An article in which a male doctor called period pain “almost as bad as having a heart attack” is going viral on social media and raising an important question from women around the world:
Why didn’t you listen to us before?
Take Action: #ItsBloodyTime to End the Taboo Around Menstruation
In the original article, published by Quartz two years ago, University College London reproductive health professor John Guillebaud said cramping pain is as “almost as bad as having a heart attack.
When the article resurfaced on social media, women responded with a mixture of anger that it took a man’s statement to legitimize their concerns and relief that their symptoms might be taken more seriously.
The article also prompted a column in Marie Claire, which acknowledged the doctor for accurately depicting dysmenorrhea — the clinical term for menstrual cramps — but decried the need for a man to validate and confirm women’s experiences.
“Although we know that [period pain] can feel like you're being repeatedly punched in the stomach from the inside out, explaining this to other people (read: generally men) can feel like a lost cause,” wrote columnist George Driver. “Ignoring women's pain has been a concerning medical practice for, well, forever, with research showing that doctors generally take it less seriously than men's.”
Around the world, at least 20% of women and girls experience dysmenorrhea painful enough to disrupt their daily life and as many as 176 million women experience endometriosis, a painful affliction where tissue typically found in the uterus grows on other female reproductive organs and peels.
But, the Independent reports, there has been little research related to period pain, which means doctors often ignore or discount women’s complaints.
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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— Nguni looking mixed raced speaking (@pixiestateomind) February 27, 2018
I knew I wasn’t being over dramatic https://t.co/b2SkJwjWXG— ESOSA. (@NigerianBabeee) February 27, 2018
Women on social media have compared their period pain to childbirth or like a “blender is slowly ripping my insides to pieces.”
For me period pains feels like a blender is slowly ripping my insides to pieces.— A Girl Has No Name #FBPE (@Jenni__Mari) February 28, 2018
Pain radiates up my spine & Ive passed out from the pain before. #Ouch
⚡️ “Women are sharing the reality of period cramps after an article likened it to a heart attack”https://t.co/ORGmGhxDpg
When I was in labor with my first child, I didn't know I was in labor because the pain wasn't as bad as my monthly cramps!!— she persisted 🦋 (@kdkneisley) February 28, 2018
But it seems that, finally, men are starting to listen.
It's about time that the people who don't get period cramps realise we are not just being dramatic. We get on with it and continue our day to day lives. Imagine the amount of pain of a heart attack for 1 full week of every month, just to tell someone they aren't pregnant? https://t.co/8oT5hgoP8b— Chels ♡ (@Just_Chelsea_) February 28, 2018