Health Conditions / Sexual and Reproductive Health / Periods

Should You Consider Switching From the Pill to an IUD or Implant?

Should You Consider Switching From the Pill to an IUD or Implant?

If you miss one pill but have been consistent previously, you probably don’t need a backup plan or emergency contraception, according to Planned Parenthood. You can simply take two pills in one day to stay on schedule. If you miss two pills, you should take the most recent missed pill as soon as you remember and then continue taking it as normal, but you should also use backup birth control (like a condom), or—if pregnancy is your biggest concern—avoid penis-in-vagina sex altogether until you’ve taken the pill for seven consecutive days.If you can’t ever remember to actually take the pill when you’re supposed to, or are often late refilling your prescription each month, a LARC takes away that responsibility. “A LARC’s main advantage is ‘set it and forget it,’” Dr. Dunham says. “It may require more effort to start up, but requires less effort over time.” Basically, once it’s in you’re good to go. No daily alarms or relying on good memory required.2. You want a little more control over your fertility.Research estimates that LARCs are up to 20 times more effective against pregnancy than the pill. Each LARC method is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.1 In theory, the same goes for the pill—but only if it’s used perfectly (more on that later). A more realistic figure for the effectiveness of the pill in preventing pregnancy, based on typical use, is 91%, according to Planned Parenthood. In other words, about 9 out of 100 pill takers get pregnant each year.On the flip side, the pill can be appealing if you eventually decide you want to get pregnant, Dr. Dunham says. “It’s easy to stop and doesn’t require a doctor’s visit to start trying to conceive,” she explains.Even if you want to get pregnant in the near future, you can still use a LARC method for birth control in the meantime. “LARC doesn’t affect or decrease your chance of getting pregnant in the future,” Anita Sit, MD, chief of gynecology at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, tells SELF. The hormonal implant and IUDs require removal at your doctor’s office, but the process is generally quick and easy for most people.When you stop taking birth control, it can take a bit of time for your cycle to return to normal. A 2020 study that analyzed data from nearly 18,000 people who menstruate found that fertility returned quickest in those who had used IUDs or implants; they waited for an average of two menstrual cycles before conceiving, while pill users had to wait for three cycles.23. The pill is too risky for you.Sometimes, your health history or lifestyle choices factor into your choice of birth control. If you’re older than 35 years and smoke, for example, your doctor may advise you not to take the pill due to the changes increased estrogen levels can make to your blood, according to the CDC. The same goes if you have a history of blood clots, breast cancer, or in some instances, high blood pressure, among other health conditions.

What’s the Best Way to Track Birth Control Side Effects?

What’s the Best Way to Track Birth Control Side Effects?

Mental health changes: There isn’t definitive proof that using hormonal birth control exacerbates depression or other mental health issues, according to 2020 research, but mood changes are a commonly reported symptom.1 So it’s important to write down any mood-related symptoms right along with your physical symptoms each day and try to name them as best you can, such as feeling particularly emotional at certain times, having sharp swings in your moods, or feeling depressed, says Dr. Sridhar. You should also include references to specific life events or happenings—say, a breakup or a high-stress period at work, or any other impactful life events—that correlate with the time period you started birth control, she adds.Medications or supplements you’re taking: There are plenty of medications that can trigger similar side effects to birth control. For example, some antidepressants and blood pressure drugs can also impact libido. So, make sure you write down other meds you’re taking in your journal (yes, including supplements); add the medication name, dosage, and how often you take it, Dr. Sridhar recommends. It’s not always easy to decipher exactly which side effect is coming from which medication on your own, she points out, so having all this information down can be helpful if you need to have a conversation with your doctor.Diet and exercise changes: If you changed up either of these recently, include them in your tracker, Dr. Sridhar says. For example, if you recently started eating a vegan diet and your mystery symptoms are stomach-related, it’s worth documenting what foods you’re eating and how you feel after to see if there’s any sort of connection. The same goes for your exercise habits: Major shifts in your activity—for example, you start training for a marathon—can also prompt changes in your body, like muscle soreness, headaches if you’re dehydrated, or GI symptoms (runners trots are so real). Basically, write down any workouts that feel especially new to you, says Dr. Sridhar, and note how your symptoms change during and after.3. Take a break to see if you notice any significant changes.If you feel that your symptoms are bothersome and interfere with your normal activities, another way to parse whether your birth control might be causing your symptoms is to stop using that method of birth control, if you can. Keep up with your journal for a good three months after so you can see if there’s a difference, says Dr. Sridhar.It’s generally safe to stop taking birth control pills, wearing the patch or ring, or ask your doctor for an IUD or implant removal at any time. If you use birth control to help manage a medical condition like PCOS, be sure to discuss it with your doctor before you stop taking your birth control, Dr. Kiley notes.And remember to use a backup method of contraception right away, such as condoms or spermicide, if you’re not planning to get pregnant, Dr. Sridhar adds.If your doctor determines your birth control is the root of your side effects, here’s what to consider.So, you’ve brought your robust symptom journal to your doctor, and the two of you end up determining that your contraception is likely causing your symptoms. Now what?

