What do you do when the doctor says “painful periods are very common, it’s nothing to worry about”? Challenging a medical professional can feel intimidating so try to soften your mind in the moment by leaving room for the possibility that the doctor just wants to reassure you. Serious gynaecological conditions like cancers are rare, so the message they may be trying to send is that there’s unlikely to be cause for concern.
As an advocate for yourself (and women everywhere!), you could respond by saying: “I appreciate many women experience painful periods, however, I read on the NHS website that I should speak to my GP if I experience severe pain. My cramps are so bad that I have to stop working several times a day.”
At that point, the doctor might suggest painkillers to help ease your symptoms. If you think you might have an underlying condition and your goal is to be investigated further, you could say: “While I am open to trying stronger painkillers, I am concerned there may be an underlying condition as I am also experiencing x symptom. I am planning to have children in the future and know that certain conditions can present risks if left untreated. Would it be possible to carry out further investigations?”
If you need clarity on treatment options the doctor is suggesting, don’t be afraid to say: “I understand that there are pros and cons to every treatment. Could you help me compare these treatments?"