Everyone has a stomach, so everyone must know that stomach problems and discomfort can ruin your entire day. As women, however, we need to understand the neglect women’s digestive health faces. It’s easy to chalk up any nausea, indigestion, and cramping we face to menstrual symptoms, and doctors often do so as well. This is how a lot of stomach conditions go undiagnosed for extended periods of time in female patients.
One of the biggest differences in the female body’s response to consumption is being hypersensitive and easily inflamed. A study done by Sutter Health attributes this to two reasons: anatomy and hormones. The placement of the uterus makes the colon’s route “more convoluted.” On top of this, our estrogen levels directly affect our gastrointestinal tracts. Women are six times more likely to suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), in which they will experience daily symptoms that are identical to those of a normal period. These symptoms include “heartburn, cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation”, according to Sutter Health. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, the human body can only send signals in a limited amount of ways, and for women, this means more difficulty in distinguishing between an annoying period week and what may be a serious health issue, usually stomach-related.
It’s more than easy to downplay our symptoms as women, especially because the majority of us are constantly experiencing some sort of physical pain at any given point of any month. However, I see and know myself that the more questions asked and symptoms recognized, the more real and serious diagnoses we are getting.
Don’t hesitate to question your physical pain or symptoms simply because it might be your menstrual cycle. Get to the bottom of your pain and demand thoroughness from your doctors. Comfort and well-being should be the forever goal and priority.
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