painful periods - mother and daughter in silhouette

Are painful periods in your genes?

No. 1 in the series: Why are you periods hard?

One of the many common myths about difficult, painful periods is the idea that we inherit them genetically.

Many of my clients have told me they always thought their problem period symptoms were normal – even the intense pain (cramps), diarrhoea, low back pain, headaches/migraines, vomiting, nausea – because their mother/sister/aunt had them.

Yet when we worked together to bring their body – especially their pelvis – into balance, their period symptoms quickly reduced or even stopped altogether.

What we DO inherit – or rather, learn – from our close family members are:

1. Socially conditioned beliefs about our periods and our bodies such as

  • periods are painful or uncomfortable
  • periods are shameful/taboo/dirty (Hi patriarchy!)
  • menstruating bodies are wrong/broken/bad/not good enough (Hi again!)


2. Postural habits – the way we stand, sit and move – which we take on by observing and imitating our parent’s habits from infancy and through childhood.

What is pain?

Pain is a protective response created by the brain to get our attention when it thinks we’re in danger. It can pick up signals of danger from inside our bodies (such as tension or restriction in muscles and ligaments, nerve signals etc) or from emotions (stress, cultural beliefs, painful memories, upsetting thoughts) or from the social and physical environment around us (relationships, social settings, unsafe surroundings) .

So if your mother has difficult periods, you learn from her experience the belief that periods come with painful symptoms, and you learn her postural habits that create tension through the pelvis. Your brain interprets these as possible signs of danger and creates a pain response whenever you have your periods – and you’re set you up for having difficult periods just like your mother.

So you can ‘inherit’ bad periods but not via your genes – rather, it’s via your emotional and physical conditioning in early life. 

This is great news, because it means you can change your early conditioning to get back in control of your periods. You can practise thinking different thoughts about your periods – such as, they are one of the vital signs of our overall health, they are part of the powerful process that creates human life, and they are part of our cyclical nature that connects us with the cycles of Nature.

And you can restore your pelvic alignment by balancing your posture with specific techniques that harness your body’s self-correcting intelligence.

The first step to pelvic balance is to stop ‘tucking your tailbone’ under you – whenever you stand, sit, walk or exercise, think about lifting your tailbone – or coccyx – up and out behind you. This allows your pelvis to tilt slightly forward – its natural position – which supports all your pelvic organs to rest naturally forward in your abdomen. This means your uterus (womb) and ovaries can settle into their natural positions with less tension in their support ligaments – which helps them to function optimally.

For some people there are other factors influencing their period symptoms, such as nutrition and movement. But restoring your pelvic balance is an excellent place to start recovering from nightmare periods. If your pelvis is out of balance, other treatments can’t help much – but once it’s realigned, you can work on your nutrition, movement and supplements as needed to address any remaining symptoms. 

If you want to know more about the link between difficult periods and pelvic alignment, take the period quiz and I’ll send you my Period First Aid Kit to help you get started on the solution.