Endometriosis UK
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Do you think how you/society view your period has contributed to your pain?

I recently paid to get my full medical history and it turns out when I was ten I went through an obsession of feeling dirty around when I started my period. Washing hands, obsessively washing body, struggling with toilets, etc etc. I wonder whether self loathing and shame around period manifests as or at least exacerbates real physical period pain?

I would appreciate people's thoughts on this particularly ways to change subconscious negative thoughts about periods in case this at least slightly helps the pain and stress I feel twice a month (ovulation and period)

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I certainly get what you mean, I think it's that thing of once you know what symptoms are, you start seeing them more. It also doesn't help that a lot of people think people with endo are faking it or hypochondriacs, so you start to doubt yourself too. I can't say I personally have ever felt any real shame around it but as someone who suffers from OCD, I can see how you might. Have you tried therapy or CBT to understand why you feel the way you do? x

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Hi, I think you may be right about this. There is loads of research suggesting that social context is a strong factor in determining how much pain we feel. Childbirth is a good example. In a familiar environment (home) women experience less pain than in an unfamiliar one (hospital).

I lived in a shared house with other women in my 20s and we did various things together which celebrated our menstrual cycles. That certainly helped me overcome some of the shame I think I picked up from my mother. I remember her telling me to hide my period from my dad, for example.

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I think for some cases, such as yours, where it’s not just viewing your period as a taboo subject but what sounds like pretty bad OCD, then yeah it’s really likely. Stress can definitely make pain worse so if yours is centred around how you view your period then I would think it would impact you in that way.

However, personally I was always lucky that my mum has been extremely open with me about periods, I’ve never had any issues in the way I think about it. And yes, although there are obviously certain times when as a teen you feel like you can’t talk about periods to just anyone, there were always people there that made it very clear that I could if I wanted to. But my pain wasn’t any worse then, if anything it’s actually worse now when I’m at that stage of genuinely not giving a second thought as to who knows anything about my periods or cycle. So no, my pain and symptoms haven’t been impacted in any way by how I, or society, viewed my periods.

Have you considered being referred for counselling or CBT? I’ve just been for several sessions of counselling.... don’t know if I’m quite ready to put the reasons up here but will PM you. Might give you something else to think about? x

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