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Painful Periods and Your Pelvic Floor

Is your period debilitating? Have you ever thought…

  • My cramps are unbearable, but no one can explain to me why or help me fix it.

  • I experience constipation throughout my cycle and medicine only relieves the pain temporarily.

  • I bloat during every period and sometimes more frequently, but I can’t figure out what’s causing it.

Unfortunately, our society has normalized and accepted some extremely negative symptoms of menstruation. This attitude can create a defeated feeling of hopelessness when it comes to painful periods.

We get it. Many women feel that their doctors aren’t really hearing them when they say they are in pain. Often times, pain medication is simply a “bandage” given out with no investigation as to why the pain is intensifying.

At Peak Pelvic Health, we are a clinic where your pain and concerns are honored. Instead of a temporary remedy to alleviate painful period symptoms we look at the body as a whole and help you find the root cause of your symptoms.

Pain is our body’s way of communicating that something isn’t right.

Your period may not be the most fun part of the month, but it should NOT debilitate your normal daily activities. Constant bloating and constipation, extreme cramping, or excessive bleeding are not symptoms you should simply accept.

We urge you to listen to your body and take your pain seriously.

The first step towards any healing journey starts with understanding. Let’s take a quick crash course on your cycle.

Breaking Down the Female Cycle (let’s keep it simple)

You might have a solid grasp on the female cycle but let’s just lay down some groundwork to show you how your pelvic floor functions and changes along side your cycle.

There are 4 main phases of your menstrual cycle which, on average, lasts about 21-35 days.1

Phase 1: Menstruation

First day of your period = Day 1 of your cycle.1

  • Your uterus lining sheds (if pregnancy did not occur) and you bleed for (typically) 3-5 days.1

  • Excessive cramping or back pain during this time can absolutely be related to the status of your pelvic floor.

Phase 2: Follicular Phase

Occurs once your period ends till the start of ovulation.1

  • Your energy is typically at its highest and your body is starting to form a new egg.1

  • Your pelvic floor will usually feel “best” during this time because you have increased hormonal support for good mobility.

Phase 3: Ovulation

Lasts about 3 days and typically lands around day 14 of your cycle.1

  • Estrogen levels are spiking, and your egg leaves the ovaries down through the fallopian tubes awaiting fertilization.1

  • This part of your cycle is mostly neutral for the pelvic floor but tightness in the abdomen can cause more painful ovulation.

Phase 4: Luteal Phase

Occurs after ovulation till the end of your cycle (before your period starts again)

  • Your body produces a “corpus luteum” follicle which thickens the lining of the uterus making it easier for a fertilized egg to attach.2 If no egg is fertilized the lining will dissolve and your period will begin.

  • Your pelvic floor may also start to feel tighter and dry, and you may experience more abdominal pain and bloating.

Each woman’s cycle will be slightly unique, but we want to highlight the fact that not all period symptoms should be dismissed or normalized.

Our periods are often thought of as a taboo topic, which leads to less conversation about our experiences. But silence or the “suck it up” mentality can distort our perception of normal vs. abnormal period symptoms.

So, let’s chat about it.

Abnormal vs. Normal Period Symptoms.

Abnormal Period Symptoms

  1. Excessive Bleeding: For example, soaking through a super tampon in less than an hour. Discharge of large blood clots larger than a quarter.1 And bleeding that lasts for more days than 7 days.3

  2. Extremely Painful Cramping: Experiencing cramps that make you throw up or cause debilitating nausea.3 And the pain cannot be resolved through ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relief medicines.

  3. Debilitating fatigue: It's normal to feel a bit more tired during your period. But severe fatigue or the inability to get out of bed is an abnormal symptom.3

  4. Other symptoms that could be a cause for concern are dizziness, shortness of breath and pale skin.3

Normal Period Symptoms

  1. Bleeding: On average women lose about two to three tablespoons of blood during their period. Blood clots can occur but are smaller than the size of a quarter. And Bleeding should not exceed 7 days.1

  2. Cramping: Uncomfortable stomach aches that are manageable through low doses of pain relief medicine, or a warm compress.

  3. Lower Energy Levels: Your estrogen levels drop during your period which can lower your energy levels.4 Prioritizing more sleep at this time can be helpful.

  4. Other common symptoms are increased appetite, breast tenderness, and foot cravings (although sugar will make all PMS symptoms worse!)

Now with a greater understanding of the “typical” period — Would you consider yourself in the normal category? Or are you experiencing unbearable period pain that you have been told is normal?

While there are MANY factors that can influence your period, such as diet, hormone imbalances, stress, and lifestyle — pelvic floor health is often overlooked.

How a Healthy Pelvic Floor Can Improve Your Painful Period Symptoms

Let’s visualize your body like a soda can. The sides of the can are your abdominal muscles that wrap around and attach to your ribs and spine. The lid is your diaphragm, and the bottom is your pelvic floor.

A tight pelvic floor can create pressure and amplify cramping and pain.

Our soda can analogy remind us that the pelvic floor affects the spine and abdomen. If any of these components are not functioning well, you are more likely to experience pain as these nerves run through the spine and create issues for the lower back and hips.

The good news is at Peak Pelvic Health we understand how the body works as one unit. So when you are treated for pelvic floor issues your abnormal or painful period symptoms are taken into consideration.

When your body can properly release the pressure that often builds up in the abdomen, spine, and pelvic floor — your pain can decrease.

We understand that your period symptoms are influenced by a variety of factors but a healthy pelvic floor can lay the foundation for a healthier menstrual cycle.

If you’ve been discouraged before and find yourself accepting all these difficult symptoms you might be asking….

What Do I Do Next?

We recommend a FREE consultation. Peak Pelvic Health offers a free over-the-phone consultation to make sure your pain, issues, and concerns are heard.

Our doctors at Peak Pelvic Health will help you determine the right steps to take toward your overall healing.



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