John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, says menstrual cramps can almost be as painful as heart attacks, hence a need for more research into the subject.
Women suffering dysmenorrhea, the clinical term for painful menstruation, may have undiagnosed endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial cells are found growing outside of the uterus.
The body reacts to this with inflammation. One of the most common symptoms is severe menstrual cramps. Left untreated, it can cause infertility.
“Men don’t get it and it 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,” Guillebaud told Quartz.
He said doctors and researchers do not take the complaints seriously.
“I think it happens with both genders of doctor. On the one hand, men don’t suffer the pain and underestimate how much it is or can be in some women.
“But I think some women doctors can be a bit unsympathetic because either they don’t get it themselves or if they do get it they think, ‘Well I can live with it, so can my patient.’”
In various parts of the world, women use over-the-counter painkillers like Ibuprofen to dull the pain.