Sure, the topic of women and their periods makes people uncomfortable but the conversation shouldn’t be avoided. The social stigma associated with women experiencing menstrual pain on a monthly basis is dangerous.
The level of excruciating pain as a result of dysmenorrhea, the clinical term for painful menstruation, is often ignored, according to John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London.
One in five women experience the agony of dysmenorrhea, and patients who consult physicians are typically dismissed and told that ibuprofen should take care of the pain.
Guillebaud told Quartz he’s been informed by a number of patients that the pains they experience is “almost as bad as having a heart attack.”
Suddenly that ibuprofen in your cupboard is looking useless.
Girls and Women truly have it so much worse then boys and men. We deal with this from as early as nine or ten. When we’re still kids we have to deal with this. A lot more respect about woman having and dealing with pain at work is so important.
— Uni ! (@bIondeunicorn) February 28, 2018
Olivia Goldhill, a weekend writer for Quartz, shared her own personal experience with dysmenorrhea. She equated her menstrual pains being similar to that of a slipped disc.
She would know what that feels like.
I speak from experience, having had two slipped discs in my life, and doctors were so convinced I had a third that I was referred for an MRI. Every month I spent hours lying on the floor, unable to move, and literally crying out in agony.
When Goldhill told her physician that the pain seemed to be triggered monthly by her period, the specialist ignored her comment. After an MRI scan revealed all the discs were in place, the specialist said that she was probably suffering from nerve inflammation.
ignoring women's pain has been a concerning medical practise for, well, forever, with research showing that doctors generally take it less seriously then men's https://t.co/ags7q8r8uZ yeah definitely coulda told you this one
— Tracy Chou (@triketora) February 28, 2018
The second most painful type of cramps is endometriosis and it affects one in ten ovulating women.
The symptoms, including fatigue and painful cramps, are a result of tissues developing outside of the uterus instead of on the inside. The displaced endometrial tissues break down with each menstrual cycle as they normally would, but without a way to exit the body.
It takes an average of seven and half years for a woman to be correctly diagnosed for endometriosis, according to The Independent .
Every woman in my family has passed out at least once from the pain of cramps; my grandma had a heart attack and didn't notice until later. But yeah, it's probably the vapors.
"Doctors Have Finally Ruled Menstrual Cramps Are as Painful as Heart Attacks" https://t.co/HvR6PcY8S4
— Sara Nović (@NovicSara) February 28, 2018
Dr. Annalise Weckesser said that inadequate treatment options follow diagnosis.
We heard from these women that it is so hard to get a diagnosis, but even when you get one your battle is not done. It’s about trying a merry-go-round of different treatments.
These women have a desperation and willingness to try anything to see if it would work despite each available treatment having a host of side effects.
The limitation of options isn’t helped by the culture of silence around menstrual cramps. Guillebaud said:
Men don’t get it and it hasn’t been given the centrality it should have. I do believe it’s something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine.
Women shared their own comparisons with the symptomatic pains.
If men had periods, 'menstrual leave' would probably be a thing.
RT this tweet if you've ever had to take a day off work because you were suffering from agonising period pain. pic.twitter.com/TVJg3MGSY3
— TONI TONE (@t0nit0ne) February 21, 2018
It be feeling like my uterus is about to fall out the way I be hurting🙄
— 💋♥️ (@JaNayNoAiko) February 28, 2018
Menstrual pain is like your body is rejecting you. Like I’m being biologically trolled.
— 🆃🆁🆄🅳🆈 (@thetrudz) February 28, 2018
Here’s a little perspective.
If menstrual cramps are as painful as a heart attack – and most doctors don't take menstrual pain seriously – why would anyone expect doctors to take women presenting with signs of a heart attack seriously either? Oh https://t.co/HPa0ufWi4p
— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) February 28, 2018
It’s time for a real discussion.
I set this account up as multiple adult men I know have wild misconceptions about periods, and because many women suffer completely abnormal pain believing it to be normal.
Let's be more open about periods.
— Menstrual Mayhem (@MenstrualMayhem) February 25, 2018
Amen to that!!
I wish there was more research into menstruation. "Here, take these pills" is NOT solution to our problems!
— Emma (@Ms_Mjaye) February 27, 2018