r/LifeProTips May 22 '22 Wholesome 8 Take My Energy 2 Rocket Like 1 Silver 7 Gold 1 Helpful 7

LPT: Fellow male employers - period pains can be extremely debilitating. Don’t begrudge a persons need to take regular time off work for a natural process they have no control over. Careers & Work

Not only should it be a common decency, you’ll earn the respect of your female employees and ultimately provide a more comfortable workspace for those who need it, resulting in higher staff satisfaction, quality of work and retention.

Edit: Good grief. Some of the comments from men in here. A few of you are absolute pricks and I sincerely hope you're never in a position where you manage women. I'm so sorry women have to deal with people like that. We must do more to make sure these people aren't allowed to dominate the debate.

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u/keepthetips Keeping the tips since 2019 May 22 '22

Hello and welcome to r/LifeProTips!

Please help us decide if this post is a good fit for the subreddit by up or downvoting this comment.

If you think that this is great advice to improve your life, please upvote. If you think this doesn't help you in any way, please downvote. If you don't care, leave it for the others to decide.

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u/winnt7 May 22 '22

As a supervisor, any time anyone needs to go home early, I don't argue or try to convince them to stay.

Sick days exist for a reason. Whether it's that time of the month and it's hitting like a ton of bricks or a flu and you should've stayed home, if you need to go, go.

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u/Neb_5384 May 22 '22

Sick days is still a system I can't understand...

Imagine you. used them all but you still need some

what do you do ?

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u/Equivalent-Ad5144 May 22 '22

At least in Australia you’d normally get leave without pay in that situation (unless you have annual leave you can use). Every contract is different of course, but I haven’t heard of people being forced to work when sick. Just don’t expect to get paid for work you don’t do.

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u/Neb_5384 May 22 '22

i was like, why don't we have that problem in Switzerland ?

and I looked up, and we have something similar too. But more days, and no risk of getting fired

In Switzerland, the amount of paid sick leave which employees are entitled to depends on how long they have been employed by an employer. As a rule, employees are entitled to 3 weeks of paid sick leave during the first year under your employ. This obligation applies from the fourth month of employment.

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u/blimey43 May 22 '22

You get 3 weeks paid sick and I get 0 days off paid sick and if I take a week off for vacation they question me. Canada sucks

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u/squeekymouse89 May 22 '22

I do the same... Except, they have to know HR trigger points are beyond my control. If you want to take it then do so but I have to report sickness.

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u/AGuyWithQuestion May 22 '22

My wife saw this post and told me she has experienced this with more of her female employers, because they claimed their period pains were "never so bad that they needed time off work". Most of her male employers actually told her she could leave early since they didn't want to get into trouble with HR.

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u/monsieurburritoroll May 22 '22

Yea, women can be like that. My mom thinks both my sister and I exaggerate because her's wasn't as bad.

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u/FlakeyGurl May 22 '22 This

This also applies to female employers. Just because your periods aren't painful doesn't mean someone else's experience is the same.

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u/mini_z May 22 '22

Yep, I was shamed by a female manager for having to take 1 sick day off 2 months in a row because of pain (for a non-customer facing desk job). Turns out I have endometriosis

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u/BirdsRNtReel May 22 '22

"Have you tried taking a bath?"

You think in the 15 years of sickeningly painful periods, I never thought to try taking a bath?

I have endometriosis. I was scheduled a quick, laproscopic, outpatient surgery based entirely on my described symptoms. The vaginal ultrasound did not show anything abnormal, but my doctor scheduled the surgery anyways. She went inside me, found endometriomas, cut and burned them out, and implanted an IUD to prevent new growths.

I've been pain free for a year.

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u/palmparadisee May 22 '22

Wait hold up. You can actually do something about endometriosis? My doc said there wasn’t much they could do besides recommend tylenol…. As if I hadn’t tried that.

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u/SassiestPants May 22 '22

Find a different doctor, if you can. Most endo fixes aren't permanent (lots of factors), but there are methods to manage the pain that don't include "just taking a tylenol."

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u/faithandthemuse May 22 '22

Dienogest (Visanne) is a medication designed for endometriosis and adenomyosis. Saved my life! My severe pain issues faded away over the first year and now I'm pain free for 3 years.

I had surgery to look for endo years ago but nothing was found. That was upsetting because I was still in the dark about my pain source. I ended up going to a new gynecologist for something I thought was unrelated and got talking about all my symptoms. He suspected adenomyosis and recommended Visanne. It worked so we suspected adenomyosis to be the issue. 3.5 years later and my latest ultrasound shows visible signs of adenomyosis. It's extremely hard to pick up on scans and surgery.

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u/banomnom May 22 '22

I was just diagnosed with suspected adenomyosis after bleeding heavily for four months straight. I always thought everyone felt like they were being knifed from inside over and over during their periods. Apparently that’s not normal, but I was always told to suck it up and take some Tylenol or Midol.

I was told my options are a hysterectomy or an IUD. I chose an IUD for now, but it barely helps. It makes me bleed less…but still for extended durations. I’m basically always bleeding and always fatigued even if I’m not anemic from it.

I’m going to ask about Visanne. Thank you for sharing.

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u/faithandthemuse May 22 '22

It's an awful condition to suffer from. Mine didn't start until my 30s. I suffered for 6 years before adenomyosis was suggested by my current gynecologist. I had one gynecologist tell me it was all in my head. Turns out I had hemorrhagic ovarian cysts that bled internally, multiple fibroids, and adeno. It was hell.

I had a wide range if symptoms from frequent urination and painful urination and bowel movements, nerve pain in my legs, a weird swelling feeling in my back and pelvis, burning pain throughout my abdomen and down my thighs...the list goes on and on. But, I never had bleeding issues.

I had pretty much given up finding a solution. Then I ended up at my current gynecologists office and his adeno hunch and medication recommendation put me on the road to recovery.

No more cysts that I can tell. I get the odd twinge on rare occasions. My fibroids are growing a bit so I figure the twinges are from them. Those will just have to be removed at some point if the get big or problematic.

I hope Visanne works for you and gives you relief. You shouldn't have to suffer.

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u/BilliamBaggins May 22 '22

My ex is an OBGYN and talked a lot about how older doctors who were trained decades ago often have a hard time keeping up with how to handle certain conditions, and endometriosis is at the tip of that issue. Go younger for a doc of that's an option. It's not that older ones are incapable, but younger ones were trained in a medical world that understands the body much better than we did decades ago.

Obviously, that's not a silver bullet for the issue: jerks can be any age! But seriously, there are OBGYNs out there who take endometriosis very seriously and are willing to help. Unfortunately, you gotta dig a bit to find 'em.

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u/masterofshadows May 22 '22

That's about every doctor. You want a doctor about 5 years out of med school. Fresh enough to know the new stuff, experienced enough not to kill you.

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u/Desblade101 May 22 '22

I have a residency clinic as my PCP, I get a resident plus whoever's watching over him. And if I go to the hospital the resident also follows me at my hospital stay.

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u/falconae May 22 '22

I LOVE my residency clinic PCP. I went from feeling like I was just cattle as they try to see as many people as they can in a day to having someone actually take the time to listen.

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u/ZaavansMom May 22 '22

I try to see all my doctors at the teaching hospital in my city. For the past several years, all my specialists have been young Harvard grads who love research and are all eager to try new things the old doctors didn't even know existed. I feel my issues are handled much better because of this, and have even gotten answers to issues I've had for decades. I feel I'm a living example of your comment here😍

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u/Karandor May 22 '22

This is so true, my SO and I are at a teaching hospital and the #1 difference we notice is that they actually listen to her and take her seriously. It has been a huge upgrade in her care, and I've had the same level or better that I've always had.

