Have you heard of Period Flu??
I had not until a friend alerted me to the term’s presence about an hour ago.
Of course the first thing I did was Google it. I quickly learned that it is a term used to describe flu-like symptoms that can occur in the week before your period. These symptoms are attributed to prostaglandins (hormones released to help shed the uterine lining) making their way into your blood stream and intestines.
Whenever I read about things like this (miserable-sounding period symptoms that a large number of women seem to be experiencing), I’m always curious what other information/advice is going to be given in the article – underlying causes, treatments options, etc. And 9/10 times I am extremely disappointed in what I read. It usually goes a little something like this:
– Here’s a list of terrible symptoms
– This is a common occurrence, just part of womanhood I guess
– We think it’s caused by [blank], but there’s not much research
– No mention of the deeper potential causes/what might be causing [blank] (e.g. hormonal imbalance, poor blood sugar regulation, digestive disorders, endometriosis…)
– treatment = pain killers, waiting it out
– if it’s really unbearable, go see your doctor, who may prescribe birth control
Even the article titled “Everything You Need to Know About Period Flu…” was far from comprehensive. It probably should have been titled “Everything We Currently Know About Period Flu… Which Is Not Much…” 🙄
When are we going to:
1) Stop telling women their abnormal pain is normal and to just suck it up and mask it with pain killers.
2) Start researching women’s issues more thoroughly and updating our education to include all the information we already have (that tells us there is a lot we can do to better regulate our hormones, improve biomechanical functions affecting the reproductive system, and manage/eliminate period symptoms).
I’m glad we’re to the point in our society where we are at least acknowledging women’s issues like this one and talking about them, but I am so ready to move beyond commiseration and into action.
In this particular instance, maybe we should stop demonizing the hormone (prostaglandin, which was referred to in various articles as “pesky,” “no fun,” and having the ability to “wreak total havoc on your body”), and look at why our body systems aren’t able to regulate those hormones effectively. Poor prostaglandin, it’s just trying to do it’s job – and a very important job at that!
If you believe women deserve better, share this post along with your experiences around women’s health and healthcare. Let’s spread this conversation.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for starting to close the gap between where we are and where we should be when it comes to understanding and supporting women’s health and quality of life:
If you have any favorite resources you think I should add to the list, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!