Is your period pain bad enough to take a day off?

Do you have periods that leave you curled up in agony - meaning you’d rather stay in with a hot water bottle? A move to Italy might be in order if your period is bad enough to take a day off.

Women there may soon have the legal right to time off during their monthly period.

Italy’s parliament is debating the motion for an official ‘menstrual leave’ right at the moment. It will give women the right to three paid days off once a month for women who suffer from painful periods.

Is period leave good for women?

It’s been hailed by many as progress for women’s rights, but not everyone agrees, and some women are concerned that employers will be less willing to employ women as a result.

In some countries, such as Japan, China and South Korea menstrual leave already exists. There is certainly evidence that women may need to take time off during their monthly period. Twenty percent of women experience period pain that stops them going about their normal activities.

Last year, a UK firm Coexist brought in a policy that allowed women to take time off during their period.

Bex Baxter, the director of Coexist commented: “I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods. Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell.

She added: “At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain – no matter what kind – they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognises and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness.”

When should you seek help for bad period pain?

According to the NHS, women should seek help from their GP if for severe period pain or if periods become heavier than usual or irregular.

Mr Pandelis Athanasias, Consultant Gynaecologist of Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic said there were treatments available to women to help painful periods.

'If women's periods are so bad they need to take time off, they should consider talking to a gynaecologist about getting help,” he said. “There are treatments that can help. If you are planning to have a family in the future you may require a pelvic ultrasound or a hysteroscopy to check there are no underlying problems.”

Solutions to difficult menstrual periods

For women who have fibroids, a solution may be the MyoSure hysteroscopic procedure. Mr Athanasias commented: “ This is where intrauterine submucosal fibroids and polyps are removed. It’s day surgery and non-invasive, so it’s suitable for women who are considering getting pregnant in the future.”

He added: “If you suffer from heavy or irregular vaginal bleeding  and you have completed your family, or you are definitely sure you don’t want children, NovaSure is an option. This is an endometrial ablation technique that uses radio frequency waves to remove the lining of the uterus. The procedure has a very high satisfaction rate and at Twenty-five Harley Street we can perform it under local anaesthesia. You will be able to return to your normal activities the next day.


The day-case procedures MyoSure and NovaSure are available at Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic.  Phone 020 3883 9525 


Relating to the endometrium. Full medical glossary
A benign tumour, most often in the uterus. Full medical glossary
Benign tumours, most often in the uterus. Full medical glossary
Examination of the inside of the uterus by endoscopy, using an instrument called a hysteroscope inserted through the vagina and cervix. Full medical glossary
inside the uterus Full medical glossary
In physics it is the tendency of a force to twist or rotate another object Full medical glossary
Any test or technique that does not involve penetration of the skin. The term 'non-invasive' may also describe tumours that do not invade surrounding tissues. Full medical glossary
Relating to the pelvis. Full medical glossary
A growth on the surface of a mucous membrane (a surface that secretes mucus, lining any body cavity that opens to the outside of the body). Full medical glossary
Growths on the surface of a mucous membrane (a surface that secretes mucous), lining any body cavity that opens to the outside of the body. Full medical glossary
A diagnostic method in which very high frequency sound waves are passed into the body and the reflective echoes analysed to build a picture of the internal organs – or of the foetus in the uterus. Full medical glossary
The womb, where embryo implantation occurs and the growing foetus is nourished. Full medical glossary
The muscula passage, forming part of the femal reproductive system, between the cervix and the external genitalia. Full medical glossary