Following Spain's recent approval of the implementation of up to three-day menstrual leave for women in the country, the first of its kind to be implemented in Europe, various debates have since been ignited, predominantly surrounding the taboos of menstrual health and its accompanying issues.
Advocates of the cause have expressed their stand in favor of such a law, while others are concerned it could potentially disrupt women's productivity and employment in general. But before anything else, what is Dysmenorrhea?
Dysmenorrhea, what is it?
In brief, Dysmenorrhea, as defined by Johns Hopkins Medicine, is characterized by severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain during a woman's period. Dysmenorrhea may be primary, existing from the beginning of periods, or secondary, due to an underlying condition.
According to US-based gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunther, in response to an article published by Quartz.com equating period cramps to a heart attack ; it is indeed “much worse than heart attack". An analytic study published by the National Library of Medicine has reached a conclusion that "Menstrual pain was reported by 84.1% of women, with 43.1% reporting that pain occurred during every period, and 41% reporting that pain occurred during some periods."
Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr. Nik Nasri Ismail of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department, UKM weighed in on the menstrual health issue, stating that "In some women, the cramps can be severe causing social and physical disturbances, thus limiting activity. It can be very annoying,", as reported by NST.
In Malaysia, there are a handful of cases where Malaysian women tend to suffer agonizing menstrual cramps that often go underreported for unidentified reasons, according to Dr. Hoo Mei Lin, president of the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia. She continued, "I have had young women in their 20s and 30s who have not had children come into my office begging for me to remove their uterus and ovaries just so they don't have to suffer every month."
It is indeed very difficult for women to function normally whilst suffering from Dysmenorrhea, and according to a study administered by the Apple Women Health's Study, More than 6,100 participants, through the iOS Health app's period-tracking feature, recorded their period symptoms. 83% reported abdominal symptoms. cramps, followed by 63% who tracked bloating, and 61% who tracked tiredness.
What's the verdict?
The question of the hour is, should Malaysia start emulating Spain's progressive measure and start implementing menstrual leave? What would the possible pros and cons that should be weighed in, should the proposal be carried forward? let's discuss this in the comment section!