We’ve spent the last four weeks talking about each of the menstrual cycle.
I hope it’s clearer to you now and you can use this information to get a better understanding of what’s going on for you during each phase.
Let’s move on to talking about period pain.
If you’ve been following my work for a while, you will have heard me say that period pain is common, but it’s not normal. I recently read an Instagram post that challenged this idea, saying that period pain is indeed normal and when we say it’s not normal, we diminish the pain that people experience due to chronic conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids and adenomyosis, as well as period pain caused by inflammation due to systemic stressors such as racial and sexual discrimination, healthcare and economic inequalities and more.
I’m interested to know your perceptive on this.
I’ll say right away that I don’t agree this perspective.
When we understand that we don’t have to live with terrible period pain, we stop normalising a sign from our body that something is wrong.
Even with conditions like fibroids, adenomyosis and endometriosis, when we understand that period pain is, although common, but not normal, it can empower us to take charge of our health outcomes.
Some might say that I’m advocating healthism. This places the problem of health and disease in the hands of the individual, rather than acknowledging there are also systemic and political issues – such as the lack of consistent and equitable access to health services, or lack of research into women’s health – that contribute to menstrual and hormone health issues.
Again I go back to knowledge.
Pain is a signal from the body that something’s amiss.
Our periods and menstrual cycles are our body’s fifth vital sign, a measure of how important parts of our health are functioning. Chronic menstrual pain tells us that an important part of our health needs attention.
This knowledge can help you find the support you need in order to change your health outcomes. This might simply start with a conversation with a friend or relative. It might be pushing your GP a little harder for a referral, diagnosis or a better explanation. It simply might give you comfort that you’re not alone and you don’t need to endure the pain you experience.
Let me know what you think.
This might be a new perspective for some of you. If you disagree, let me know – I want to hear your thoughts!
Le’Nise Brothers is a yoga teacher and registered nutritionist, mBANT, mCNHC, specialising in women’s health, hormones and the menstrual cycle. She is also the host of the Period Story Podcast, which aims to break taboos around menstrual health and hormones.
Le’Nise has helped hundreds of women improve their menstrual and hormone health through her private practice and group programmes, talks and workshops for the likes of Stylist, Channel 4, Boden, Ebay and TikTok and her Instagram page. Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.
Her first book You Can Have A Better Period will be released in March 2022.