Problem statement:

The normalisation of period pains is one of the factors for women to not seek medical help the first time and for approximately 8 years for the first symptom to appear and diagnosis of endometriosis to be made (Watch “Heavy periods, intense pain and no one to talk to. Could you have endometriosis?” by Magda Marečková. Bahasa Melayu subtitles available).

Women’s pain is not taken seriously: “A study which investigated analgesia prescribed to emergency department attendees with abdominal pain confirmed that women’s pain is regularly  dismissed20. This followed many studies including one where women were prescribed lesser analgesics and more sedatives than men post-coronary surgery21 in 1986. These norms harm everyone, as men prefer being in pain due to their self-imposed reticence for wanting to appear “strong” and “stoic”, thereby not requesting adequate pain relief (but get pain relief when asked), and women who are liberally admitting pain were given less pain relief because they are “hysterical” and “emotional”22. Unsurprisingly, women experience abuse during labour, especially in the Global South23, probably due to the belief that women are used to internal  pain22.

Menstruation stigma and the gender pain gap add another layer of complexity to people experiencing menstruation. People do not want to talk about menstruation, and many girls and women experience menstruation and the pain that comes with it privately. This can lead to presentism and absenteeism at work and school. Menstruation blood is seen as dirty and people who experience menstruation are seen as dirty and in extreme cases, are isolated from their families while menstruating. This, in part, leads to menstrual poverty; the view that menstrual products are not a necessity in a household, and the lack of proper sanitary areas for girls and women to change their used menstrual products and clean themselves.

The Malaysian Doctors for Women & Children is committed to ensuring that Malaysian healthcare professionals as well as the Malaysian public are thoroughly educated about the gender pain gap and endometriosis, as well as issues surrounding menstrual health such as stigma and menstrual poverty. We do this by collaborating with patient groups and local civil society organisations and through social media campaigns.

Articles of interest:

Our partner:

Endometriosis Association of Malaysia

We are also co-signatory of a manifesto on period equality by Peduli Merah. This manifesto can be found here (Bahasa Melayu) and below in English (translated from the original).

Powered By EmbedPress