How to Take Care of Yourself If You Get Migraines During Your Period

How to Take Care of Yourself If You Get Migraines During Your Period

Ah, menstruation—giver of stained underwear, unrelenting cramps, and for some people, migraine attacks. If you feel a vice-grip around your skull right around the time your uterus decides it’s time for a deep cleaning, it’s probably not a coincidence.“Menstruation is a very common trigger of migraine attacks in women,” Addie Peretz, MD, clinical assistant professor in the department of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, tells SELF. Migraine is a complex neurological condition that essentially makes your brain really sensitive to certain triggers, which can lead to painful (and potentially debilitating) attacks. For some people, migraine triggers include certain foods, a lack of sleep, or stress. For others, the drop in estrogen that occurs right before their period starts can bring on an attack, she says.If you have menstrual migraine attacks, you already know they really suck. “Migraine attacks associated with menstruation tend to last longer, be more disabling, and are less treatment-responsive than non-menstrual migraine attacks,” Dr. Peretz says.So, what can you do about it? Menstrual migraine treatment can be broken up into three general buckets: acute treatment, for when you’ve already got a migraine and are trying to get relief; mini preventive treatment, which focuses on preventing a migraine in the days before your cycle; and continuous preventive treatment, which might be appropriate if you have attacks at other points during the month or if your migraines aren’t responding to mini prevention.“The overall goal is to decrease the intensity and the frequency of the migraine attacks so they have as little impact on your day-to-day functioning as possible. That’s a universal goal of migraine treatment, but especially true during the menstrual cycle,” Mason Dyess, DO, a neurologist and headache medicine specialist at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, tells SELF.Ready to get some relief? Here’s what you can do—because PMS is already bad enough on its own.Track your menstrual cycle and your migraine symptoms.It’s important to figure out exactly when in your cycle you’re experiencing migraine attacks, how bad they tend to be, and whether they’re also happening outside of your period week. “Being able to pick up on patterns about when your migraine attacks are happening most often during the month is extremely powerful for headache providers,” Dr. Dyess says. “That can help us get a treatment strategy together that’s uniquely crafted to you and your triggers.”Consider tracking your menstrual cycle and headache cycle, whether that’s with a physical calendar, a period app, or the Notes app on your phone. The sky’s the limit for how much information you can record, but there are a few key things to cover. “At a minimum, I would suggest tracking whether you had a headache each day, the severity of the pain, whether you took medication to alleviate your pain, and when your period started and ended,” Dr. Peretz says. This can help you and your doctor confirm if attacks coincide with typical hormone dips during your monthly cycle.If you need contraception, some birth control can help reduce menstrual migraine symptoms.Since a change in estrogen levels can trigger a migraine attack, one strategy is to try to minimize that hormonal dip. If this is the case for you, the pill, vaginal ring, patch, and other hormonal contraceptives may help change your migraine patterns. “Some patients go on birth control to make their menstrual cycles more predictable, or to eliminate them, which can sometimes reduce overall migraine burden,” Dr. Dyess explains.

