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Menstrual leave for pain: Why do some women suffer more pain during menses? Doctor’s tips to reduce

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There is good cheer all around, welcoming the news that Spain is planning to introduce medical leave for women who suffer from severe period pain, media reports suggest.

A draft bill says women could have three days of paid leave a month – extended to five in some circumstances – under a doctor’s prescription.
Philippa Lysaght – UNICEF advocacy official – writes that menstruation is a healthy and normal part of most women’s lives. “On average, we spend 3,000 days in our lifetime menstruating. Roughly half the female population (that’s around 26 percent of the total population) are of a reproductive age and the majority spend between 2 – 7 days menstruating each month.”

Menstrual hygiene matters – not just to the women and girls who are menstruating, but to the whole of society. Here’s how:

Menstruation is not a women-only topic:

Menstruation matters to education and jobs. When girls and women are allowed to manage their menstruation with pride and dignity and contribute to better education, office environment, etc. it enhances gender equality and better health outcomes.

The unhealthy misconceptions and taboos regarding menstruation must be wiped out for the good of human society. Even men should be encouraged to hold a dialogue on this.

Menstrual issues, such as period pain or heavy menstrual bleeding, affect a large percentage of women under 25 across the world, affecting young women’s attendance rates and concentration at school and in higher education.

BBC.com reports that the draft that Spain is working upon proposes “Three-day sick leave for painful periods – allowed with a doctor’s note” carries the potential of being granted an extension to five on a temporary basis for particularly intense or incapacitating pain. But it is not expected to apply to those who suffer mild discomfort.

That makes one wonder why some women suffer excessive pain during menstrual periods. How does one decide if the menstrual cramps or pain is severe or moderate or light?

Times Now Health consulted Dr. Swati Chitnis, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Shalby Multispecialty Hospitals, Ahmedabad.

Dr. Swati Chitnis, Ob & Gyn, Shalby Hospital – Ahmedabad.

“Usually, menstrual cramps are not measured. Any pain that causes disruption of day-to-day activities or forces the woman to remain absent from school/work is considered to be severe,” Dr. Swati Chitnis said.

We also requested that Dr. Swati Chitnis share with us tips that would help women cope better.

“There are a number of ways to reduce menstrual pain,” Dr. Swati Chitnis said.

Tips to cope with and reduce period pain:

Regular exercise is an excellent way to reduce pain. Pain-blocking chemicals are produced by aerobic exercises like walking and jogging.
Using a hot compression can help as well.

Acupuncture, acupressure, and nerve stimulation therapies may help relieve period pain.
Physical therapy to relieve trigger points may also help.
Getting enough sleep before and during your period is important. Being well-rested can help you cope with discomfort.
Restricting excess salt intake is also helpful in the long run.
Apart from these self-discipline methods, there are also interventions that a doctor can do if deemed necessary.

“If a laparoscopy reveals Endometriosis, Fibroids, or Adenomyosis as the source of your period pain, your ob-gyn may suggest a birth control method such as the pill, implant, or injection. Sometimes surgery to remove the lesion is advised if medical therapy fails,” Dr. Swati Chitnis said.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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