What to Say When Non-Endo Friends Complain About Their Periods
Last updated: September 2018
None of my close friends have endometriosis, so it’s hard for me not to roll my eyes when they complain about their one or two days of period cramps. I used to play the comparison game. I would tell them how my cramps lasted for months or weeks, not days. I was sure sharing my horror stories would make them feel like they had it easy.
Then I realized my advice was garbage. Saying my pain was worse didn't ease their symptoms. I was basically telling them to suck it up and quit complaining. It was the dismissive attitude I hated getting from others. Now, instead of scrutinizing their symptoms, I use my experience to comfort my fellow period-pain sufferers. Here are a few ways you can try to help.
You might get the urge to one-up your period pals by talking about how bad endometriosis makes things all the time, not just once a month. Avoid this instinct. Talking about your own torment isn’t going to make you feel any better. And it might make your friend feel worse for bringing their issues up.
Instead, validate their pain and agree on just how much of a bummer cramps are.
Offer pain-relieving tips
People with endo have usually tried just about everything to relieve their pain. Everyone is different, but I tell my friends what has helped me. Personally, taking ibuprofen (as directed) a couple of days before my worst period cramps start and settling with a heating pad takes the edge off. Meditation also brings relief.
While I don't offer medical advice, I do encourage my friends to discuss different medication options or treatments with their doctors.
Suggest a spa day
When my friends let on that they feel guilty for wanting to pop on their jammies and not leave the house, I’m there to encourage them to take it easy. I’m always up for lounging in comfortable clothes and staying in, not just on my period. I tell them to go ahead and get that massage, pedicure, or extra scoop of ice cream.
Our cycles aren’t a competition
If you have endometriosis, chances are you probably do have more pain with your periods than your endo-free friends. But menstrual cycles aren't a competition, so try to use what you've learned to help others cope. Periods can be a drag, and everyone deserves to feel better.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):