavy your flow is, and how you feel emotionally and physically. What is normal period pain for you, and what is severe pain?

There are a ton of apps that can help you keep track of your period, like Clue and Flo.

Learning about your cycle gives you a better understanding of when something feels “off,” different, or irregular for you. The more you know about your body, the easier it is to speak to exactly what kind of care you might need. 

Find online resources and communities 

If you have questions about your menstrual health, chances are other people are asking the same questions, too. Kt’s blog The Rag has a bunch of period resources to get you rolling, so take a scroll to see if we’ve answered any of your questions already. To get started, you can click here for some info about PMS, and another about mental health on your period

The internet is an amazing first step and a great opportunity to ask questions anonymously if you’re still getting comfy with the topic. For example, how should period pain feel, or what are the best natural pain relievers for menstrual cramps?

Even social media apps like TikTok can be a great tool for accessing info from medical professionals like gynaecologist Dr. Staci. With deep dives on reproductive and sexual health, doctors like Dr. Staci pass the vibe check and the comments provide mini-communities that make you realize, I’m not the only one! 

Be honest and persistent

Armed with new language, info about your “normal,” and new resources online, talking about and advocating for your menstrual health should hopefully start to feel easier. Voice your needs, and  be persistent if you don’t feel emotionally or physically well during your period or any other puberty changes.

You have the right to speak to a medical professional about, (but certainly not limited to) concerns about menstrual pain, pain relief options and pain medication, birth control options, ovarian cysts, what is —and when to get— a pelvic exam, how to identify and treat endometriosis, irregular bleeding, and anything else pertaining to your health and wellbeing.

Advocating for yourself and your health is so important, but you may also find it helpful to have an ally to help you get care if you need it. 

Know it’s okay to see a doctor

Seeking medical help isn’t an option for some people. For others, it can be filled with feelings of stress and worry.

If you do have access to health care, know that talking to a doctor is completely okay and nothing to be embarrassed about. Having a period can be tough, and there is a lot to navigate. Doctors are there to support and help you, so remember you have every right to talk to them about your health. Do you have questions? Do you need some extra help when it comes to physical or mental symptoms of your cycle? They’ll be able to help you craft a wellness plan and look into your health further. 

It’s worth noting that there’s been menstruation stigma for a long time and the healthcare industry is not immune. Many doctors and nurses are great when it comes to listening to the needs and concerns of their patients. However, if you feel you are not being taken seriously, remember that you know your body best. You know when something isn’t right. And you deserve someone that listens to you!

There is a TON of great care out there from a ton of great practitioners, and it never hurts to get a second opinion if you need one. You got this!


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