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period pain

Anyone who has ever suffered through intense menstrual pain can tell you that it’s not anything to be taken lightly — and yet, we hear continuous stories of women being told that their cramps are not actually that bad or, worse, in their heads. Some can fear that dismissal, of being told, that its an overreaction.   

And yet again period cramps, or Dysmenorrhea as it's technically called, has been ruled as painful as having a heart attack. Professor of reproductive health at University College London, John Guillebaud, has said that patients have described the cramping pain as "almost as bad as having a heart attack." 

Guillebaud went on to say the issue has been overlooked because “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.”

This, of course, is no news to us, but it is another indication of how little women's health is taken seriously. We know how bad it can be – yet it's only with reports like this, for example, that, it becomes a topic of mainstream conversation.  In fact, this was bumped into the press again after Marie Claire made the report known – a similar report surfaced in 2016. 

What is brilliant though, is the hilarious reaction on Twitter, from women, collectively rolling their eyes – and though it isn't new news (or news at all, to us), it's good to have women's health issues again out in the open.

Here are only a few highlights from social media:

According to statistics, one in five suffers from Dysmenorrhea, the clinical term for painful periods, which has no definitive medical origin. One in ten also suffers from Endometriosis, a condition without known cause that causes severe period pain and occurs in women where the lining of the womb decides to venture into the pelvic area, ovaries and other places in the body.


Let's face it, periods are pretty awful at any time of the year – but why, oh why do they seem to get so much worse in the winter time?

It's not enough that we're one missed bus away from developing frost bite – oh no, we've now got to deal with a whole new level of cramping and bloating as well.


Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Dr Preethi Daniel, Clinical Director from London Doctors Clinic explained the science behind the annual phenomenon.

“As the days are shorter and darker, your mood can be adversely affected and add to that the monthly roller-coaster of hormones that arrive with your period and it can all seem even bleaker,” she said.

Our tendency to stay indoors and eat everything in sight isn't exactly helping thing either.

“Sunshine helps us make vitamin D and dopamine, both of which boost mood, pleasure, motivation and concentration,” she continued.

“Furthermore, winter means we spend more time indoors and we move less and eat more. This can have a bad effect on premenstrual symptoms as it has been found that women who are more active had much more regular and manageable cycles than those that hardly worked out.”

And that's not even the half of it.

Research has shown that women tend to have shorter menstrual cycle's in the winter, meaning you'll get, you guessed it – more periods.


While slight seasonal changes are normal, Dr Preethi did point out that persistent changes should be examined by a doctor.

“If symptoms of low mood are so bad you cannot motivate yourself to go to work or enjoy the things you usually do, you should consider whether this is seasonal affective disorder or depression,” she explains.

“It is worth speaking to your GP about this. Certainly, if you are not getting any periods at all during the winter months, again this can be abnormal and needs looking into. Heavier periods can cause low iron and anaemia and this should also be investigated by your GP.”

Roll on summer!



Italy could soon become the first European country to offer paid menstrual leave to all female workers.

The government are currently debating a new bill which, if implemented, would offer women who suffer from painful periods three day of paid leave every month.

Marie Claire have hailed the move as “a standard-bearer of progress and social sustainability”, but some critics of the bill have suggested that it may actually work against, rather than for women.

With one of the lowest rates of female employment in the European Union (61 per cent), there are fears that this number could drop even further as the move may discourage companies from hiring female workers in the first place.

As it stands, Italian women already struggle to compete in the Italian job market, partially due to the country's generous maternity laws.

Five months of paid maternity leave are compulsory for both employers and employees. During this time, a female employee receives 80 per cent of her salary, paid by INPS (National Institute of Social Security).

While this seems like a progressive move on paper, it is thought to have effected the rates of female employment due to employers' reluctance to comply with the laws.

A draft of the proposed menstrual leave law was put forward earlier this year by four female MPs and could come into effect some time in the next few months.

Speaking to the Washington Post, economist Daniela Piazzalunga said, "Women are already taking days off because of menstrual pains, but the new law would allow them to do so without using sick leaves or other permits."

"The demand for female employees among companies might decrease, or women could be further penalised both in terms of salary and career advancement."

Similar laws already exist in parts of China, Japan and South Korea and come private companies, such as Nike, have also offered menstrual leave to their female employees.

No news yet on whether a similar law could be put in place in Ireland, but you won't see us complaining if it ever does. 



While we don't tend to discuss every aspect of our menstrual cycle with each on a monthly basis, as women we reserve the right to remark on this natural bodily function should we so choose.

However, it looks like the powers that be at Facebook aren't as keen on cramp chat and discomfort discussion as Melody Pool quickly realised this week.

Melody, a leading folk singer from Melbourne, was banned from Facebook for 24 hours after she posted a status referring to period pain and the unholy hell caused by it.

After removing Melody's post on the grounds they considered it 'inappropriate', the singer took to Twitter to vent her frustration at the global corporation.

"Thanks for deleting my post about period pain and not allowing me to post for 24hrs Facebook," she vented at the weekend.

'I am so furious that I got suspended for 24 hours from Facebook for being a woman with a menstrual cycle," she continued. 

Insistent that their reasons for removing the post were illogical at best, Melody continued: "I'm dumbfounded that a normal bodily function is "inappropriate"?! Are you kidding me Facebook? I can't even message anyone."

Melody, unsurprisingly, wasn't alone in her anger, and followers of the singer were quick to add their voice to the discussion, with one writing: "Unbelievable! And on the other side not suspending people who are harassing others or writing racist comments!"

Talk about alienating half their users…


We all have experienced uncomfortable cramps when it comes to that time of the month, but for others it can be more than a little uncomfortable. Endometriosis can cause unbearable period pains and is actually more common than we realise.

If you are suffering from any of these four symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

Painkiller overload
If you are reaching your maximum daily painkiller intake but still can’t get relief from the pain there might be something a little more sinister going on.

Symptoms happen days or weeks before you get your period
It is not normal for cramping, diarrhoea or any other period pain to happen weeks before your time of the month.

You cancel things
Don’t just accept if you are cancelling nights out, calling in sick or being forced to stay in bed all day because of the pain, get it sorted and checked.

Going to the toilet hurts
If you notice that going to the toilet hurts a lot more during your period give your doctor a call.

There is no point enduring the pain when there might be another reason for it. Get it sorted, girl.