Do you suffer from painful periods? Does your birth control ‘just not feel right’? Do you think your periods are heavier than is healthy? We’re on a mission to make sure that women speak up about their reproductive health, their relationship with birth control and their bodies.

Why? Because as we here at Four Five Oh grow, we meet so many women who say things like “I just put up with it” or “What if my doctor just tells me it’s normal and I just have to deal with it?”

According to this article from the New York Times ‘Why Are We Still Dismissing Girls’ Pain?’ , ‘doctors are significantly more likely to dismiss the pain symptoms of young female patients than those of male ones.’ And based on the conversations we have with women around the world, there are few women who are happy speaking up about their pain, their discomfort and their unease with their bodies or their health.

Take the example of endometriosis, which affects up to one in ten women. Early diagnosis can change a woman’s relationship to her body. There are hundreds of fantastic Instagram accounts out there that document women’s management of the condition – that provide support networks to women who know that the reason for their heavy periods is this common condition called endometriosis. If you just ‘put up with’ the symptoms, without speaking up, you are missing out on diagnosis, support and management of the condition. (Check out this article HERE on Everyday Health to start exploring the Insta-Support Network).

Take the example of just not feeling right on your chosen method of birth control. There are about 15 different methods of birth control out there (and even more brands to choose for per method), meaning that if you’re not happy, don’t feel comfortable on your current method of birth control, it’s likely that there is a better option out there for you.

When should you speak up?

  • Your periods are very heavy or painful

Heavy periods (you might hear them called ‘menorrhagia’) or painful periods can be symptomatic of other conditions.

Heavy periods (you might hear them called ‘menorrhagia’) or painful periods can be symptomatic of other conditions (including endometriosis, which we talk about above). Here’s a handy fact sheet to learn more before discussing with your doctor.

  • You experience pain during or after sex

This can indicate infection, as well as other conditions (including psychological conditions). For example, if you are using an IUD or IUS, it may not be sitting in the right position inside you and you should get that checked out.  Here’s a great resource to learn more about painful sex, before you head to the doctor. 

  • Your birth control doesn’t feel right

Even if you can’t put your finger on what exactly just doesn’t sit right with your birth control, you should absolutely seek medical advice. Women are affected differently by different methods of birth control, and side effects of hormonal birth control range from hair loss and skin problems to heart palpitations and loss of libido. There are hundreds of potential side effects – and even if it turns out what you’re experiencing is not caused by your hormonal birth control, it’s important to speak up to a medical professional to get to the bottom of the cause.  You can explore what alternatives might suit you better, right here by clicking on Explore your options.

  • You are noticing changes in your body, your periods or your moods

As we mentioned, this might not be caused in particular by your chosen method of birth control, but such body changes can indicate other health issues and speaking up is the first step to getting to the cause, and therefore, the cure.

  • If you want more information from your doctor or disagree with what your doctor is telling you

Yes, doctors are trained medical professionals, but it is so important that if you’re not feeling comfortable with what they are telling you, you want more information on medical results, or you want to seek a second opinion, that you speak up. Only you have to live with your body and your health – doctors, as fantastic as they are, also miss things, also have bad days – they’re human. So if you want more from them – ask. And don’t stop asking until you get it.

So, in case you hadn’t realised yet – we here at Four Five Oh want you to speak up more!