A recently published article linked menstrual cramps to the pain experienced during a heart attack. Though there is no research to back it, yet, a Professor of reproductive health at University College London said that patients have described the menstrual cramping as “almost as bad as having a heart attack.”
It’s ironic that women have to prove how intense their cramps are, in order to be not called dainty, or having a low pain threshold. But hey! Now we have a male doctor saying it out loud. Who knows, maybe people will start taking it seriously.
Women Share Cramp stories on Twitter
The article prompted many women to share stories of debilitating menstrual cramps.
We've beeeeeen saying ☹️😔😣— Ottilia Anna MaSibanda (@MaS1banda) February 27, 2018
I was once sedated because the pain was so excruciating, the only way I couldn't "feel" it was if I was sedated. https://t.co/lPQrfpHDcg
Often passed out & vomited from them. Once passed out at work & was taken by ambulance to ER... company protocol to go via ambulance after loss of consciousness. Embarrassing next day explaining my dramatic scene to curious co workers who witnessed at a large corporate campus. ?— J Not (@VelcroVizsla) February 28, 2018
If men had periods, 'menstrual leave' would probably be a thing.— Toni (@t0nit0ne) February 21, 2018
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
Some women also pointed how it took a doctor to affirm that menstrual cramps are indeed painful.
patients were the ones who likened their menstrual cramps to a heart attack but also shitty that a woman's word isnt truly enough nje nje when describing the kind of pain she is in when experiencing cramps https://t.co/tBTC1xjMuE— IG: palesamua (@pixiestateomind) February 27, 2018
Thank you. Why is women's testimony only valid once science corroborates it?— Ashley Ashbee (@cartooninperson) February 28, 2018
"In fact, ignoring women's pain has been a concerning medical practise for, well, forever" https://t.co/Lh8Gr4eBfr— susan ev ??? (@susan__ev) February 28, 2018
Dysmenorrhea varies in intensity in every woman
Just like bleeding, the intensity of pain experienced during periods also varies among women.
The pain ranges from mild discomfort to severe pain. The location and intensity of the pain is also varied. For some, dysmenorrhea is restricted to the abdominal area, while others experience cramps in thighs, back or even on the pelvic floor.
While extreme pain during periods might be an indicator of disorders like PCOS, endometriosis and require proper diagnosis and treatment, the common criticism that women exaggerate period pain needs to be put to rest.
Many girls and women have to miss school or work because of dysmenorrhea. Yet doctors, men and even some women fail to acknowledge their suffering.
The general idea that women have a low pain threshold, hence they cannot be taken seriously when they demand menstrual leave, contributes to the suffering of many women, who have to brave through office hours, despite the extreme discomfort. They are belittled for ‘fussing’ over cramps and menstrual leaves. But period pain is a reality which numerous women face on a monthly basis. And even if it is not life threatening, experiencing it every month is no fun.
So just as we take your word for granted as to how painful a kick in your privates is, please dear men, kindly take our word for it. The only minor difference is that your pain is usually a result of unfortunate while we have no choice and are to bear the pain every month.
Pic by Premier Physician
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own