PSA: Don’t Sleep on the Campus Health Center When You’re in College

PSA: Don’t Sleep on the Campus Health Center When You’re in College

There’s a lot to love about college: sudden independence, late nights with new people who turn into lifelong friends, and endless opportunities to learn and grow. It can also keep you super busy—a packed schedule probably means that checking out various campus services is the last thing on your mind. But if there’s one service you use, make it your student health center.Not only will it put your health into your own hands (which may be a new thing for you), but it will help you stay on your A-game all throughout college. And if this is the first time you’ve had access to a one-stop shop for all your health needs, you may not even know everything that is available to you. In fact, when the SELF team discussed their biggest health-related college regrets, an overwhelming number of people said they wish they’d taken advantage of their campus health center.So here’s a rundown of the most important services that your student health center has to offer and why you should definitely check them out.1. You’re already paying for these health services.Here’s the thing: The cost of college includes tuition, room and board, and various student fees. Those fees generally include student health services, which means you might already be paying to access those resources. So why not make the most of it?For example, the health fee is mandatory for all students at UNC-Chapel Hill, whether or not they actually visit the health center, Ken Pittman, MHA, FACHE, executive director of campus health services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tells SELF. (Though 78% of students do utilize the university’s health services at least once a year, he notes). Basic services such as primary care visits, gynecology checkups, urgent care, and mental health counseling are covered under that fee, he says—so they won’t be billed to health insurance at all.As for services not covered by the student health fee? These vary at each school, but can include lab tests, like rapid flu testing, X-rays, and some procedures (for example, some campus health centers do IUD insertions and others don’t), says Pittman. These services are billed to the student’s personal health insurance, which may be required at some institutions.Remember, you can stay on your parents’ health insurance plan until you turn 26 years old, per Healthcare.gov, so you might have coverage that way. Many colleges and universities even offer students medical insurance plans, which may be another option for you. To learn more about your school’s specific health care requirements, chat with the folks at your campus health center.2. It makes it easy to schedule regular checkups.When you’ve got papers to write and classes to attend, getting annual checkups can feel like a drag. Besides, if you feel fine (save for the occasional sleepless night), do you really need routine checkups?TBH, yes. Regular checkups are a form of preventive care, which can help you identify or avoid health issues before they become bigger problems that require treatment. This involves services like routine blood tests, mental health screenings, and physical examinations, according to the US National Library of Medicine. Yes, your childhood primary care doctor, if you have one, can perform these services—but thanks to your student health center, you won’t need to wait until you’re back home to book an appointment.

