Why is Period Pain Ignored?

Holy Hormones Journal: Laura Beil has written an excellent commentary about the monthly period pain more and more women are experiencing – and the lack of treatment since the mid-1980’s when people were no longer interested. Perhaps there was a great push for going on birth control at that time – up until now… Perhaps, this even goes back to biblical times when women were supposed to “suffer?” Or perhaps, the lack of interest is because of the prevailing medical attitude that our discomfort is “all in our head,” and we are handed a prescription for a psychotropic drug and released.

Are drugs and treatments the answer? That is each woman’s choice and everyone experiences period pain at different levels and at different times in our lives. There is very little research on endocrine health PERIOD. And what is known is not shared with women – because it is too “complicated.” Much easier to write a prescription and move on….. until next month that is.

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Thing I am being too snarky? I also come across this article from a Boston NPR station from this past January with a warning from the CDC: “Risks Loom As Many Women Of Child-Bearing Age Are Prescribed Painkillers,” citing that:

During 2008–2012, more than one fourth of privately insured and more than one third of Medicaid enrolled reproductive-aged women (15–44 years) filled a prescription for an opioid from an outpatient pharmacy each year. Prescription rates were consistently higher among Medicaid-enrolled compared with privately insured women.

The report which appeared in Morbidity and Mortality went on to say:

“The development of birth defects often results from exposures during the first few weeks of pregnancy, which is a critical period for organ formation. Given that many pregnancies are not recognized until well after the first few weeks and half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, all women who might become pregnant are at risk.”

Not only is there risk to the developing fetus – but there are risks of becoming addicted. All of this adds to nutrient depletion and hormone imbalance. Not only that, women are being encouraged to go on birth control right after delivery – and they are being put on Prozac and Zanax to offset postpartum depression – now known as maternal psychosis and maternal mental illness.

So what gives about no treatment for period pain? Perhaps keeping women uneducated about their bodies is a cash cow for the pharmaceutical companies. Perhaps keeping women suppressed – at all costs is what will keep the patriarchy in power. Let’s face it, in Seattle over 1,000 girls as young as 13 were lawfully put on LARCs – long-acting reversible contraceptives – without their parent’s consent. What are the long-term outcomes of that?

And now, because women’s libido is so non-existent the FDA approved an anti-depressant as the first female sex enhancement medication. Say what? When is an anti-depressant anything but an antidepressant? Yet another drug packaged in a pretty box and sold to unsuspecting consumers.

In my humble, outspoken opinion – women need to say no to the medicalization of menarche, menstruation, pregnancy, motherhood, and menopause. We need to take our bodies back. PERIOD.

Here is one thing you can do – sign this Change.org Petition – Tell Procter and Gamble to Make Safer Tampons and Pads For All Women and #DETOXTHEBOX because chances are the dirty toxins in san pads and tampons are the culprit behind period pain. Do you know what you are putting in your vagina? Or are you just buying another pretty package that is dangerous to your health?

Does Your Period Have to Be This Bad?

Treatment for period pain hasn’t advanced in 30 years. What gives?

by Laura Beil
October 13, 2015

The roses were a gift from a grateful patient to Dr. Béla Schick in the summer of 1919. When the flowers arrived, the doctor asked his maid to place them in water. She hesitated but took them at his insistence. The next day, the blooms had wilted. The servant admitted she should not have handled them because she was menstruating, and during those days of the month, her touch could be lethal.

Intrigued, Dr. Schick — a renowned physician in Vienna — began investigating the mysterious killer poison. In 1920, he published the results of an experiment in which he asked women to hold blossoms at different times of the month. “The skin of menstruating women did in fact excrete substances that hasten the death of flowers,” he reported solemnly. Public and medical lore at the time contended that the touch of a menstruating woman could not only wither plants but could turn wine sour and keep dough from rising.

This imaginary threat was even given a name — menotoxin — and doctors debated its existence as recently as the 1970s. In 1977, a group of researchers writing in The Lancet wondered if the elusive menotoxin was in fact related to prostaglandins, hormone-like chemical messengers produced by the body that may be elevated during a woman’s period. They were on to something, but not in the way they thought. Studies throughout the late ’70s and ’80s determined that prostaglandins could trigger uterine contractions and menstrual pain. More significantly, research determined that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, blocked prostaglandins and offered relief.

About three-quarters of all women are thought to experience some kind of menstrual pain. Among young women, it is the leading single cause of lost time from school or work. “If you compare women and men in terms of their ability to influence society, how much unrealized potential is lost from women because they have to deal with insufficiently treated pain?” asks ob-gyn Frank Tu, M.D., of NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago.

Early treatment could be vital. Recent studies have found potential links between the severity of menstrual cramps in younger life and the risk of developing chronic pain in later years. Severe cramps make cells in the central nervous system more sensitive, says Pamela Stratton, M.D., who studies endometriosis, a condition that can lead to painful periods, at the National Institutes of Health. “We’ve found that women with endometriosis are more sensitive to pain and stay more sensitive,” she says.

Yet it’s typical for a woman to go five to eight years without an endometriosis diagnosis, Dr. Stratton says, and by then, treatment may not be as effective. “They accept the pain as part of their periods,” she says. “Women are sometimes told by their doctors that it is all in their head or it is normal.” As many as 30 percent of gynecological patients overall are suffering severe, recurring period pain, according to a study released in August. And when symptoms are treated, the standard advice has changed little in three decades. It is one of the most significant health problems for which there is almost no public discussion and little research.

NSAIDs — which include OTC drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin as well as prescription meds like Celebrex — were a breakthrough treatment. After that, much of medical science took a victory lap and declared the problem conquered. If you search for research focused on menstrual pain, as Dr. Tu recently did, “it seemed to just get quiet around the mid to late ’80s,” he says. “People were no longer interested.” That means we haven’t had a significant advance since Duran Duran released “Notorious.”

Read full article…


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.

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