April Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine
Sure, everyone rolls their eyes and groans when they talk about that time of the month ... but did you ever wonder if you're suffering because of your period a lot more than your friends seem to be?
A recent survey of 1,200 women found that 1 in 10 American women experience debilitating heavy monthly periods -- but that half of those sufferers haven't discussed their situation with their doctors. Why? A whopping 32% says it's too embarrassing.
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Are you missing out on life?
The online survey, conducted by the research agency TNS on behalf of Bayer, found that these women go to extreme lengths to cope with heavy periods -- like doubling up on tampons, YIKES! -- and that they miss out on a lot of life. Many of those who revealed having heavy periods also reported having cancelled on dates (16%), missed days of work (20%), skipped outdoor activities (33%), not worn a bathing suit (50%) or skipped out on events with friends (22%) ... all because they were having their periods.
The survey also shows that heavy periods take an emotional toll, with the vast majority (93%) of suffers saying they enjoy life less while they're having their period. Two-thirds report feeling less confident, and 65% say they just want to stay in bed all day during that time of the month. NO FUN!
Why aren't women getting help?
Diana Ramos, M.D., Medical Director for Reproductive Health for the Los Angeles Public Health Department and an assistant clinical professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Keck USC School of Medicine, says that, in addition to being embarrassed, women often just don't realize that their periods are unusual.
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"They think it's just part of being a woman," she tells HealthySELF -- so it doesn't seem like something to talk to your doctor about.
When should you talk to your doctor?
If any of these red flags are present along with your monthly chocolate craving, you're probably suffering a lot more than you have to:
- Soaking through one or more sanitary pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
- Needing to use double sanitary protection
- Needing to wake up to change sanitary protection during the night, or soaking your clothes in the daytime
- Passing large blood clots with your menstrual flow
- Having to stay in bed because you're just too tired
We're not saying that you shouldn't experience any inconvenience when it's that time of the month; according to Dr. Ramos, it's perfectly normal to experience some symptoms like bloating or stomach discomfort. What's NOT normal, however, is for your period to interfere with your everyday life.
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"If you're in severe pain, or bleeding so much that you miss work or school, then it's time to get help," says Dr. Ramos.
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