That “time” of the month cannot be pleasant for any woman. For some of us, periods can turn out to be the worst nightmare. Taking a day off from work or school, lying down in bed, and easing the pain with a hot water bag is what most of us do when we are on our periods.
Period pain and PMS is normal; however, they are not made the same. Some women may have the worst experience during those days of the month while others may not find it that difficult to manage. Let’s examine some reasons why your period is worse than others.
1. You’re Not Following The Right Diet
Your diet can play a role in your menstrual cycle. Women who follow inappropriate weight loss programs may reach their weight loss goals; however, if you are not following the right diet, it may affect your periods and increase your discomfort during those days of the month.1
If you are having junk food a lot and experience horrible period pain, then it’s time you changed your diet. Stick to healthy foods like fruits and vegetables or nuts for snacks. Avoid fast food as much as possible and stick to homemade food.
2. You May Be Overweight
That comes to the next important reason that may be causing your painful periods. A healthy diet not only provides the right nutrients for your body but it also helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Studies report that overweight or obese women may be more prone to irregular menstrual cycles.2 So, maintaining your weight not only helps you to look good but may also help reduce your period cramps and other irregularities.
3. Your Exercise Routine Isn’t Right
Many studies have reported that exercise can improve your period symptoms. Exercises have been considered an effective treatment for various health conditions. However, if they are not done right, they can cause adverse effects to your body. Studies claim that women who exercise experience less pain than those women who don’t.3 This does not mean that you are required to exercise vigorously. In fact, excessive exercise may result in more pain during your periods. Moderate amounts of exercise like a walk in the park or a morning jog can help with your period pain.
4. Your Age May Be The Problem
Severe period pain is more common among young women. Studies have reported that the severity of period pain decreases with age, especially after the age of 40.4 However, this may not be true for all women.
As you age, you will observe that your periods will become more regular and less painful. If your periods run for more days than usual, you may not face that as you grow older. So, there isn’t much you can do about your age; if you start your periods early, you may have to wait a couple of years for it to be normal.
5. You Don’t Use Oral Contraceptives
Some women experience a relief from period cramps when they use oral contraceptives. Sometimes, oral contraceptive pills can also reduce the heavy flow during periods. Studies report that combined oral contraceptives have been effective in reducing period pain.5
However, this does not mean that you can pop a pill every time you go through your periods. Oral contraceptive pills should only be taken after consulting a health professional or a gynecologist.
6. You May Have A Serious Health Condition
If you’ve been following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and using oral contraceptives during your periods and your period pain has just not gone down, then you may want to get yourself checked thoroughly. This may be due to an underlying serious health condition.
Painful periods, also known as dysmenorrhea, can be categorized into two: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is caused by prostaglandins (hormone-like substances that are produced in the uterus that cause muscle contractions). Secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused due to the following health conditions:6
- Uterine fibroid
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Ovarian cysts
So, if you experience irregular periods, unbearable pain during your periods, or any other extreme difficulties during your periods, it is time to consult your doctor to know what is causing them and to treat them the right way.
|↑1||Rupa Vani, K., K. S. Veena, L. Subitha, V. R. Hemanth Kumar, and A. Bupathy. “Menstrual Abnormalities in School Going Girls–Are They Related to Dietary and Exercise Pattern?.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR 7, no. 11 (2013): 2537.|
|↑2||Wei, Shuying, Michael D. Schmidt, Terence Dwyer, Robert J. Norman, and Alison J. Venn. “Obesity and menstrual irregularity: associations with SHBG, testosterone, and insulin.” Obesity 17, no. 5 (2009): 1070-1076.|
|↑3||Hightower, Mindy. “Effects of exercise participation on menstrual pain and symptoms.” Women & health 26, no. 4 (1998): 15-27.|
|↑4||Juang, Chi-Mou, Ming-Shien Yen, Huann-Cheng Horng, Chih-Yao Cheng, Chiou-Chung Yuan, and Chia-Ming Chang. “Natural progression of menstrual pain in nulliparous women at reproductive age: an observational study.” Journal of the Chinese Medical Association 69, no. 10 (2006): 484-488.|
|↑5||Proctor, M. L., H. Roberts, and C. M. Farquhar. “Combined oral contraceptive pill (OCP) as treatment for primary dysmenorrhoea (Cochrane Review). Cochrane Library, Issue 4.” (2001).|
|↑6||Menstrual disorders. University of Maryland Medical Center|