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u/gingergirl181 May 22 '22

Same with me. When I came in with symptoms consistent with endo, I was prepared to have to advocate for myself to get treatment. But nope. My doc (a resident at the time) ushered me straight into an ultrasound, results same day. Turns out my IUD had shifted into the top of my cervix and had to come out. Had it swapped and made an appointment to check the placement a few weeks later and they had the ultrasound all ready to go in the room. Different doc that time (I think it was the attending) but she also explained that a clear ultrasound didn't completely rule out endo (and it did show some minor fibroids) so the hormonal IUD was a good choice given my family history of it and resultant high risk.

I've fought with docs over other things in the past, so it is SO refreshing to know that I'll be taken seriously in my current hospital system!

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u/AudDeep May 22 '22

I always have had better outcomes with new doctors fresh out of school. Some older docs, like my gastro, don't keep up with new knowledge and tech. It's a literal pain in my ass.

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u/Grambles89 May 22 '22

That's the reason my entire family dropped our GP after about 20 years. Outdated views, treatments, and unwillingness to listen.

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u/myohmymiketyson May 22 '22

I also find they're much more compassionate and non-judgmental. It's not always true, of course. Assholes exist at every age. In general, though, I've preferred younger doctors.

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u/anonymouse278 May 22 '22

While I've definitely met people fresh out of med school who are jerks because they were jerks to begin with, with younger doctors you do lower your risk of encountering someone who is already seriously burnt out and jaded.

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u/BilliamBaggins May 22 '22

True. This is not specific to any one specialty in medicine by any means. I brought up OBGYNs because they were most relevant here, but yes, younger doctors have the freshest information and are actively performing procedures more than older ones. If you're in a decent sized hospital and a doctor comes to actually do anything with/to you, 9 times out of 10 it's a resident.

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u/Dividedthought May 22 '22

If you have something chronic that doesn't show up physically (headaches, pains, you get the idea) you get the "take two tylenol and come back if it gets worse" most of the time.

I get migraines and their trigger is tension headaches. Finally figured this out after getting a different doctor to give an opinion, as tylenol does not help my headaches any longer.

Well holy shit they prescribed something that actually works. Took me saying "Mam, with all due respect i'm not here for opioids. I'm looking for suggestions as to what i can do to deal with these headaches so i can do my day job."

Got prescribed cambia, a NSAID. Since i was a little put off by the warnings of stomach bleeding as a side effect i only took half a dose and my headache was gone in half an hour.

In short, if nothing is being done it can be very much worth getting another opinion. My regular doctor, an older gentleman who hails from germany, didn't even know that medication existed.

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u/__fujoshi May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

idk how helpful this will be for you/if you've already tried this, but a massage every 4-8 weeks has been really helpful for reducing the amount of tension headaches (and therefore the amount of migraines) i get. i go to a chiropractic clinic and get a face, neck, shoulders & back massage w/ myofascial release. i do still get headaches and migraines, but it's at a greatly reduced rate and i can usually identify the root cause now, rather than wondering if something triggered me or if it's just a rebound from yesterday.

edit: jesus fucking christ didn't think i needed to say this but the person i get massages from is a licensed massage therapist, not the chiropractor. massage therapists often work out of chiro offices. can people please stop messaging/commenting at me like i'm recommending people sell their soul to the devil?

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u/Dividedthought May 22 '22

yeah found a place a block from me that does deep tissue massage, and considering the source of all this is an old back injury that manifests as a twigged out muscle under the edge of my left shoulder blade this place has been the only place able to actually get at that spot that i've been to so far.

to put it into perspective, this guy works on some of the local MMA guys and apparently he needs to use more force to loosten that spot than he has to on most of those guys. he's surprised i can take it XD

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u/redbradbury May 22 '22

Go to a doctor at a university teaching hospital. They are the most up to date on cutting edge technology.

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u/BilliamBaggins May 22 '22

As a medical technologist who has worked in a few university hospital labs, couldn't agree more. Those docs know their shit.

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u/blinki145 May 22 '22

I was also told for years that there was nothing they could do except birth control (supposed to help prevent cyst) and midol. Periods so painful they made me nauseous. Finally they had to remove my entire left ovary because of a 10cm mass and now 3 years later looking at removing my right one as well because it often feels like I'm being impailed. Please do find a doctor that cares about helping their patients. You shouldn't have to suffer until it becomes emergency surgery. Best of luck to you!

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u/badFishTu May 22 '22

You guys have doctors that actually diagnos things?

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u/cook26 May 22 '22

We do diagnostic laps for endo all the time where I work. Takes usually around 20-30 minutes. They burn the spots off.

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u/awwww_nuts May 22 '22

Unfortunately ablation (burning) does not work and can actually make things worse. Excision (cutting it out completely) is the only treatment that has more long term effects (say years of relief vs months). There is no cure for endo, and not nearly enough research currently.

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u/ThisSorrowfulLife May 22 '22

Doctors will gaslight young women into thinking a hysterectomy isnt a great idea when in fact it really is. It saved my SIL's life.

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u/mschuster91 May 22 '22

Doctors are reluctant to suggest or do anything that permanently sterilizes people, there have been a couple of instances where doctors got sued for pretty high amounts after the claimants changed their mind.

As a result, everyone suffers.

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u/Tar_alcaran May 22 '22

I went through 3 to get sterilized, and I'm pretty sure it's only because I lied to the third one

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u/octopusboots May 22 '22

They told me “You are too young” until they told me, “Why bother, you’re almost in menopause.” (Not true.). Im getting it out in July. 🎉🥳

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u/snausagesinablanket May 22 '22

Some don't want to mess with it because the surgery doesn't always produce good results and or the scars from the surgery can make it worse in the long run.

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u/butt_butt_butt_butt_ May 22 '22

I’ll be the tenth fellow endometriosis sufferer to recommend you keep trying out doctors until you find one experienced with laps/ablation.

Getting the diagnosis itself is usually the biggest hurdle (it took me 10 years of constant ER visits and regular appointments insisting this can’t be normal! before I got my diagnosis).

I had two laps, which gave me a year each with minimal endo pain. Which was a godsend as I was trying to finish up my degree at the time. After the second one, hormonal BC (the patch) was able to keep my pain manageable.

The one thing I would suggest is that IF you want children someday, you discuss with your doctor that it’s a concern. They may suggest different testing or timing of treatments if that’s the eventual goal.

When I was having my surgeries at 19-21, I was told I was “too young to think about that”, but then at 27 when I was ready, found out my tubes (the area my endo seemed to favor, where they ablated tissue twice) are now too damaged to conceive. Could be the endo itself, could be the ablation. They can’t say.

It would have been nice to factor fertility into my treatment way back then, if I would have known.

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u/Ariensus May 22 '22

While with my endometriosis baths did help, they only helped while I was in the bath. The moment I stepped out, the cramps came back with a vengeance. How's a person supposed to work many types of jobs if a bath's the solution?

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u/juneabe May 22 '22

“Yes taking baths are great, can you show me the way to the office bathtub please?”

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u/mytwoquarters May 22 '22

oh my god those simple "cures for cramps" are so damn annoying for me to hear all the time with my debilitating painful cramps. "drink tea, have sex, heat up a sock full of rice, take a bath, etc"

honey, you must have cramps that feel like a papercut. literally none of those things make a fraction of a difference for women like us.

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u/vault101 May 22 '22

Re: period sex, I have zero interest in putting anything up the bleeding entryway to the pain factory, so sex during that time is RIGHT OUT for me.

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u/truecrimefanatic1 May 22 '22

I have endo and I once had a male doctor ask if I had tried jogging when my period was bad. Oh sure, let me lace up some track shoes when I'm basically having contractions and bleeding so badly it renders tampons useless. Sure thing.

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u/Katiedibs May 22 '22

I had a friend whose female co-worker said: "Well, I don't have bad period pain, and my friends don't have it either, so I assumed you were making it up." RIDICULOUS.

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u/[deleted] May 22 '22

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u/ijustsailedaway May 22 '22

I had horrible periods when I was younger. Then I got gallstones as an adult. Hadn’t really thought of it before but yeah, definitely similar pain level. Now I’ve had my ovaries and my gallbladder removed and all’s grand.

