Why Does My Period Hurt?

by Briana Harry

An unfortunate truth regarding women’s periods is that the pain that can come with it is just a fact of life. So very early in our lives, we learn to just brace ourselves and deal with what comes. The dangerous thing about that is that we do it without questioning. We learn that everyone goes through it, so we’re a lot less likely to monitor if ours is a normal intensity or amount. We learn to not ask why it’s even happening. The why is important to know so that we are better able to determine what’s happening in our individual process and not just deal with it, like so many of us are told to. 

So, why does this happen? Why do we experience pain with our periods? The most common painful symptom associated with our periods is dysmenorrhea AKA menstrual cramps. During your menstrual period, your uterus contracts to help shed its lining. Hormone-like substances called prostaglandins involved in pain and inflammation trigger the uterine muscle contractions. Higher levels of prostaglandins are associated with more-severe menstrual cramps, which is why we all experience differing levels of pain and intensity. Other side effects can include diarrhea, nausea, and more.

For some women, the pain and discomfort is merely annoying, but for others, menstrual cramps can be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities. Conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids are leading causes in menstrual cramps being more severe.

These are just a couple examples, but there are so many other factors that can impact our pain including diet and stress levels. If you believe your pain is unusually severe, we encourage you to talk to your doctor. Also, never be afraid to do your own research or to connect with communities of people who share the same experiences. Your body always knows when something isn’t right, listen to it.