Anyone who has dealt with menstrual cramps knows how excruciating they can be, sometimes even debilitating. In fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, up to 20 percent of women have their lives interrupted by period pain. That's a decent portion of the population, yet menstrual pain is often dismissed as a moderate symptom of the menstrual cycle. Most of us pop an over-the-counter pain pill and work through the cramping.
But now one UK professor is taking a step towards changing that. John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, reported to Quartz that some patients describe menstrual pain as "almost as bad as having a heart attack." Though I have never had a heart attack, this sounds about right.
Guillebaud certainly isn't the only medical professional who's heard similar complaints from women when it comes to their periods, yet there's very little research surrounding causes and treatments for menstrual cramps. Frank Tu, director of gynecological pain at NorthShore University HealthSystem, told the publication that many physicians are taught that ibuprofen is a sufficient for this kind of pain. Sigh.
Dr. Richard Legro of Penn State College of Medicine added that he's currently studying possible treatments, but has had a hard time getting funding for his research. Women deserve to know more about their reproductive health, and hopefully one day soon, we will stop having to convince the medical community of our pain and more sufficient treatments will be developed.
In the meantime, we'll just be over here with our hot water bottle.
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