We Finally Know More About How COVID Vaccines May Temporarily Change Your Period

We Finally Know More About How COVID Vaccines May Temporarily Change Your Period

As the COVID-19 vaccines first rolled out in the United States, an unanticipated, anecdotal side effect started to emerge: Many people speculated that the vaccine seemed to have an effect on their menstrual cycle.Studies that examined whether those anecdotes may be explained by science were sparse and small—not surprising, given the slow pace of research on menstruation within vaccine trials. Then, in July, the largest study of its kind published in the journal Science Advances added some support to the claims people were sharing online. Here’s what we know, so far, about how the COVID vaccines may affect a person’s period—and why more research is still needed.How the vaccine may affect those who menstruate regularlyTo start with a caveat: Even with the newest Science Advances study, Alyssa Dweck, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in New York, emphasizes that most of the evidence we have on the COVID vaccines’ potential effects on periods is still anecdotal. Meaning, if there is a clear cause-and-effect link between the vaccines and menstrual changes, it has not been scientifically established yet.However, the Science Advances study does suggest there could be a correlation between the vaccine regimen and temporary changes in a person’s menstrual cycle. For the study, researchers surveyed more than 35,000 people between the ages of 18 and 80. A majority of respondents received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna two-dose series, so these vaccines were the focus of the study’s analyses. Overall, respondents were also vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, and AstraZeneca vaccines.According to the study, 42% of people surveyed who regularly menstruate reported having heavier periods after receiving the COVID vaccine, while 44% reported experiencing no changes to their periods at all.“In my practice, I’ve definitely seen people have changes in their menstruation—whether it’s the onset, the duration, or the heaviness [of their period]—after the vaccines,” Dr. Dweck tells SELF. “But it seems to be transient. Or, in other words, it’s not every cycle after the fact, but really more like a one-and-done type of situation.”Recent studies support Dr. Dweck’s observations. A survey of nearly 4,000 people, published in The BMJ in January 2022, found that those who experienced longer or heavier periods returned to their typical flow within two menstrual cycles post-vaccination. And a 2022 study out of Norway, published by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, similarly found that people’s periods generally returned to normal within two to three cycles. In response to these studies, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists updated its COVID-19 vaccine FAQ page to reflect that there may be a “small, temporary change” in a person’s menstrual period after vaccination.How the vaccine may affect those who don’t typically menstruateAccording to the Science Advances study, changes in periods were more widely reported in those who don’t have a typical period. Breakthrough bleeding (spotting that occurs when a period is not expected) after the COVID vaccine was reported by 71% of people on long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), 39% of people taking gender-affirming hormones, and 66% of postmenopausal people.

Here’s Why Your Boobs Get Annoyingly Sore Before Your Period

Here’s Why Your Boobs Get Annoyingly Sore Before Your Period

Raise your hand if every time Aunt Flo rolls around, your breasts get tender, sore, and maybe even downright hurt a little. If that sounds like you, welcome to the sore boobs club—you’re definitely not alone. Studies show that up to 70% of people who get their periods say the same exact thing.1“It can present as sharp shooting pains, a dull ache, or even increased breast soreness or nipple sensitivity,” Kourtney Sims, MD, FACOG, NCMP, a board-certified ob-gyn and certified menopause specialist in private practice in Houston, tells SELF. She notes this can last from puberty through perimenopause.Breast pain falls into two categories. Let’s start with cyclic breast pain, which means the soreness or pain occurs in a regular pattern. This is known as cyclical mastalgia, which is associated with your menstrual cycle. It can lead to a dull, heavy, or aching feeling, which can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and sensitivity, according to the Mayo Clinic.“[The cyclic pain] typically occurs on both sides and is most severe in the upper outer parts of the breasts, where most of the breast tissue is,” Roxanne Jamshidi, MD, MPH, director of the division of general obstetrics and gynecology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, tells SELF. It may also radiate to the underarm and it is often accompanied by swelling, breast fullness, or lumpiness that becomes more pronounced during the two weeks leading up to your period. There is typically less cyclic pain during menopause since reproductive hormone levels are significantly reduced, Dr. Jamshidi says.Then, there’s noncyclic breast pain, meaning the pain is more constant. This can present as a tight, burning, stabbing, or throbbing sensation, and usually affects just one breast in a specific area. For people who menstruate, this type of pain usually occurs after menopause, especially if the person is using hormone replacement therapy.Thankfully, identifying what’s behind sore breasts before your period, regardless of what type it is, can help ease your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. Here’s what you should know if you’ve been dealing with this.What causes breast pain around your period—and how long does it last?The jury is still out on the exact mechanisms behind breast soreness that develops before your period. But experts do know that hormone levels fluctuate around that time of the month, and that can impact how your boobs feel, Sherry A. Ross, MD, a women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health, tells SELF.Specifically, rising estrogen levels in the first two weeks of your cycle can temporarily cause your breasts to get bigger, while increasing amounts of progesterone during the second half may make your milk ducts puff up. “Together this results in swelling and breast tenderness,” women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD, tells SELF. Hormonal fluctuations can also lead to fibrocystic breast changes (the development of non-cancerous lumps in your boobs) around your period, which can contribute to tenderness, according to the Mayo Clinic.In this case, your breasts may become sore about three to five days before the onset of your period and tend to stop hurting once your flow begins, but this can vary by person. “The hormone levels significantly decrease once your period starts, which is why the breast pain tends to improve within a few days of the onset of your period,” Dr. Jamshidi explains.Ovulation itself, which happens about two weeks before your period, can be another culprit. Again, this is a time when the body is experiencing a surge of hormones, and progesterone levels rise right after ovulation. This pain or tenderness may continue until the start of your period and then linger for a few days after its onset, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. So, you might think you’re experiencing breast pain after your last period, but it could be due to ovulation occurring before your next one.

