Period pain can be “almost as bad as a heart attack.” Why aren’t we researching how to treat it?.
Women’s health, and in turn, women’s pain in regards to their health, has been historically swept beneath the rug and misunderstood. Being told to suck it up and pop an Advil while suffering from cramps and other symptoms of your period is a frustration well-known to the female-bodied.
A recent piece in Quartz brings to light many issues with women’s health. The author, Olivia Goldhill, detailed her own experience with severe period pain, which she likened to that of a slipped disc, as well as her struggle with doctors who were quick to misdiagnose her pain, or prescribe birth control pills and other general methods of addressing the issue without truly understanding it.
A (male) doctor shared a major revelation with Goldhill that has women worldwide nodding their heads collectively: unsurprised, yet finally feeling more understood.
John Guillebaud, a professor of reproductive health at University College London, told Quartz that patients have described the cramping pain experienced as a result of menstruation as “almost as bad as having a heart attack.”
Yes, you read that correctly.
While some may be shocked by the idea that the levels of pain many women experience due to dysmenorrhea (the fancy medical term for painful periods) reach these heights, uterus-havers worldwide couldn’t even act surprised, since this isn’t news to any of us. There is often a lack of understanding and research where women’s health is concerned. Guillebaud cited the “culture of silence” around periods, telling Quartz, “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.”