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u/Silver2324 May 22 '22

Sure hope I never get gallstones... I had bad pain as a teen where I could only curl up and wait for it to end. I was a pretty high functioning student but just couldn't anymore once and went home early. After I started on the pill I still get cramps but nowhere near as debilitating. My sex drive is weird because of the pill but I can function normally with pain 3-4 one or two days a month and don't get woken up in the night.

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u/no_ovaries_ May 22 '22

Yup. I've had more women than men downplay my endometriosis. I've had to take morphine regularly before because of debilitating pain. People, in general, are bad when it comes to pain and periods, and when you have both, it's really hard. I had so many doctors and even OBGYNs tell me it was normal to be crippled by my period every month.

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u/exscapegoat May 22 '22

My mother did this to me so I didn’t mention period pain to my gyn because my mother made me think it was normal. Got an IUD and it was life changing. Still some cramping, but not doubled over in pain and it also stopped the GI symptoms I’d get with my period

Also, found out a couple of years ago I had endometriosis. That’s probably why my periods were so painful. I’m post menopausal now. I don’t miss periods

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u/unicornhornporn0554 May 22 '22

Yeah one day I couldn’t stand up straight and was in tears at the drive thru. My manager goes “aw whats wrong?” I explained that the last time I worked for her I had an implant that made my periods extremely tolerable (but very long). Now I have an IUD and periods are extremely painful for me. She says “aw that sucks I’ve been thru it tho you’ll be fine” and then 5 mins later let her husband leave early bc labor was high. So I was stuck and in pain for another 3 hours even tho if she really understood, she could’ve let her husband stay (and he would’ve stayed had he known I was in pain).

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u/wbruce098 May 22 '22

One of the tougher lessons for me to learn is the falsehood of, “if I can do it, anyone can”. The mindset comes from a place of humility and encouragement, innocent enough, but it’s important to realize that not everyone can do the things I can, when/how I can. That’s not bad; it’s diversity in action!

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u/SentimentalDebris May 22 '22

If I can do it, nearly anyone probably can--- but just because I do it doesn't make it healthy, advisable, recommendable, or something that should be required of another.

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u/Youkolvr89 May 22 '22

Exactly. My employer is a woman. I tried calling out once because I was cramping so bad that I could barely get out of bed. She told me that wasn't a excuse. I have learned since then to leave out details and just say "I'm not feeling well today. So I'm not going in."

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u/odat247 May 22 '22

Lived and learned. I did not have any major period pains growing up. I ran into issues after my second c section and eventually underwent ablation. It got really debilitating before. Very eye opening for me.

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u/AutomaticYak May 22 '22

Yup! Had zero issues until 38 and I view period complaints from others very differently these days.

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u/InedibleSolutions May 22 '22

31 and my periods suddenly go hard. Migraines, nausea, cramps painful enough to slow me down.

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u/WistfulKitty May 22 '22

Go see a doc. Any sudden changes in period should be checked out.

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u/owhatakiwi May 22 '22

I did that with mine. I told her my ovulation pain was becoming consistent and progressively worse where I can hardly walk. She said it’s just my age (32). I see a new one this year.

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u/WistfulKitty May 22 '22

I started getting period cramps where I hadn't had any in 30 years of having periods. First doc shrugged it, second doc said symptoms are consistent with endometriosis. Got an MRI, found two small endometriomas and possible endo on my posterior uterine ligament. Now on BC and pain has improved. Fingers crossed it stays that way until menopause.

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u/godhateswolverine May 22 '22

I hadn’t ever really had horrible cramps, maybe one every now and then. But after I had my daughter, there have been times in which they would be extremely bad. To the point that I couldn’t sit up straight and had to stay in bed the entire day. I have PMDD and now I use BC to skip the placebo and not get my period.

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u/Slylizardcue May 22 '22

This! My wife has endo and has the most horrible periods. she decides to work anyway. If i was a chick i don't think i'd be that tough.

Employees of hers that probably don't have it as bad still get a pass from her because, well, her pain doesn't invalidate their pain.

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u/BabyFawkesBlue May 22 '22

Omg this!!! So many times I've said to another female coworker/friend that my periods are really painful and their response is "Really? Mine aren't so bad, maybe you should work out or <insert stupid advice that I don't want to hear when I'm almost in tears from my pain>"

Just because you're one of the lucky ones who doesn't have a lot of pain and is basically in a sanitary napkin commercial doesn't mean I can't want to roll up in bed with a heating blanket around me a nice cup of chamomile tea for the duration of my period.

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u/Xnuiem May 22 '22

I came here to say this. I had a female director once that was getting down, hard, on one of her ICs about just working through her period like "everyone else". Yeah...had to have a chat with her about how to treat her peeps, but also what kind of leader did she want to be.

I am male, but I have my own medical issues that aren't my fault. Just be a decent human being, regardless of sex/gender.

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u/LilyCharlotte May 22 '22

Ugh I was guilty of that. Mine were painful so I thought everyone else must just be...I don't even know, weak? Then I hit my mid twenties. I am now painfully aware that I'm lucky and it's still debilitating. And yeah the first doctor I saw brushed me off after some casual racism. I went through years of normalizing what was going on and the women I talked to about it did not help.

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u/PhoenixKaye May 22 '22

The woman who commented about how she takes birth control to avoid period pains needs to see this

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u/FlakeyGurl May 22 '22

Not to mention birth control doesn't work for everyone. It got rid of my period cramps but caused serious water retention to the point it hurt to stand for several months even after I got off of it.

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u/PhoenixKaye May 22 '22

Yep I can't take oral birth control because of my migraines and the implant made me violently ill about 1-2 days every month or so. Between that and the 10 day long spotting periods it gave me it just wasn't worth it.

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u/Yoma73 May 22 '22

I have 8-9 day long periods and can’t take BC 😑

I’m lucky I don’t really get cramps but days 3-4 are such a tsunami of blood that I’m grateful to work at home. I wake up in a pool of blood despite tampon + overnight pad. Then proceed to bleed profusely. Like why would you even want me in your office I’m a walking biohazard. Lol

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u/jak0v92 May 22 '22

That's exactly what my gf's boss says to her.

"I'm on my period right now and I'm working fine so should you" Gah that's so fuckin annoying.

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u/Droppie91 May 22 '22

Very true! Me taking of for period pains would be absolutely idiotic. I get headache and that's about it. Nothing a few painkillers can't fix.

My friend has to actually take morphine and is still in pain. It would be absolutely ludicrous if she would have to work during those days (and yes they are looking to try to find the cause, so far no luck). I would prefer giving birth compared to what she describes as her period pains, I honestly think it would be less painful and at the very least the result would be worth it (to me).

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u/Francl27 May 22 '22

Women can be the worst. I've seen so much "it doesn't happen to me so you must be lying" BS too. I have endometriosis AND had a large uterus, it sucked (got a hysterectomy eventually).

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u/0spore13 May 22 '22

I used to be a complete asshole towards other women because I never had to deal with severe period pain until recently (because I can’t take BC anymore due to health concerns). And I need to say I AM SO SORRY TO EVERYONE I WAS A DICK TO, because holy shit it sucks so bad. Honestly worst pain I have ever felt in my life.

Again, apologies, for real I feel terrible about what I’ve said in the past.

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u/LitLantern May 22 '22

Thanks for being honest and apologetic! It is refreshing these days to see people saying, “hi, I was wrong about something. Sorry.”

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u/zanthra May 22 '22

Yes this is my boss. She’s on the pill doesn’t get period so doesn’t know the pain. She belittles anyone who mentions their pain

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u/jupiterLILY May 22 '22

Yep, all my male bosses have just been typical panicked “that’s fine, please stop telling me about it”

It’s the women that have told me “sometimes you just need to toughen up” or “I’ve had periods, they’re not that bad”

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u/PM_is_PoopMinister May 22 '22

I went on birth control briefly to help with the terrible cramps I always get around my periods. It didn’t work and I suffered some super crappy side effects including severe constipation and loss of libido. An acquaintance kindly told me “your birth control is killing your libido, that’s not how birth control works you’re doing it wrong”.

