Doctors Acknowledge That Menstrual Cramps Can Be Almost As Painful As Heart Attacks: What Now?


Doctors state that the menstrual cramps women have to go through every month can be almost as painful as a heart attack. The find isn't surprising for women, so is it finally time to find a treatment for it as a condition instead of as just another aspect of the menstrual cycle?

'Almost As Bad As Having A Heart Attack'

Menstrual cramps are painful, and there's no denying that it is not the most pleasant of experiences, especially with the knowledge that it will come again in just a few short weeks. Every female in the world experiences menstrual cramps differently, with some barely having it while others experience it as a crippling monthly visitor. In fact, the pain is serious enough for some women to have to skip school or work.

However, more often than not, menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea is seen as just one part of the menstrual cycle that women have to go through every month. Sadly, it is not often taken as seriously, as it should and may even be seen as mere aches and period pains that result in grumpiness.

Now, doctors have spoken out about how painful menstrual cramps can be, so much so that Professor John Guillebaud of University College London likened menstrual cramp pain to that of a heart attack. That's quite a severe description of pain that can be described as simply an annoying part of the menstrual cycle.

Of course, the find isn't quite as surprising for women who experience the pain every month, but the question now is whether the current treatments are adequate for such serious pain.

Is It Time To Find Proper Treatment?

Northshore University director of gynecological pain Frank Tu MD, MPH, who has been studying female pelvic pain conditions for years, stated that more often than not, doctors are taught that a simple painkiller of ibuprofen should be good enough to treat the pain. True enough, the most common suggested treatments or remedies for dysmenorrhea are pain relievers, warm compress, rest, avoidance of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and salt, and massaging the abdomen or lower back.

That's not saying that those remedies do not work, as they do for many women, but with doctors finally stating how serious the pain can be, could it be about time to take severe dysmenorrhea a little more seriously? The pain is especially true for the 10 percent of women who have endometriosis but are not diagnosed for years because of its symptoms' similarity to dysmenorrhea. In fact, some researchers would like to test treatment options for severe menstrual cramps but fail to get the funding that they require.

"I think it happens with both genders of doctor. On the one hand, men don't suffer the pain and underestimate how much it is or can be in some women. But I think 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,'" said Guillebaud on the possible reasons why dysmenorrhea has been essentially neglected as a condition.

According to Richard Legro, MD, of Penn State College of Medicine, whose application to research on sildenafil as a potential treatment has been rejected multiple times, in order to see dysmenorrhea as a legitimate public health issue, perhaps both men and women should be more vocal about seeing it as such.

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