Can Period Pain Be As Severe As A Heart Attack?

The time of the month has always been an uncomfortable time for women. Women suffer from period pain, bloating, sore breasts and low moods every month.  Periods have been causing women bother since they first set foot on the planet.  They have been subject to religious attitude, superstition and public opinion. 

Historical records refer to bleeding but rarely pain.  The Romans and Greeks may have used rudimentary sanitary towels and tampons. Periods have been the subject of fear and repulsion due to their bloody nature. Hysteria was the collective name of PMT symptoms.  Hippocrates thought the womb moved around the body.

We understand periods more and women are not considered to be impure anymore.  Television adverts encourage women to enjoy the time of the month.  Sanitary towel adverts have roller skating women wearing tight white jeans enjoying themselves.

Period Pain

Period pain is one of the most underestimated pains encountered by women.  Over the counter, painkillers are enough for some women while not enough for others.  Recent reports suggest that some period pain is as painful as a heart attack.  There haven’t been many studies into period pain because it is not considered serious enough. Menstruation is still shrouded in mystery and referred to as, ‘women's troubles’.  

During a period the progesterone level drops causing the womb lining to shed.  Period pain is the womb contracting to expel the bloody lining.  The contractions vary in strength and can feel like childbirth or as bad as a heart attack.  

Endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease make the pain worse.  Endometriosis occurs when uterine cells grow outside the womb.  They attach themselves to internal organs and are painful when the womb lining sheds.  A pelvic inflammatory disease is a result of an infection and scars the fallopian tubes.  The scars make periods more painful.  

Pain can mask serious conditions such as uterine cancer.  Diagnosis often occurs after many visits to the doctor.  Most of the time period pain is tolerable and other times it is excruciating.

What To Do If You Have Painful Periods

Pain during periods is normal and most women continue to function with it.  Lifestyle changes such as; reducing fat, exercising, more, taking magnesium and using a hot water bottle relieve pain.  Over the counter painkillers usually, relieve ordinary period pain.

If you find your period pain debilitating and it is ruining everyday life you should visit your doctor.  You may be prescribed a non-steroid anti-inflammatory such as Mefenamic acid to reduce the pain.  

Your doctor will investigate abnormal period pain. Your doctor will suggest treatments according to your diagnosis.

In the 19th century, doctors thought that menstruation was due to women being hysterical and over emotional.  Attitudes haven’t really changed much and until they do period pain will continue to be just a ‘woman thing’.

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