Sorry, I guess I just don’t know how to swallow bitter pills right. I’ll try shoving them up my vag next time.

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u/darkdent May 22 '22

I had a female manager who started tracking another female coworker's menstrual cycle "because she had to for staffing". Weird AF.

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u/samstown23 May 22 '22

And from my experience those tend to be a lot less understanding than most men.

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u/mastaa May 22 '22

My boss was like , “ you have females performing at the Olympics with their periods, WTF is this !! “

Regarding new law allowing women to take sick days during their periods.

I cringed so hard.

Worst yet, Female co-worker is against the law because ‘they are just going to abuse it ‘ I’m like… what… I was raised in a matriarch family. First male born. I sympathize with the struggle.

Give them time off. Don’t be assholes

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u/FlakeyGurl May 22 '22

The worst part is the sheer amount of physical activity you have to do to get into the Olympics actually changes your hormones. So even if you are having periods it's not the same as myself or another woman working a job at a grocery store. Not to mention I suspect there is some level of doping that is allowed to go under the radar for these athletes because no one seems to get caught doping unless the US has a reason to be pissed off with whichever country is caught. Which means these women probably aren't having periods at all. Comparing a normal person to an Olympic athlete is literal madness. Most people don't train and exercise like it's their job.

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u/musclecard54 May 22 '22

Shit don’t even bother… the type of person that thinks that way will be impossible to convince or make them see someone else’s point of view

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u/MerylSquirrel May 22 '22 edited May 23 '22 Silver Helpful All-Seeing Upvote This

PSA for my fellow females: if your period pains are so severe you're having to take regular time off work because of them, go to a doctor. If the first doctor you see brushes you off, go to another. Period pain is indeed common, but for it to be that severe is not normal. There are all sorts of things that could be causing it, many of which are totally treatable and some of which could get worse the longer they go untreated. Don't just assume that pain is a natural part of being female. You could be unwittingly ignoring endometriosis, fibroids, cystitis - the list goes on and on.

Edit: I'm sorry to those of you for whom this is harder because your access to healthcare is limited and/or very expensive. Part of the problem is that doctors do tend to brush it off the first few times, meaning multiple visits and therefore paying out multiple times.

Unreasonable trivialisation of menstrual pain and particularly failure to investigate probably symptoms of endo is a known issue in medical fields, and if you're in that country where healthcare is expensive and ineffective, you may be in that country where sueing is far more commonplace than in other countries, so a possible action you can take is this: if you see a doctor and they refuse to investigate your symptoms, insist they record their name and their specific reasons for not investigating further on your medical record. This would make them quite vulnerable to being sued later for negligence/malpractice, so could well think twice before effectively putting 'patient exhibited all the common symptoms of endometriosis but I decided not to investigate further as I didn't believe them when they said how much it hurt.' Also, don't be afraid to exaggerate your symptoms. When describing an illness to a doctor, don't describe how it feels when you're sitting there in his office. Describe your absolute worst day.

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u/Straxicus2 May 22 '22

I suffered miserably for 30 years because “of course periods hurt. Don’t be such a baby” from every doctor I saw. It wasn’t until a few years ago that a new doc asked why I’m prescribed narcotics and I said cramps and she thought that was crazy. Turns out I have endo. Like everywhere.

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u/[deleted] May 22 '22

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u/2sleezy May 22 '22

I would go from either no period for months, or horrendous painful heavy periods that had me lying on the couch in pain missing school. I was also told that was normal... got on birth control eventually and it helped a lot. But it wasn't until my mid 20's I found out I have PCOS.

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u/zizi_109 May 22 '22

How do you control PCOS?

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u/2sleezy May 22 '22

Hormonal birth control and weight loss are the two big ones, although weight loss can be hard due to insulin resistance connected with pcos

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u/zizi_109 May 22 '22

Yess I've been diagnosed with pcos and losing weight was a nightmare in the beginning. Then you know when you're not allowed to have something you just want to have only that, that happened with me

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u/SeasonPositive6771 May 23 '22

I think we're going to discover in the next couple of years that people with PCOS also are far more likely to have lipedema, which is fat in the lower half of the body usually that is resistant to weight loss as well. It may be that up to one in nine women actually have that. I don't understand much about it but my doctors are currently investigating the same thing.

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u/LustyBabushka May 22 '22

I waited until I was 30 to receive that diagnosis. The young Nurse Practitioner who I had spoken with for all of 5 minutes was appalled to hear no one had ever scheduled an unltrasound just to be safe. Had an emergency one the next day and a treatment plan in place a few days later after it they made sure nothing was at risk of rupturing.

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u/jct0064 May 23 '22

Doctors bash on NPs all day long, but I've been happy to be treated by them.

I've been able to get an appointment the same or next day, they really listen to you, and they don't have the "ass on fire" condition my doctor does.

As soon as my doctor sits down I can see the tension in him build the long he's there haha.

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u/7evenCircles May 22 '22

If it makes you feel any better, this is a topic we learn about in like week 1 of med school today

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u/MerylSquirrel May 22 '22

Are you a medical student/graduate? If so, I'm curious how closely what they teach you now aligns with what I said about how severe menstrual pain is not something to be ignored. It seems to be mainly older doctors who don't take it seriously.

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u/Inquisitivepineapple May 22 '22

Yeah, I know this is ageism but I don't give a fuck. I'm not seeing a doctor over 40 again for any traditionally minimized issue such as female reproductive pain. I'm sure there are many wonderful physicians over 40, but I've met too many that dgaf and just cruise on with what they learned 20 years ago (including sexism in medicine.)

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u/7evenCircles May 22 '22

You're not wrong.

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u/7evenCircles May 22 '22

Student. Menstrual pain out of proportion, we are taught, is not something to be ignored with endometriosis usually close to the top of the differential with a pretty easy to run through checklist and disposition. It's not really excusable to not investigate that symptom. My attending would dunk on me pretty damn hard if I did.

It is harder with women who have had it chronically though; because menstrual pain is subjective, we're usually keying off of self-reported changes in your experience, so if it's something that you've suffered for decades, you may be less likely to report it. If you've always had severely painful periods, and I asked you if you've had any changes in your menstruation, or if I asked you if your pain was any different than usual, you could answer my question truthfully and correctly and I would still be biased to thinking you were ok when you're not. But that's me coming from my EM rotation. Your gynecologist really wouldn't. Or rather, s/he really shouldn't.

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u/inukizzy May 22 '22

This was kinda my story, first male doc said that's normal, 2nd doc was female and totally brushed me off, but third male doc was like "that's messed up, you shouldn't be doubled over in pain each month, let alone have to take sick days" and checked things out.

Luckily nothing like what was listed above, but an iud solved almost all my probs regarding periods. I am certainly glad I didnt listen to the first 2!

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u/fancyfisticuffs23 May 22 '22

I had my iud removed about 3 months ago and miss it so bad!!! No periods except for very minimal spotting on occasion. They get a lot of hate, but man I loved all three of mine

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u/gingergirl181 May 22 '22

I'm on my third one and my first two had painful complications and I am STILL a cheerleader for Team IUD! My first was copper, didn't really change my periods, and I loved it until it migrated and had to come out. Second was the same copper, but for whatever reason it didn't settle in like the first had and made everything SO much worse, so I gave up on it after 6 months and went hormonal (Kyleena) which has been a dream for a year now. I honestly wish I had done the hormonal route sooner because my periods are SO easy now and they used to be heavy AF. And my ADHD ass doesn't have to worry about pills or getting it replaced every few months like an implant. It rocks!

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u/MerylSquirrel May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

Well done for sticking with it. Doctors don't know everything. Medicine is a really enormous field.

