Menstruation is ‘natural’, but I hate it when people use this as an excuse to negate the fact that it’s also extremely painful. The cramps vary from person to person and they also vary through the days, but they exist. Menstruating people are often told that we are overreacting or it’s probably not “as intense as we make it sound like.” However, a research had concluded that period cramps can be as painful as having a heart attack.
If that’s not enough, here’s another fact: dysmenorrhea or severe menstrual cramps affect 45 to 95% people. It also persists for 2 to 3 days. Then again, people think we’re always cribbing when things are not as bad. For instance, Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani said, “Menstruation is not a handicap and hence there should be no period leave policy.”
So to re-iterate how serious menstruation cramps feel, here’s some context by menstruators.
1. “Like somebody is punching me in every 20 seconds and that I need to pretend like nothing has happened as if it’s a test of my endurance and heaven knows, I’ve endured enough. I can’t function during my periods. My brain, my body, everything.”
– Vasudha Sabharwal
2. “I feel like someone has put several bricks on my abdomen and I can do nothing about it.”
– Aaliyah Jain
3. “It feels like someone is wringing my uterus out like a wet cloth that’s about to be dried.”
– Umang Tyagi
4. “This one time I went to a chemist with a prescription and asked him for a medicine. He questioned me thrice about it, and when I asked why he was skeptical, he said, “Oh, this is a medicine we generally give to people who have just broken a bone”. That is how much pain I am in every month. It breaks my heart that people don’t understand it; but more importantly, that they are not willing to.”
5. “It hurts like someone is constantly drilling a hole in your uterus through your butt!”
– Arshia Taneja
6. “I hate that I have to explain how much it hurts for people to validate the pain. The pain doesn’t only exist in the stomach and the uterus. My back and my legs feel cramped, it’s a task to walk and I’m expected to not be affected by it.”
– Gauri Khurana
7. “There are times when I actually have to visit the doctor because the intensity of the pain is unbearable. And I’m used to feeling it every month already, so you can imagine how major it has to be if it even concerns me at times.“
– Riya Sharma
8. “When I say I feel the pain, there’s no one line that describes all the days. At times it feels like someone is punching me in the uterus. Other times it’s as if someone is peeling off layers of my uterus, or when it’s too much and I stand up it feels like my lower half has been sawed in half and there’s a whole gush of blood.”
9. “Once when it was time for my cycle, I could feel the cramps and I wasn’t sure why. Of course I thought that my periods were going to early. I later found out that there was a stone in my gall bladder. The intensity and type of pain was the same.”
– Karuna Ailawadi
10. “I’ve had my thumb stuck in the car door, and it was extremely painful. Trust me, if you know the pain, the cramps feel very similar to me. So, just imagine that.
People have different experiences with menstruation – the intensity of the cramps also differ. However, to avail period leaves or not should be a choice FOR PEOPLE to make.