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Women's Silent Suffering- Premenstrual Syndrome and Period Pains

Millions of women around the world suffer in silence every month, while still continuing with their lives as per usual...

Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS is a condition that affects more than 80% of menstruating women. It affects a woman's emotions, physical health and behaviour in the days/weeks before her menstruation cycle, meaning the quality of life during that period of time is decreasing majorly. The level of discomfort and pain felt depends on each individual, unfortunately I am one of the bad cases. One week before my menstruation cycle, I feel down, I have cramps, I am very emotional, I have acne, headaches and I am easily irritable.

After this week, you'd think that the hard time has passed and you can resume your daily life. Wrong. Things are only getting worse for me as I also suffer from heavy period pains. I can hardly move and getting out of bed to go to work is a real struggle, however, I need to do it. This is because officially period pain is not a medical condition severe enough to be a cause to miss work. Try to tell your boss you cannot come to work because you suffer from period pains. You will most likely hear the quickest "OK" ever, only to change the "embarrassing subject". On the back of their mind (as well as of your colleagues) will usually be: "What a lousy excuse to miss work. Every woman has periods, it cannot be that bad." Well I would gladly let any man experience PMS for a day (or a year,or forever) and see how they can continue with their job.

Period pains are of two types: Primary dysmenorrhoea and Secondary dysmenorrhoea.

Primary Dysmenorrhoea usually starts 6 to 12 months of a woman's first period and lasts between a few hours to 3 days.

Secondary Dysmenorrhea is caused by a specific condition such as endometriosis or fibroids. This type of pain can start years after a woman has had her first menstruation. Usually it starts as late as her 30's and 40's. It can appear at any time during the menstrual cycle and the pain doesn't necessarily get better as the period continues, but gets rather worse.

Due to the lack of research on this subject, science doesn't yet have a clear cause for PMS or menstrual pains or an effective treatment. So we're given pregnancy control pills in general or other testing pills, which while it can alienate the pain it can cause many other issues, including cancer. The general answer we get is "we're women, it is normal to suffer during our periods". In fact, I have experienced that males don't really want to hear about periods, it somehow makes them feel uncomfortable. Society doesn't want to hear about it for some reason.

Our menstruation is presented as green or blue liquid in TV adverts, as apparently the reality is just too gross to show(?!).

Your bosses don't want to hear about it and rightly so as they need you to work and stop complaining. Your children don't want to hear about it, schools skin over sexual and period education. Therefore, menstruation is a taboo subject for everyone. So we, women, must suffer quietly while still trying to please everyone and perform at 100% capacity at work.

That sharp pain that almost knocks us down is surely not as important to keep us from our duties. These emotional swings that can cause mental strain are to be ignored. Our pain is outright ignored by everyone so we keep our suffering silent.

Let's stop doing this. Let's admit and talk about our pain and struggle. Let's mention it every time we have the occasion.

Because is nothing to be ashamed about, is nothing to hide. By suffering in silence we do nothing but encouraging this attitude of ignorance and minimise the importance of this bodily function as well as keeping this aura of mystery around female period instead of normalising it.

Let's stop the stigma about menstruation, this very natural monthly process, that has always existed, so we can start talking about the real struggles and conditions associated with it. Hopefully sooner rather than later medicine will start focusing their research on the women's reproductive system more!


Written by Blog writer,

Alexandra Teodor

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