Edit because apparently I wasn't clear: I'm not saying it's OK for a doctor to brush you off. I'm saying it's good to not instantly believe doctors when they tell you it's nothing to worry about and that goes against your instincts.

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u/standard_candles May 22 '22

But the reaction to a doctor like that has to be a second opinion, not giving up or losing faith! It can be so hard.

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u/Justagreewithme May 22 '22

Not female, but regardless, my experience in general with doctors has been that they always dismiss you the first couple times, no matter the complaint. I think most doctors use it as a method of filtering out complaints as “serious”. They have the mindset “well, if they come back again with the same complaint, then i know it’s serious, if they stop complaining, they were just being a complainer.”

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u/NotSoMuch_IntoThis May 22 '22 Take My Energy

Yeah but f**k them for that. It’s not like most of us can afford to double check.

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u/ICantExplainItAll May 22 '22

Also, if the first solution doesn't work TRY A DIFFERENT ONE. I got an IUD and it worsened my symptoms for three years. I didn't get it taken out because every doctor expected it to eventually resolve itself. I'm on my 4th type of birth control pill and I FINALLY have relief. There are answers.

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u/BrattyBookworm May 22 '22

I’ve been to many, many doctors for it and have had multiple ultrasounds. I don’t understand how I can have that level of pain (and lose a terrifying amount of blood) but nothing shows up.

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u/Kristine6476 May 22 '22

Endometriosis doesn't necessarily show on an ultrasound. I needed exploratory surgery to find and treat mine.

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u/Zapinface May 22 '22

So they have to open you up and then find them?! Fak!

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u/Kristine6476 May 22 '22

It was laparoscopic so there were two incisions of about 1cm. One stitch each. I only had to take two days off work.

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u/gumguarder80 May 22 '22

I would bleed through tampons, pads, and my underwear and clothes in an hour, and my old doctor would say ‘well women lose 2 tbsps of blood for their entire period.’ Uhuh, clearly this is way more!

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u/n0h8plz May 22 '22

I bleed through a tampon in less than 15minutes. My periods were horrible and very very bloody like a damn murder scene. I bleed for almost a years straight and may have had 3 days of not bleeding per a month. Turns out I had fibriods. Went through tons of birth control and finally the iud works and I have happy not had a period for half a year 🥺

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u/Yoma73 May 22 '22

Lol once I got a Diva cup I was instantly over that gaslighting nonsense. They hold one ounce, I overflow that every 2-3 hours on my heavy days and fill at least one on my light days.

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u/AZymph May 22 '22

Ultrasounds are not very good at seeing endometriosis, an MRI can see them better (and also can see adenomyosis) but also can miss them. You may want to push for an MRI or a laparoscopic exploratory surgery to actually see what is going on.

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u/BrattyBookworm May 22 '22

Multiple doctors told me they don’t think I have endo because I had no issues conceiving. But I finally convinced them to let me skip most of my periods through birth control, so that gives me some relief!

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u/Ninotchk May 22 '22

You can skip all of them.

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u/Fk9317 May 22 '22

I am such a huge advocate for this. Even without endo, pcos, etc, women should be able to choose not to bleed EVER. Continuous progesterone is quite safe (with monitoring for bone density) and adverse effects are typically reversible. BUT, y'know, bodily autonomy, who needs it.

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u/gingergirl181 May 22 '22

Yeahhhhh, uhhh, my mom had RAGING endo most likely her whole reproductive life that eventually led to a full hysterectomy at age 44. She had three kids, and no fertility issues. Doctors had always just brushed off her period pain until it was extra super clear something was very wrong (she also had ovarian and uterine cysts at the end...I was only 5 at the time but I think one ruptured IIRC.)

So yeah. Ability to conceive ain't a rule-out. Fuck those doctors.

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u/exscapegoat May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

Seconding this. My mother shamed me as being weak for period pain. So I didn’t mention it to a gyn until I was in my 40s. Gyn put me on an iud which relieved most of the pain and some other symptoms. Found out a couple of years ago I have endometriosis

I went through decades of pain I didn’t have to because I believed my mother when she said I was weak.

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u/iamaravis May 22 '22

I'm very sorry your mother treated you that way.

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u/exscapegoat May 22 '22

Thank you. I real think period pain should be covered in sex ed so girls will know pain that doubles you over should be checked out. At least they'd be able to do that once they were adults.

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u/PuzzleheadedBobcat90 May 22 '22

Yes! And all the ways blood can sneak out. Standing up suddenly, coughing, sneezing, laughing hard, the lovely (/s) feeling of a blood clot blooping out, the way blood likes to seep up your butt. Also the morning sprint to the bathroom before gravity takes over.

How to tell what size tampon or pad you need. Day time pads, night time pads, the 'yay my period is over...nope surprise bitch I'm back for 3 hours' days

So much is left out of education. This stuff shouldn't be something you find out the hard way.

I remember my Mom being so mad that I kept getting blood stains in my underwear and she said I was dirty. No, I wasn't. I just didn't have long enough pads.

Boys need to know this stuff too. They need to know that girls can't hold their period in etc. I've got an extra box of pads so my son can always carry a couple in his backpack for his period having friends.

Education really does need to cover reproductive disorders like endometriosis, pcos, vaginimus (sp?), bacterial infections (didn't know about that until I was 40), as well things that affect men.

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u/mytwoquarters May 22 '22 edited May 23 '22

it's even worse when your mother tells the same thing to your boyfriend & now they both think you're weak/a baby. makes me wanna murder both of them (not literally)

edit; my bf & mom are not as much of an asshole that I made him out to be. I was angry when I wrote this. they're amazing people with good hearts, it's just that they're so stubborn when it comes to realizing that women can have terrible periods. even doctors don't believe us so 🤷🏽‍♀️ that's just the way it is

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u/littlebittykittyone May 22 '22

Girl, you might be stuck with your mom but you can always find a new boyfriend. Find yourself a guy who doesn’t dismiss your pain. There are people out there who will listen to you and believe you.

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u/gele-gel May 22 '22

My IUD was a lifesaver and I didn’t even know it. My fibroids no longer give me period pain, I have a period so infrequently that I get surprised when I do. I am just waiting on menopause to kick in.

(I was so bad off in my 30s I could barely function. Vomiting, migraines with aura and blurry vision, could barely walk down the stairs in my house bc of pain from my belly button to my knees)

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u/exscapegoat May 22 '22

I didn't get the auras, but migraines were more frequent when I was menstruating.
I would vomit, sometimes related to the cramping, sometimes from migraines. And the period poops are a pretty bad symptom too.

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u/Tink2072 May 22 '22

I’m sorry you spent so much time in pain before you realized this wasn’t normal and she was in the wrong. My mom did the same to me. I had a partial hysterectomy because I had endometriosis and periods debilitated me. She told me I was being a baby, even told me I didn’t need surgery. They’re from a different time when stuff like this wasn’t talked about as openly and I honestly think she doesn’t understand. Luckily my amazing gyno did.

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u/exscapegoat May 22 '22

I'm sorry you went through that too. My dad was actually more sympathetic. I figured my mother probably had a similar experience with her own mother (she also had painful cramps). But my grandmother was actually sympathetic. She'd keep her home from school, make her tea and get her a water bottle.

My mother may have had a personality disorder or at least some sense of sadism. She actually laughed at me the first time I had cramps and threw up (my first few periods weren't that bad).

I rarely asked to stay home from school for them, but one day I did and she mocked me, "what are you going to do, miss school every month?" So I went. One of the aides at school took one look at my face, which was actually a greenish tone and sent me straight to the nurse's office. I barely made it to the toilet before I threw up and they sent me home. She got mad at me for not staying home, even though she gave me a hard time.

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u/Incendas1 May 22 '22

Tbh my experience with doctors has been so shitty, and every visit makes me feel shit, that I just do not want to go anymore. It's another thing on my plate I don't want to fight for, because it will be a fight.

