Teens may not speak up about their pain and how much it affects them for many reasons:
- girls often don’t think their pain is as bad as pain in adults.
- ‘bad periods’ may be ‘normal’ in their family. Girls may be told they are ‘just like ‘grandma, or an aunt or mum’. This plays out as a family expectation of pain, and their pain may be minimised or discounted.
- girls may be too embarrassed to discuss their periods or other pelvic symptoms with their family or health practitioner.
- when they do see a health practitioner, their period pain may be dismissed or discounted.
- girls may be told they are too young to have endometriosis.
- girls may not be financially able to seek professional advice or may not have the confidence to continue seeking help if their pain has not been taken seriously.
- stomach pains may be described as ‘psychosomatic’ and blamed on her emotional state.
- endometriosis requires a laparoscopy for definite diagnosis, so can easily be missed.
- cultural and society stigmas and myths about menstruation are common, with barriers to a young persons ability to access care.