A common yet neglected condition contributing to inequalities for girls, women and people assigned female at birth is severe period pain (SPP). The NHS defines SPP (or dysmenorrhea) as period pain so severe it interferes with people’s ability to focus, move, and sleep. SPP begins around puberty, continues throughout reproductive life and affects up to 29% of women. Unmanaged SPP leads to monthly work or school absences, distress, outpatient and emergency care use, progression of underlying disease (e.g., endometriosis), and risk of opioid addiction. Comorbidities (e.g., autism, epilepsy) worsen symptoms or create challenges receiving care, meaning further disadvantage. Despite these effects, severe period pain is often seen as a normal part of having periods.
The SPPINN course project aimed to develop educational materials for school nurses and others to whom young people might turn to for advice about severe period pain, to support them signpost to appropriate services and support.
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