10 Things That May Happen to Your Body When You Stop Birth Control

10 Things That May Happen to Your Body When You Stop Birth Control

If you’re thinking about cutting ties with your contraception, you’re probably asking yourself a very important question: What should I expect when stopping birth control? Kudos to you for thinking ahead. Knowing what to expect can take some of the anxiety out of making any big change that affects your body.Because all forms of birth control come with potential side effects, there’s no one-size-fits-all experience for stopping or switching your current form of contraception. However, the type of birth control—hormonal versus nonhormonal—will likely play a large role. For example, if you have a copper intrauterine device (IUD), a popular form of nonhormonal contraception, removed, you may not notice many changes beyond some cramping and spotting after removal, SELF previously reported.Stopping hormonal birth control—including birth control pills, most IUDs, the implant, the patch, the injection, and the ring—typically can cause more changes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And these changes really depend on the person and the exact form of birth control they use. To really understand what might go down, it’s best to talk to your prescribing clinician, whether that be your primary care doctor or your ob-gyn, as they’ll be most familiar with your personal health history. But generally, here are ten things to keep on your radar when you stop hormonal birth control.1. Your hormones will probably start to fluctuate.This probably isn’t very shocking—all of the changes included in this list happen because of hormonal changes that occur when going off birth control. For context, there are two main types of hormonal birth control: combined and progestin-only. Combined birth control contains two hormones, estrogen (which suppresses ovulation) and progestin (a synthetic form of the naturally-occurring hormone progesterone, which thickens the mucus in the cervix so sperm have a harder time entering the uterus). Progestin also thins the lining of the uterus, which helps prevent an egg from implanting, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). Progestin-only birth control only contains progestin—no estrogen.In most cases, it doesn’t take very long for your hormones to fluctuate when you stop either form of birth control, Jennifer Kickham, MD, an ob-gyn at the Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. Without hormonal birth control, your natural hormonal processes will eventually resume. Typically, ovulation starts within a couple of weeks after you stop using hormonal birth control pills, the patch, an IUD, or the ring, according to the experts at the

Why Is There a Gender Disparity in Migraine?

Why Is There a Gender Disparity in Migraine?