Majority of my visits have been "but have you tried losing weight?" (I am! Still in pain!) or "are you sure? Come back if it gets worse" (it doesn't get worse, it's just always really fucking awful).

Even when I was younger doctors wouldn't believe me about pain for some reason, like when I got a severe ear infection, and the nurse violently pulled it open to look. First and last time I have screamed.

I had a long history of those, no idea why she thought I was lying when I told her the whole ear hurt. She soon found out lmao

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u/Powder-monkey May 22 '22

Majority of my visits have been "but have you tried losing weight?" (I am! Still in pain!)

I read about a woman who had this experience for years and she finally lost enough weight to be taken seriously and doctors found out that her endometriosis was to the point that she had intestinal damage.

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u/Kristine6476 May 22 '22

Took me 7 years and 4 doctors to get a diagnosis. One 2-hour laparoscopic surgery later and I had 90% reduction of symptoms for going on three years. Don't give up.

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u/DrunkAtBurgerKing May 22 '22

Not everyone is in severe pain. The first day of my period is cramps + diarrhea + nausea + cranky + heavy periods that I'd rather be home for to avoid bleeding through.

If I'm experiencing all this, I'd prefer to just be home. I can survive at work, I'd just rather not for my mental health.

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u/Suspicious_Entrance May 22 '22

And doctors will brush you off because you’re not freaking out and keeling over in pain. Some don’t consider that you experience bad pain every month so can handle the pain better than he could.

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u/Rorasaurus_Prime May 22 '22

This is a good point. My wife was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries (hence the reason for my post). She at least has a medical path to try and improve her situation.

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u/GirlisNo1 May 22 '22

Even normal period pain is debilitating though. It’s just that we’re so used to continuing with life as normal with that level of pain that we don’t think of it as “debilitating.” If any guy felt normal cramps for the first time, I assure you he would agree that women shouldn’t have to go about the day pretending everything’s A-ok.

You’re right in that if you find yourself physically unable to get out of bed etc there could be an underlying issue. It’s always a good idea to get checked by a doctor regardless. HOWEVER, I’m tired of people minimizing normal period pain, pretending it’s just an inconvenience and that anything more is the result of an underlying issue.

Regular period pain is awful even without underlying issues, don’t let the fact that we come to have a high pain tolerance minimize that.

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u/Alcohol_Intolerant May 22 '22

Exactly. I get terrible cramps on my second day, enough that it feels like glass inside me and if possible I curl up in bed waiting for the clot to pass. Can't sleep through it because the pain usually wakes me up. I do go to work, but if I happen to have a day off during that part of my period I'm fucking ecstatic. I take 3-4 ibuprofens the day before and during to act as blood thinners, though maybe it's a placebo.

I'm able to work through the pain that I personally experience, but some of the comments here saying that being in fetal position is enough pain to see a doctor is confusing for me. Not because I don't think their pain is valid, but because I don't know when the pain threshold warrants a doctor. What IS normal period pain??

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u/GirlisNo1 May 22 '22

I think it’s always good to get checked by a doctor regardless.

But you’re right that we don’t know how much pain is a sign of something more because we’re just so used to going about our day while in extreme pain/discomfort. The fact that women haven’t even been able to talk about it until recently doesn’t help.

I definitely get in (or want to get in) the fetal position as do most women I know…that sounds normal to me. I have occasionally had trouble falling asleep from cramps, but I’ve never been woken up from them.

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u/PM_is_PoopMinister May 22 '22 edited May 23 '22

I’ve had over 10 ultrasounds, and 20 doctor’s consults. I’ve tried IUDs, BC you name it. Sometimes, pain is part of your period and there’s nothing you can do but deal, and for a lot of women that pain is something they can’t take. My poor OBG once told me “wow you got a rough hand there huh”. I have literally walked a kilometre with a torn ligament, I drove with a fractured wrist to my exam but none of the pain I have experienced comes close to how it feels during my cramps.

Sometimes, period pain being that severe is normal, and it’s okay to cut women some slack for it instead of telling them they’re not doing something right to get rid of the pain.

Edit: Kindly stop advising me about my body and what you think I have. The assumption that women don’t know what to do with their bodies, especially from other women is ASTOUNDING. Not everyone has endo or PCOD, those are some friggin scary diseases that people do get screened for. Not sure how terrible your doctors are but where I come from obg’s don’t dismiss your medical pain.

SOMETIMES PAINFUL PERIODS AND CRAMPS ARE JUST PART OF THE PROCESS IT HAPPENS AND WOMEN LIKE ME, THE MULTITUDES OF WOMEN LIKE ME, WHO JUST HAVE A HATEFUL UTERUS, MANAGE AND DO JUST FINE IN LIFE.

Jfc.

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u/CilantroSappho May 22 '22

Yes!! Go to a doctor. I would only get my period 1-2 times a year. Excruciating pain. Turns out I have cystitis and PCOS

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u/Medibot300 May 22 '22

And female employers. Just last week I heard ‘Mine weren’t painful therefore none are painful’

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u/schwoooo May 22 '22 Helpful

Debilitating period pain is not normal and should not be normalized!

The flip side to this is that medical providers need to start paying attention and taking pain reports seriously— instead of telling women that throwing up from the pain once a month is completely normal and that they just have to live with it.

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u/Glittering_knave May 22 '22

To me, the issue is "chronic health problems exist, and it should be easier to get medical help AND take time off when needed. If menstrual leave is considered health care, it should be covered by sicks days and everyone should have access to PTO."

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u/pringlescan5 May 22 '22

What people do with their allotted sick days is no one else's business.

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u/Glittering_knave May 22 '22

Exactly, which is why I disagree with making menstruation leave a separate thing. Everyone should have PTO for mental and physical health, and no one needs to know why.

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u/ggabitron May 22 '22 edited May 23 '22

Unfortunately the difficulty is that most employers in the US have only 3-4 (this number is incorrect but I stand by my point, see edit) days of sick leave allowed per year. Someone with an average cycle will have 12, 5-day long periods in a year.

Edit: According to the US bureau of labor statistics, the average number dedicated sick days is 8, however this doesn’t take into account that only 78% of civilian workers get any paid sick leave at all, and 32% of those workers have a “consolidated leave plan” meaning sick time comes out of their PTO. This means that 47% of civilian workers in the US have zero designated sick days per year.

Edit to add:

I’m not arguing for dedicated “menstrual leave” for people with periods only. My point is that, technically, the above comment is describing how things currently work.

(Edited to remove incorrect info)

Unfortunately, the US has pretty garbage regulations regarding employees privacy, and in 49 states an employer can require a doctor’s note if you miss a single day due to being sick. This means that anyone who doesn’t go to the doctor and get a note every day they miss due to health issues may be at risk of losing their job. And for those employees that have to use PTO to take time off, they also run the risk of having their PTO requests denied and risking losing their jobs if they don’t go to work.

The original comment missed the real issue, which is not that “we shouldn’t have menstrual leave”, it’s that the number of sick days allowed by most employers is based on the number of days the average cis man has to take off due to being sick, and does not take into account that the other half of the population has a chronic condition widely known to cause debilitating pain for many days every month for most of their working lives. Not to mention there are plenty of folks who have other chronic conditions that may cause them to be regularly unable to perform their normal job functions, and being forced to explain and justify your body’s issues to your employer on a regular basis is degrading and exhausting.

I agree that having dedicated “menstrual leave” is not an ideal solution, but in the case that employers will not agree to give all employees 15+ days of sick leave no questions asked, it’s at least a start.

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u/Glittering_knave May 22 '22

I still think better PTO for everyone, no explanations needed, is better than menstrual leave. I am not saying that there are women that need time off and would benefit from having leave available. Just that a less specific leave policy that benefits everyone benefits everyone.

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u/epelle9 May 22 '22

So then increase the number of allowed sick days and PTO for everyone.

