Illnesses That Mimic Your Period Cycle Part I
I’m sure you have heard by now what puberty does to your body. If you have not, then I recommend checking out the “tough topics” tab at the top of this page and clicking on the heading “Puberty”. There are many things a young girl has to worry about in high school, including personal health, but when does your health start to affect your average day? What do you do when that happens?
There is some normalcy in having to miss a day or two of class or not being able to always participate in events due to menstrual problems, but when these symptoms keep you from almost always participating, then it could be more than just your average cycle.
To help with some of the pain you could try looking into Midol or Advil. Or if you prefer a more natural solution, then heating pads, warm baths, certain yoga poses, and exercise can help with the pain. Exercising may seem like the last thing you want to do when on your cycle, but it really does help, even if it is light exercise like walking.
If none of these things make a difference in your cycle, then you could be looking at a more aggressive period or an additional illness on top of the normal flow.
Let’s start by identifying the problem.
Some common female (and male) illnesses that are looked over include IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Gluten intolerance/sensitivity, Migraines, Lactose intolerance, Acid Reflux Disease, and Lupus. These diseases seem to ward off conversations because most teenagers believe the changes in their hormones cause the pain or discomfort. While that can be true, it is not always the case, and it is often the reason more chronic illnesses are not considered. I will split this discussion into three parts so that all the symptoms and resources are available to you.
Here is a checklist of symptoms that relate to Irritable Bowel Syndrome according to the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016 ):
- Pain, discomfort, cramping or bloating located in the abdomen (stomach area), that can be managed by passing a bowel movement.
- Mucus in the stool (slimy texture)
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Bleeding from the anus (or hemorrhoids)
- Anemia (the lack of iron in your blood)
- Pain when using the restroom or passing gas
- Difficulty swallowing
Some of these symptoms are different for each person, but majority of them mimic other hormonal changes. Some people have found great relief from their symptoms by adding probiotics to their diet. Weight loss, bloating, anemia, and even constipation could be viewed as typical monthly menstrual issues. If these symptoms happen more frequently than one or two weeks a month, or if you are experiencing more than two of the above symptoms, then it may be time to consider scheduling an appointment with a Gastroenterology.
In part two we will discuss two other common illnesses and their familiarity with the menstrual cycle.