What if I told you that the majority of women do NOT need to put up with painful periods? If I told you that pain during menstruation was not only abnormal, but treatable would you believe me? In truth I suppose you would want to, but some rational (read “programmed by mostly older male doctors”) part of you would say that having a period without pain is just not possible. Well, I know from personal experience that it is, and I am a “show me the money” kind of girl, so let me tell you my story.
My Period Past
I got my period at 11 years old, back in a time when nobody got their period that early. There were no sanity product disposal units in primary schools then and nobody carried a purse in which to conceal things at that age. We didn’t take giant backpacks to school either, nor did we have lockers in which to stash supplies. I remember having to pretend to forget violin practice at lunchtime so I could go home and change my sanitary pad. That was a big deal for someone like me who NEVER forgot stuff like that.
Not only was this whole experience humiliating, it was painful. I began experiencing painful menstrual cramps almost from the very beginning. My mom basically told me it was supposed to be painful, but when I was pretty non-functional two days of the month, she finally took me to the family doctor. He told me to take an over the counter pain medication which essentially did nothing.
After suffering for a few more years, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went back to the doctor and insisted on something. This time he prescribed me a prescription strength anti-inflammatory. It helped some but I still had two difficult days a month.
The Magic Pill?
When I reached university, a friend told me that birth control pills would solve all my problems. I went to the clinic on campus and basically pretended to be inquiring about it for, well, its intended purpose even though that had nothing to do with why I was asking for it. It was like magic. The pain was gone and I could function. And function I did, for 20 years on the pill.
Think about it. Twenty years of pouring synthetic hormones into my body just so I could function like a normal person every day. Why did no one tell me there was an alternative? Well, I think if they had I wouldn’t have believed them, but now I know from personal experience that there is.
When I was in my forties my family doctor (thankfully a different one than the one I had as a teenager) suggested that I should get off the birth control pills for health reasons. I reluctantly agreed fearing that I would have to deal with the pain again. She just sort of shrugged and suggested it was the lesser of the two evils, so I went off the pill and waited for the nastiness to return. For a few years it was manageable, but when I hit perimenopause all bets were off. The pain returned with a vengeance. The only consolation was my periods were less frequent.
Free The Tissues!
Then I took a series of courses on a treatment technique called visceral manipulation.This treatment is aimed at freeing the connective tissue that surrounds all of the organs and keeps them in place. Our organs are meant to slide and glide on each other as we move, but in a lot of cases they are stuck together. This can cause problems with how organs function and can also produce pain.
When we take these courses, we practice on each other so I received a lot of treatment over the course of four days. Amazingly my menstrual pain immediately disappeared (ironically I had my painful period days during the course) and never returned. The ultimate irony of course is that I only discovered this when my menstruating days were numbered so I didn’t reap the benefits for long. Perhaps the universe taught me this lesson not for myself but to share it with others.
How can this be? How is it that there is a gentle non-invasive hands-on treatment that can help with menstrual pain and no one knows about it? Even I, a singularly dedicated holistic hands-on practitioner, didn’t realize it was possible.
Programmed to Plough Through
First of all, I believe the reason people don’t go looking for answers is that we are told by countless medical professionals, colleagues, friends, and family members that menstruation is supposed to be painful. We are programmed to just put up with it, suck it up, and plough through because that’s just your lot in life as a person with a uterus.
I am here to tell you that it is absolutely not necessary in most cases. For the average person, as long as your organs are sliding and gliding properly on one another when you move you should not have menstrual pain. When I took the visceral manipulation course on the pelvis, I discovered that my uterus was quite stuck to the organs around it. On a previous course where we looked at organs higher up in the abdomen, I was also stuck everywhere so you would think I might have seen that one coming, but I’m not always very smart when it comes to my own body.
The Hows and Whys
This begs the question of how our organs get stuck in the first place. There are many reasons why this might happen. If you have had any sort of abdominal or pelvic surgery (e.g. removal of the appendix, removal of the gall bladder, a C-section) then you will definitely have some restrictions. Sexual abuse and assault also lead to adhesions in the pelvis. Falls, which are very common in this skating rink we call Ottawa in the winter, cause things to stick together as well.
The thing with having your organs stuck together is you generally don’t know that they are. You may have symptoms such as painful menstruation, constipation, or abdominal bloating after eating, but no one would ever relate that to your organs being stuck together. That is, unless you know that they are supposed to glide on one another. Once you understand that, it seems obvious that adhesions could cause such issues.
Although my personal adventure in the land of painful menstruation is over, there are way too many people still suffering with this. Don’t put up with it. In most cases, you don’t have to. Come in and let me see if I can help you.