When it comes to migraine attacks, every hormone can play a role. That’s because all hormones can affect brain function, Salman Azhar, MD, a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, tells SELF. But in terms of migraine in cisgender women, changes in estrogen—the primary female sex hormone—is the main culprit, says Dr. Krel. Case in point: According to the Mayo Clinic, steady levels of estrogen can help ease both regular headaches and migraine attacks. However, when estrogen levels oscillate, which happens throughout a person’s life, migraine can get worse.When are hormone fluctuations most likely to occur?During your menstrual cycle, estrogen naturally drops right after ovulation, then again just before your period starts, says Dr. Krel. “It is during these moments, when estrogen is lowest, that some women tend to experience more frequent migraine attacks,” she says. In fact, among people with menstrual periods who have migraine, at least 60% report menstrual-related migraine attacks.Estrogen also increases during pregnancy, potentially improving the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. But after giving birth, the hormone rapidly drops, often causing migraine to roar back with an almighty force, according to the Mayo Clinic.And then there’s perimenopause, or the years leading up to menopause, which might start anywhere between your mid-30s to mid-50s. This time is characterized by uneven fluctuations in hormones, including—you guessed it—estrogen. Specifically, the body starts making less of the hormone, potentially causing more intense and frequent migraine attacks in some people. But once the body stops making estrogen altogether, hormone-related headaches may improve.Bottom line: Fluctuating hormones, of any kind, can trigger migraine attacks. Experts don’t fully understand why estrogen fluctuations can catalyze the development of migraine, though.Here are some possible explanations:Estrogen may affect pain neurotransmitters.Estrogen affects the activity of certain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers released by nerve cells) involved in migraine attacks and pain. As a 2018 review article published in the Frontiers in Public Health notes, estrogen increases the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates many biological processes.3 This includes the sensation of pain, Dr. Krel says. According to a 2022 study published in Cells, estrogen also has a protective effect against migraine—but when it fluctuates, so does serotonin, which could potentially trigger a migraine attack. Similarly, estrogen increases the release of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that reduces pain. But again, when estrogen fluctuates, so does GABA, which may also result in migraine attacks.4Estrogen may protect against inflammation in the brain.Estrogen may also help protect against inflammation in the brain. Low levels of the hormone may increase this inflammation, potentially contributing to those painful migraine attacks.4 Finally, estrogen is needed for healthy relaxation of the blood vessels, including those in the brain. When estrogen rapidly drops, the blood vessels may constrict, ultimately leading to a migraine attack.1 It’s worth noting again that the high rate of migraine in cisgender women isn’t linked to the presence of estrogen itself. Instead, it’s more about the fluctuations. As Dr. Azhar points out, people assigned male at birth also have estrogen, albeit in smaller amounts. But since they don’t experience the same estrogen fluctuations, people assigned male at birth who have migraine are less likely to have hormonal triggers.Don’t forget a migraine attack can have other triggers, too.A lot of things can trigger migraine attacks, says Dr. Azhar. “When you’re susceptible to migraine, either because of genetics or your own physiological makeup, a series of triggers can culminate into an attack.” Hormonal variations happen to be one of those triggers and an especially strong one, he says.

We Know You’re Dying to Talk About Period Poop

We Know You’re Dying to Talk About Period Poop

Certain aspects of having a period are talked about more frequently than others, like dealing with menstural cramps, sore boobs, and bloating. But there’s one common symptom that, for whatever reason, gets less buzz: period poop.Yup, it’s not just you—pooping habits can get weird during your period. “Many people do get bowel changes just before or during their period,” Kyle Staller, MD, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. That includes a whole potential host of things, from period constipation to period diarrhea, with some people just pooping more than usual during that time of the month.Maybe you just happened to notice that period poop is a thing for you and are simply curious about what, exactly, is going on down there. Or maybe period poop is a problem for you and you need a solution ASAP. Either way, getting to the bottom of this (no pun intended) can go a long way toward helping you understand your body and figuring out a solution if your period poops start to interfere with your life. Here’s what you need to know about this totally normal phenomenon.What are period poops?Some people refer to changes in bowel movement that happen around their menstrual cycle as period poops. As with most other period wonkiness, you can thank hormonal fluctuations for this phenomenon. “The reason that this happens is largely due to hormones,” Dr. Staller says. That includes constipation that starts before your period and subsequent diarrhea or excessive pooping that happens once aunt Flo has actually come to town.Preperiod constipation could be a result of an increase in the hormone progesterone, which starts to increase in the time between ovulation and when you get your period.1 Progesterone can cause food to move more slowly through your intestines, backing you up in the process.But levels of progesterone plummet around the same time that your period starts.1 Simultaneously, there’s an increase in hormone-like compounds in your body called prostaglandins. The cells that make up the lining of your uterus (known as endometrial cells), produce these prostaglandins, which get released as the lining of your uterus breaks down right before and during menstruation. These chemicals cause the blood vessels and muscles in the uterus to contract. If your body has high levels of prostaglandins, they can make their way into the muscle that lines your bowels.There, they can cause your intestines to contract just like your uterus and push out fecal matter quickly, Ashkan Farhadi, MD, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, tells SELF. (Fun fact: These prostaglandins are also responsible for those painful menstrual cramps you might get every month.) This explains why you might have diarrhea or poop so much more often during your period.Of course this can all vary for different people. But if you notice you experience constipation or diarrhea right around your period like clockwork, this may be why.Back to topCan health conditions cause period poop changes?Certain health conditions like endometriosis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis, can flare up during menstruation, leading to bowel changes. For example, if you struggle with Crohn’s disease, which can often cause diarrhea, or IBS-D (a form of IBS that causes people to have diarrhea), your body’s release of prostaglandins during your period may exacerbate your condition, worsening your diarrhea. But if you suffer from IBS-C (IBS that causes people to have constipation), you may find yourself struggling even more to have a bowel movement on your period as progesterone further slows your bowels’ activity. Since ulcerative colitis can lead to both diarrhea and constipation, you might experience an uptick in either during your period.Back to topWhat does it mean if it hurts to poop during my period?There are a few potential reasons why it might hurt to poop on your period. If it’s something you notice here and there—especially if you’re dealing with a lot of diarrhea—it could be a side effect of diarrhea itself, like cramping in your stomach or even irritation around your anus from going so often, Dr. Farhadi says.

