Eve. ran an all women’s poll in September 2017 when I originally wrote this as one long diatribe against our healthcare system. That same year The New York Times covered the topic. While the results from an open internet poll on The Journal.ie showed a much closer call this past May with only 9% saying they did not know they did not even mentioning the cultural implications that were brought up here and elsewhere.  If you visit The Daily Beast  2016, you will find their internal office results which were conflicted. The author ended the piece in favor of both men and women getting more time off in general. This is big news. As much as I want affected women to be able to stay home and all women to not be judged and still be paid…what I want even more is for this pain to be a non-issue. I wish everyone to get the treatments they need for relief.
My female system has healed and this year, it released me into the hands of some good ol’ IB Profen and a hot-water bottle. Since I was one of the women who had to call in sick or use all strength imaginable just to get out the door for over 50% of my cycles for four years, I am taking particular interest in the diatribe I wrote last fall. I have spent the last two weeks disecting it and giving it the time it deserves. It wasn’t that long ago…


Welcome to my health series: Period Blues.  “The Poll” is why my health story and this series on reproductive pain took shape: 

The Poll

In the case of the poll on the menstruation-cycle app Eve. in April 2017: Should we get paid leave for periods? 
61% of women were for it
14% were against it and
25% weren’t sure…
But the verdict is in: Periods give us the blues and some companies are willing to give their employees extra days off to create a happier and healthier work place. 
This is great news for some, and others are upset about the detrimental effects on equality, but when it comes down to it this poll is exists fundamentally because so many women are in so much pain.
There are women who wrote in the comments about their long-endured pain and very heavy flows, blood running down their legs through a tampon and a pad one hour after changing. We need to be trying to find a solution to this problem instead of our healthcare professionals telling us that “some mostly healthy women just have pelvic pain and they have to live with it.”
Some women?
Endometriosis (alone) affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (i.e., usually between the ages of 15 to 49), which are approximately 176 million women in the world. 
It’s world-wide. We have a dysmenhorrea epidemic on our hands.
Imagine this: We’re not suffering so much, our period comes and we have some PMS perhaps, a little headache because, after all, we are bleeding, we make sure we drink a lot of water and eat veggies and up our vitamins and creatinine, we put a pad on because our cycle is pretty light and we go to work.  Think of what we could be capable of if doctors got together and focused on what causes illness and curing them instead of just telling us we’re a mystery they don’t understand and sending us home with a band aid or nothing. Think of what it could be like if women had each other’s backs about things all the time instead of being raised to not trust each other. Think about what could be better if our culture honored women.
Another real issue here is that we don’t have adequate sick days and we’re over worked because we’re a money-driven society rather than a care-driven one. I work in a high-pressure place and get 40 hours of sick time a year. That’s not enough to cover period days where I try to get up and shower and have cramps that send me to the floor with stabbing, searing pain. Can I work like that? No. I will make mistakes and lose my job.
I get a fair amount of vacation, but we’re supposed to use all the sick time and then go unpaid for any other sick time, and use it for doctor’s appointments. That’s one week in the whole year to deal with dentist appointments, doctors visits, take our kids to the doctor, get a cold, and deal with a rotting uterus (that’s right–fibroids actually break down and rot). Many women don’t even get any paid leave and many more work two jobs. We need to help eachother.
We need a solution and arguing about paid-period days is not the right one, but if it gets us closer to the real issues–great.
Is the dollar more important than this major women’s health crisis? Where are the thousands of dollars that one woman can spend in her lifetime to get relief; who is getting rich off the uterus?
Really, I want to know.
Since birth control is the insufficient bandaid they give us to help with basically all pelvic issues, I feel our medical culture has a price on my uterus higher than Han Solo had on his head. We live with the life-threatening and quality-of-life altering side-effects. Birth control is prescribed for pain the same way as opiates are. In fact, pharmacists can give birth control out now. Why are we sweeping the side effects under the rug this way?
We are really stuck and need to get together right now to form support groups and figure out the reasons why we are so depressed, why we are in so much pain, and maybe, just maybe the answer isn’t with our doctor down the street or in a pill. Maybe it isn’t even in acupuncture or Eastern Medicine. Maybe it’s in ourselves and our ability to band together as women and not hate each other, to not tell eachother to suck it up, to not get jealous, to not dub someone else a whore just because things went well for her or she made a mistake, to not be mean to eachother just because we look different, don’t get references, or started off on the wrong foot. Maybe it’s about really pulling together. About uniting under a common purpose of saving the planet we tread on and our insides. Perhaps we can save ourselves from our own destruction in the process?
We have the power to create the world we want, but it’s evident we can’t wait for others to do it for us. We have to roar, and our quiet, pained roars will make a hell of a chorus. We can put a price on our uterus, but the uterus doesn’t take away who we are as women even if we have to get it removed in order to roar louder.  We’re in this, all of us, together. Roaring and howling and there’s no cage.
Rogers PA, et al. Priorities for endometriosis research: recommendations from an international consensus workshop. Reprod
Sci 2009;16(4):335-46.; Adamson GD, et al. Creating solutions in endometriosis: global collaboration through the World
Endometriosis Research Foundation. J of Endometriosis 2010;2(1):3-6.
Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: “Suicide in the medical patient.” Intl J Psych in Med 17:3-22, 1987