There are lots of things that are unfair about being a woman. We are consistently paid less, our parenting decisions are judged more harshly, and we are tasked with the unenviable biological work of pregnancy and birth. Often overlooked among these indignities is the physical pain that each of us endures on a monthly basis. I am talking, of course, about our periods.
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Women are often accused of being overly dramatic about menstrual discomfort, and everything else. However, recent research confirms that the level of pain most women experience during their period is actually comparable to what a man endures when he has a heart attack. Yes, an actual heart attack. This could be why women are less likely to recognize heart attack symptoms, and more likely to die as a result. To us, that level of “discomfort” is old news.
Not that any of that matters, because the doctor probably wouldn’t take our “discomfort” seriously anyway. Underlying this new research is a more insidious problem regarding women and pain. Women’s physical pain is regularly underestimated by medical professionals, and not taken seriously to the point that it has become a major health risk. Although women are often viewed as being more sensitive to pain due to misogynistic stereotypes, when it comes to actual doctor’s visits it would seem that chivalry is dead. While men wait an average of 49 minutes to be treated for acute abdominal pain, women are expected to wait an average of 65 minutes for the same exact thing.
The next time your wife asks you to hurry home with a box of tampons, a heating pad, and some painkillers, don’t roll your eyes. Bow down to the courageous and strong warrior goddess that you have married. Get her some ice cream and chick flicks, too, and watch the kids while she soaks in a hot bubble bath. She’d do the same for you if you had just endured a heart attack, no?