It has been shown that most women suffer period pain so great it affects their work life.
A recent survey has shown that women in the UK have experience period pain strong enough to limit their productivity. A YouGov survey of 1,000 women for BBC Radio 5 live’s Emma Barnett programme found 52% had experienced this. But only 27% had told their boss period pain was responsible. Is this due to the ignorance of bosses?
Nine out of the 10 women reported suffering bad period pain at least once in their lives. Of the 52%, nearly a third had taken at least a day’s sick leave as a result. And one doctor has suggested employers should offer “menstrual leave”.
Most women experience pain as part of their menstrual monthly cycle. It is usually experienced as abdominal cramps, which can spread to the back and thighs. Period pain can be felt as a dull ache or painful spasms. Women can also experience nausea, diarrhoea and headaches. The scientific term for period pain is dysmenorrhoea. Levels of the hormone prostaglandin, produced by cells in the lining of the womb, cause it to contract. The higher the level of pain, the more often the womb is contracting.
Is menstrual leave an option?
Dr Gedis Grudzinskas is a London-based consultant gynaecologist. He said women should be more open about period pain – and employers more understanding:
“Menstruation is normal, but some women suffer terribly and they suffer in silence.
“I don’t think women should be shy about it, and companies should be accommodating with leave for women who are struggling with painful periods.”
Some women have reported having to leave full time work due to the period pain. Others report that, after having children, they requested a hysterectomy just to put a stop to the pain every month. It is felt by some that bosses wouldn’t understand how severe the pain can be unless they had experienced it themselves. This creates a reluctance to be open and honest with their employers. This also leads to them suffering in silence.
Dr Grudzinskas goes on to say that women in Japan are offered “menstrual leave” from work when they experience excruciating period pain:
“Menstrual leave would make people feel more happy and comfortable in the workplace, which is a positive thing,”
“There is also a lack of awareness about when painful periods mean that something is going wrong, like endometriosis.
“People forget that women make up half the workforce.
“If they feel supported, it will be a happy and productive workforce.”
So what do you think? Do you agree or are you affected by painful periods?