From the moment she gets that very first drop of menstrual blood, a woman learns that 25 percent of being female means pretending everything is fine when really you'd rather just be curled up in bed with your warm rice bag.
But, some pain should not be endured. How do you know if your menstrual pain is just a normal part of being a woman, or if your body is trying to tell you something is wrong? These seven guidelines can help you catch dangerous symptoms early on.
If you experience constant backaches or pelvic pain long after your menstrual cycle is over, it could be a sign you have endometriosis, according to Everyday Health.
Endometriosis happens when the uterine lining is outside of the uterus and connected to things like your fallopian tubes, bladder and ovaries. It usually creates a lot of pain and can affect your fertility.
Most women have some sort of pain during menstruation, but cramps should generally not be completely debilitating. If they are keeping you homebound and you're missing work or school for them (and not just because you want an excuse to stay home), this intense pain can indicate you have endometriosis as well.
3. Sudden severe cramping (that's different than the norm)
You should note any quick changes in your menstrual cycle, especially if you suddenly have more pain.
4. Pooping pains
If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you can probably ignore this symptom, but otherwise, going to the bathroom shouldn't leave you in tears. This too can be a sign of endometriosis.
5. Burning when you urinate
You've likely heard how a burning sensation when you pee can indicate a UTI (or urinary tract infection), but it can also mean a few even scarier things.
Cervical cancer, for example, causes the cervix to swell, which compresses your bladder. As a result, you might have a lot of pain or a hard time emptying your bladder.
Painful peeing is also a symptom that your reproductive organs are infected. It's called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Although it generally comes from STDs that are not treated, it can also come from infection when an IUD is inserted.
If not treated, PID can eventually lead to blockage in your fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancies, infertility and pelvic and abdominal pain that doesn't go away, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nothing kills the mood more than pain while you're trying to be intimate. Aside from being annoying, this could also indicate that you have PID or endometriosis.
7. Sharp pelvic pain
If suddenly you have sharp pelvic pain, it could be a sign of a uterine fibroid. Many women have fibroids and don't even know it, according to Mayo Clinic. Fibroids aren't usually dangerous, but when they get too large, they can create a lot of pain and possibly anemia from heavy blood loss.
Amberlee is the content manager for FamilyShare.com and earned a degree in journalism. She creates beautiful things with her experience in writing, graphic design, photography, video and music. She loves her family, the outdoors, baby foxes and podcasts.