Jessica Williams on the ‘Debilitating’ Symptom That Led to Her Endometriosis Diagnosis

Jessica Williams on the ‘Debilitating’ Symptom That Led to Her Endometriosis Diagnosis

For 32-year-old actress Jessica Williams, “debilitating” pain, especially during her period, was actually signaling a serious health problem: endometriosis. Before she taped the HBO specials for her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, Williams said she had been admitted to the E.R. for the condition. “It turns out there wasn’t really much that could be done—because it’s women’s reproductive health, and they don’t know a lot about endometriosis,” the Fantastic Beasts star said in a recent interview with Essence. According to the Office on Women’s Health, endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue that is similar to the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium) grows on areas outside of the uterus, like on the fallopian tubes or ovaries. This tissue can then swell or bleed outside of the uterus during the menstrual cycle, which can result in severe pain because it cannot easily leave the body. In 2018, Williams spoke at length about her endometriosis in an Instagram post. She shared that “killer 👏🏾cramps 👏🏾ain’t 👏🏾normal👏🏾” and noted that she had to visit the E.R. and various medical professionals before finally arriving at a diagnosis. “People have a hard time believing women are in pain and they ESPECIALLY have a hard time believing that women of color are experiencing pain. So it may take multiple doctors to even get an endometriosis diagnosis,” Williams wrote.  Finally receiving that diagnosis motivated her to “advocate for women of color monitoring their reproductive health,” according to Essence, a public health issue that Williams has been extremely vocal about. One systematic review published in the American Journal of Public Health analyzed 15 studies on implicit racial and ethnic biases among health care professionals and how this bias can impact health care outcomes. The overwhelming majority of the studies concluded that “most health care providers” included in the research appeared to have implicit bias, in that they tend to have more “positive attitudes” toward white people in a health care setting and more “negative attitudes” toward people of color. These biases, among other factors and systemic issues, can lead to a range of adverse health outcomes for Black people—from having their health concerns dismissed in potentially life-threatening situations to disproportionately higher maternal mortality rates.Instagram contentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.That’s one possible reason why Williams “felt relief” when a doctor finally acknowledged “you must be in a ton of pain” after discovering that she had advanced endometriosis lesions. “I also felt really sad for all of the pain that I had ignored and set aside for so long,” she previously wrote on Instagram. There are various treatments for endometriosis, which can include different types of medication or surgery to remove the endometriosis lesions. In late 2021, Williams told Interview magazine that she was recovering from endometriosis surgery but did not go into exact details about the operation. Now, she looks back at her initial symptoms and stresses the importance of listening to your body—and advocating for yourself if you can. “You shouldn’t be having severe period pain,” she told Essence. “That’s not normal.”Related:

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