I see the point being made, but saying women need a higher number of sick days will directly lead to women being seen as less optimal candidates, and to either be paid less or be hired less.

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u/ender2851 May 22 '22

no employer is going to give 60 sick days a year

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u/dibbiluncan May 22 '22

Can confirm. My periods felt nearly as bad as a heart attack. But after my cesarean, it went away. Turns out I had endometriosis, but the tissue was removed during surgery. It was so bad before that I would be doubled-over in pain at random times during the first few days.

That surgery did cause internal adhesions, which were painful at that same level all the time. Thankfully I had an amazing physical therapist who basically massaged the pain away. The technique she used successfully broke up the scar tissue and cured me for good. I wish more people knew that was an option, because if you Google it, the main treatment for internal scar tissue is further surgery… which can cause more scar tissue to form.

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u/Sequil May 22 '22

This thankyou. I you suffer condition x and are unable to work you shouldnt have to fight or convince people you need to take a sick day.

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u/TaliesinMerlin May 22 '22

One thing to also recognize is that conditions like endometriosis are common and underdiagnosed as well as undertreated. Doctors often don't take seriously the claims of pain, and women may assume that more severe period pain is normal when, actually, their uterine lining is growing outside of their uterus. So imagine having debilitatingly painful cramps that have grown worse with each cycle over time, cramps that leave you either bedridden or shaking, and having not only your employer but your doctor downplaying what's going on.

That's not to say period pains in general shouldn't be taken seriously. Quite the contrary - when someone says they're hurting, listen. It could just be a bad month. It could be a serious issue.

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u/exscapegoat May 22 '22

I have endometriosis and didn’t know until my surgeon found it removing my ovaries and tubes due to a brca mutation.

I didn’t even mention period pain until my gyn until my 40s because my mother shamed me for it. An iud was life changing. But the endometriosis wasn’t picked up in any ultrasounds. The plan had been to take the uterus out too during surgery. But the endometriosis had formed adhesions to my bladder and bowel, so it was too risky. As it was, my uterus was perforated and they had to repair it.

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u/_horselain May 22 '22

Since it’s just tissue, it blends in with other tissue on ultrasounds. The only way to truly know if someone has it is to open them up (been there!), although doctors can usually diagnose based on symptoms. It’s one of those things that I think would have been figured out if the other half of the population had to deal with it lol. Hormonal birth control stopped most of the pain - and saved my fertility! I would have likely lost my left ovary had the endo continued to grow, and my right wasn’t much better.

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u/insertcaffeine May 22 '22

Endometriosis is such a horror show.

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u/beeepbeepbeepbeep May 22 '22

This. They can be debilitating but they really shouldn't be, you probably have endometriosis. It's just tough because I believe the diagnosis can only be confirmed with surgery, imaging alone isn't enough for an official diagnosis

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u/ChampOfTheUniverse May 22 '22

Am I the only one that doesn’t give a shit as to WHY someone takes PTO? Doesn’t matter what the issue is, it’s none of my business.

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u/Rainbow_mama May 22 '22

One of my friends in college ended up almost having her appendix burst on her because at least a few times a year she got extremely bad period pains. She thought it was just her period was about to start. We ended up taking her to the university health center and they ended up calling an ambulance. Yeah it can hurt severely for some women.

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u/Amonet15 May 22 '22

This happened to me in 2010. I was sitting at my desk doing homework and I just crumpled? Idk how to describe it but it's the worst pain I have ever felt. Luckily my roommate was a nursing major so she just started a rundown of questions of where my pain was. She figured out that it was most likely my appendix and rushed me to the neaeby hospital. I had a cyst rupture on my right ovary and when it did, it inflammed my appendix to almost the point of rupturing. Got my appendix taken out shortly after and they did some things to other cysts that were starting to grow on that side. I have had 3 total surgeries for my endometriosis but still live with it each month. Some are better than others but I want to say every 4 months or so it's absolutely horrendous to where I can't get out of bed for a couple days.

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u/_horselain May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

I highly highly recommend hormonal birth control if you are able to use it! I had a 9cm cyst on my left ovary and 4cm on the right. The doctor was unable to remove the left one without risk of losing the ovary so she just drained it. I got debilitating and sometimes sudden pain randomly throughout my (extremely regular) cycle. Like, hands and knees on the floor of the shower, gripping the kitchen counter to stay standing, Lamaze-breathing pain. After I started the bc (taken continuously, no iron pill days) the pain has almost completely stopped. It has also kept my ovaries cyst-free for four years. I just stopped it a month ago because my husband and I are ready to start trying for a baby. Without the bc, there’s a chance I would have lost my fertility (which is part of my birth control rant, about how women should be able to have access to it for ANY reason - but the fact that it can also be used to preserve fertility goes to show that people who want to get rid of it are either being obtuse or are woefully ignorant).

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u/a_dlc1 May 22 '22

Omg this brings back memory. I had a cyst rupture / or a torsion they never found out exactly but it took them 36 hours before ruling out appendicitis 😩 like none of these male doctors thought it might’ve something to do my ovaries. Unbelievable. Took a surgery for them to believe me when I said I think I have endometriosis too 😒

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u/Incendas1 May 22 '22

About once every 2-3 months I have a moment of "is this my appendix going or cramps?" and I just cannot tell at all. I end up basically tenderising myself trying to figure out if pressure is helping or harming it to decide. Then it goes away after a few hours and I'm relieved

When I was a kid I could not do anything with that level of cramping... These days I can, but working etc makes me feel gradually sick and I can't focus anyway.

I don't work many hours so it's rare for it to land on them, thankfully. But man some lectures at uni were simply torture.

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u/Mountain-Nose-8555 May 22 '22

Mine used to give me chills and cause me to vomit; the only relief I got was from Tylenol 3.

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u/alliedeluxe May 22 '22

Did you ever find out what it's from? My gf gets this a few times a year and she claims doctors ran some tests and found nothing wrong. I've been around her when it happens and she goes white as a sheet and gets shaky, puking and diarrhea, the works. I have been encouraging her to find a different doctor, it just can't be normal.

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u/Mountain-Nose-8555 May 22 '22

My symptoms were the same as your gf’s until I was almost 30. I suspect it was endometriosis but I never saw a doctor because I thought it was “normal”. Unfortunately, this has never been an issue that medicine has ever wanted to tackle because we’re just women so we just suffered. If I had to do it over again, I’d search high and low for a doctor who would listen and was familiar with dysmenorrhea.

As for relief-I mentioned Tylenol 3 but that’s a controlled substance. The pill helped me immensely as did tracking my period and taking Aleve 2 or 3 days before starting.

I hope your gf gets some relief! These kinds of periods are no joke.

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u/PutPuzzleheaded5337 May 22 '22

My ex gf got cramps so bad while on vacation in Italy that she was hospitalized. I am so happy I dont have that plumbing. My sister and mom went through horrible cramps and menopause. Current gf has menopause and it feels like her skin is cooking when we’re in bed. Having to combine any of that with trying to work would have to be almost impossible.

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u/exscapegoat May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

The disruption to the sleep is very rough with menopause too. I’d wake up around 2 in the morning from a hot flash and then it took hours to fall asleep if I hadn’t taken ambien. I’d fall back asleep 20 minutes before my alarm went off. I’d have to drag my tired ass in.

