When I was younger, I suffered from horrible dysmenorrhea every month. I would wake up in the middle of the night with really bad abdominal pain that would leave the lower half of my body almost numb and immovable. There was even a time when I collapsed in a school restroom sobbing, bloody, and in total agony.
Apparently, my pain and that of millions of women would have easily been managed if more research was done on it. The reason why it’s been set aside for more “important” issues is both simple and infuriating—women’s pain isn’t taken as seriously as men’s.
Recent research featured on The Independent notes that “men wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain [while for] women, the wait is 65 minutes for the same symptoms.” This occurs because women are thought to over-exaggerate pain, and this sexist belief is probably the reason why women suffering from dysmenorrhea have been trained to overlook it, or just manage the pain with quick-fixes like ibuprofen.
Today, more and more doctors, scientists, and experts are (thankfully) looking into period pains. University College London Professor of Reproductive Health John Guiellebaud says that these pains can be as “bad as having a heart attack,” adding that “Men don’t get it and hasn’t been given the centrality it should have. I do believe it’s something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine.” An article on Quartz explains that the causes of dysmenorrhea are still largely unknown.
For now, women who suffer from dysmenorrhea are given painkillers, while some are prescribed birth control pills. Sadly, Cosmo.ph reveals that there are only less than 25 contraceptive brands available in the country, and more are expiring this year due to a Supreme Court TRO pushed by the complaint made by the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines.
Citing that pills have “abortifacient side effects,” many women are now suffering from expensive and limited supply of contraceptive pills, which applications and renewals are on hold.
Many women don’t only use pills for birth control, but also for medical issues such as dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This TRO is making it hard for those who need the said medications to manage their conditions.
CNN Philippines lists the remaining pill brands, with licenses that are about to expire:
- Trust Pill - June 14, 2017
- Gracial - June 26, 2017
- Yasmin - October 8, 2017
- Micropil Plus - March 17, 2018
- Seif - March 3, 2018
- Charlize - May 7, 2018
- Protec - May 30, 2018
- Meliane - June 3, 2018
- Nicole - July 21, 2018
- Depotrust - August 15, 2018
- Yaz - September 29, 2018
- Logynon 21 - November 19, 2018
- Leila - December 13, 2018
- Zoely - December 19, 2018
- Familia 28F - February 4, 2019
- Gynera - April 30, 2019
If you’re prescribed any of these medications, best buy as much as you can, or visit your doctor for other alternatives. It’s also important to support the Commission on Population’s moves to lift the TRO, as the lack of pills can affect more than the women who suffer from reproductive issues.
“The impending absence of contraceptives, especially the cheaper ones, will affect maternal mortality in the country,” POPCOM Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez said in a statement. “When this happens, it will be a public health emergency."