Menstrual cramps that affect 1 in 5 individuals, is a reoccurring monthly nightmare for many.
A recent article by Olivia Goldhill at Quartz reveals that the mechanisms behind menstrual cramps are poorly understood and for some unknown reasons, the topic remains under-researched. The director of the gynecological pain at NorthShore University Healthsystem, Frank Tu said that many doctors are taught that ibuprofen should be good enough to combat such pains, while John Guilleaud from the University College London said menstrual cramping can be as bad as having a heart attack.
‘Painful menstruation could be due to cramps which recover in a day or two while another reason could be due to disorder in the woman's reproductive organs.’
Dysmenorrhea, the scientific term for painful periods, has no definitive medical origin, with one of its causes being endometriosis, wherein tissue normally lining the uterus is found on the pelvis, fallopian tubes or ovaries.
Untreated endometriosis can cause infertility. Richard Legro from Penn State College of Medicine said that the "million dollar question" is why some women suffer more from period pain than others.
Guilleaud believes that the dismissive attitude toward menstrual cramps exists in both male and female physicians. He said that on the one hand, men don't suffer the pain and underestimate how much it is or can be in some women and on the other hand, some women doctors can be a bit unsympathetic because either they don't get it themselves or if they do get it they think, "Well I can live with it, so can my patient."