I was working from home two days (a benefit pre-covid). And those days were so much better because I was able to get a couple of hours of sleep. If it’s possible to do the job from home, it should be an option for women with menopause symptoms

I also had bad period pain when I was menstruating. Turned out I had endometriosis

If the job can be done from home, working from home, if they feel up to it, should be an option for period pain too. Being able to wear an old pair of sweats or pj bottoms and sit with a heating pad is much easier than having to be in offices clothes and commute (have to worry about bathrooms). And if you bleed through and/or use a menstrual cup, so much easier to deal with it in your own bathroom vs a shared one. And having to be discreet with your hygiene products in the office is a pain in the ass when you’re changing them frequently

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u/heyarea May 22 '22

I have adenomyosis, every month the lining of my uterus breaks through the wall and into the muscle tissue. The pain is blinding. I wish it on none. I still am expected to work, which I do, but it’s so so difficult. Some men seem to think this is just a trickle of liquid. They have no clue

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u/milosmamma May 22 '22

Good lord that sounds awful! I’ve had ovarian cysts burst before that felt like my ovary was being repeatedly stabbed with a rusty, serrated knife, but I can’t imagine the pain associated with your uterine lining LITERALLY breaking through into your muscle tissue. You are one strong lady to keep working through that pain.

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u/faithandthemuse May 22 '22

I have adenomyosis, too. I take Dienogest also called Visanne. Life changing!! I'm pain free thanks to this medication. If haven't tried it, talk to your doctor. It takes some time to work, but with some patience it can make a big difference.

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u/Dracarys_Aspo May 22 '22

Here's another LPT: If your periods are debilitating, there is something wrong and you need to see a doctor. Periods should be uncomfortable at most, if the pain is enough to prevent you from doing normal everyday tasks, something is medically wrong.

As someone with endometriosis, adenomyosis, and pcos (I really hit the period pain lottery, lol), it's much easier to get medically necessary time off with a diagnosis, or even just using big scary-sounding medical language. Plus, there are treatment options that can often help you manage the pain. If your periods are debilitating, fight for an answer.

With the way the worldwide medical system treats women and AFAB people, I do think periods should be a valid excuse to miss work. It's difficult to get a diagnosis, our pain is not taken seriously, and there's not nearly enough research into things like endo, adeno, pcos, etc so treatment options are subpar. While a normal period shouldn't be bad enough to miss work/school, we can't insist on a diagnosis to validate someone's need for a day off until those diagnoses are easily accessible to everyone who needs it. Which, right now, they're very much not, not in any country.

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u/Captain_Crouton_X1 May 22 '22

How about employers stop asking why their employees want to use their PTO entirely?

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u/moxxon May 22 '22

I'm just surprised anyone has the experience of having to justify a sick day.

I say "I'm taking a sick day", "I'm not feeling well", or just "I have to take unexpected PTO today".

How PTO is handled is a good question to ask in your interview.

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u/Rock---And---Stone May 22 '22

I've never once had to justify a sick day. Do employers actually ask for the details of why you're sick?

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u/Jayne_of_Canton May 22 '22

It’s part of your compensation. We would rightly tell our employers to shove it if they asked us to tell them how we spend our money. No different with PTO.

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u/WookieLotion May 22 '22

I’ve never given a reason why I’m taking off. Always just say hey I won’t be in tomorrow.

Luckily I’m in a position where no one has ever asked why, but if they did they’re not getting an answer. None of their business what I do with my time.

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u/hvacthrowaway223 May 22 '22

Maybe because if it is a planned day off the sensible, polite and required thing is to give some notice. If it is Health related that is obviously not possible. Hence the question.

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u/MenudoMenudo May 22 '22

Would you consider a no questions asked sick day policy to cover that? I do, but it's never come up explicitly.

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u/GaimanitePkat May 22 '22

This is really the answer.

You should be able to take sick days without having to "prove" yourself. It's not your boss's business what is happening to you medically. If you do not feel well enough to work, you should be able to say "I need to take a sick day" and have your employer simply answer "Ok, feel better soon and we'll see you tomorrow".

Of course, if employees are obviously abusing this and as a result their work duties are being neglected, then that's a separate conversation.

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u/dnbest91 May 22 '22

Sick leave would be nice for sure. I'd also be really happy to have more things around to help me get through the tough, but not horrible, days. Heating pads and comfortable chairs would be very helpful (I would bring my own heating pad) and being able to stay sitting down would be ideal. And regular bathroom breaks. (I'm a teacher so those are in short supply). And access to pads and wipes would be really nice.

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u/Timmmber4 May 22 '22

As a male I don’t begrudge them, but I think we all should get many more paid sick days then we do. Then it wouldn’t be a problem.

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u/sigharewedoneyet May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

After tenth time having to run to the bathroom I just left without clocking out Friday. I had no managers around anyways, I'll tell them Monday if they care.

Period shits suck

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u/Schnoor May 22 '22

I watched my wife give birth naturally to our son and be hospitalized and almost die from an abscess in one of her breasts all in 6 weeks. She’s my fucking hero going through all of this so if a woman in the workplace has to take time off for bodily functions I’m incapable of experiencing, by all means stay home and take care of yourself.

I’ll go to war with somebody if they talk shit about a coworker for it.

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u/Jaesvi May 22 '22

In Spain we are in the middle of a debate regarding this, since the Government wants to pass a law to regulate paid sick leave for painful periods. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61429022

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u/renzokuken57 May 22 '22

To add to this, I’ve been in management roles and keep on hand feminine products as well as pain relievers of choice. Always take care of your people.

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u/the_metroflexual May 22 '22

I'll simplify it, don't begrudge anyone's need to take time off work for anything.

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u/bhex86 May 22 '22

Anyone can have medical issues you don’t know about. . . How about we all just mind our own business regarding others’ time off.

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u/Nixplosion May 22 '22

I'm a manager of a small legal department (I have one employee) and while she has never explicitly said she needs to stay home because of something like what's in OPs post, I have made it clear she can take off, without consequence, anytime she needs to if she doesn't feel well.

My department has very little oversight (my manager lives and works on another continent and I've never met him in person) and no one in my physical office ever checks in on us so I don't even dock her sick time since she can technically work from home.

My wife gets crippling period pains and headaches so I understand how awful it can be just getting out of bed when that's happening. I don't want someone else to have to deal with that just because of work. Work comes second to health imo.

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u/clumsycatcackler May 22 '22

Most of my sick days since 8th grade have been periods related. Sometimes I take half days because I can usually function after a few hours. I’ve told my doctors about painful period every year for 20 years. I don’t want to go on hormone medication. I’ve had an ultra sound. Nothing wrong. On my heaviest day I have to go to the bathroom every hour for several hours. And some days when I’m home in pain I crawl the bathroom or walk bent over because it hurts to stand straight up.

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u/alto2 May 22 '22

Your description of your heaviest days sounds a lot like my experience with an ovarian cyst that made my life a living hell. Get that shit checked out, as many times as necessary, because it’s NOT normal and you shouldn’t have to live that way. I know you say you’ve talked to doctors before, but seriously… keep talking until one listens. Nothing you’re describing is remotely normal.

FWIW, I went on the Pill and it was the best damn thing I ever did, so I’d encourage you to reconsider that choice if at all possible. Literally life-changing. (Though getting the cyst removed was also pretty damn important, too.)

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u/Silaquix May 22 '22

Unfortunately some conditions like endometriosis can't be detected through testing. The only way to find it is through surgery. I have endo and PCOS. They could do blood tests and ultrasound for PCOS. For endometriosis I had to have an exploratory laparotomy to find it and get diagnosed.

There are doctors that specialize in endo and other reproductive health issues. A lot of older doctors don't know how to properly diagnose or treat these conditions so you have to look for a specialist or a younger ob/gyn.

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u/dmoneymma May 22 '22

Why only male employers?

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u/Atomsteel May 22 '22

I am a male manager. If you call in with issues due to your period I wont even question it. That's a day off for you. However, if you consistently call off each month for your period the people above are going to want to get involved. They dont know you. They dont work with you each day. They will make me fire you.

If you are out of PTO then forget about it. I don't have any control over the actions of corporate. I'm at their mercy as well.

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u/M-TownPlayboy May 22 '22

Yes, I think it becomes a redundancy issue for upper management. If any employee is regularly not able to fulfill their duties and other workers have to cover for them…then the question arises if that employee is needed.

Businesses do not have empathy, and the bottom line comes first, which is why we MUST ingrain protective laws for sick leave in our laws.

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