DETERMINED TO PREVENT AND REVERSE THE CAUSES OF PELVIC PAIN, PARTICULARLY DYSMENORRHEA
Why are girls still missing so many days because of their menstrual cycle?”
-Michelle Obama tweeting on barriers to girl’s education in 2016
As highlighted by the former First Lady, a hidden, personal, and painful reality of many women is severe, gut-wrenching menstrual cramps occurring every 3-5 minutes for several days each month. This misery is a leading cause of missed school and work. These cramps are hallmarks of dysmenorrhea and are not sufficiently relieved by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) in roughly 15% of reproductive age women. My analysis of over 1000 adult women found that the severity of dysmenorrhea along with self-report of sensory sensitivity predict nearly 75% of the participants who experience high levels of overall pelvic pain. Thus, developing effective treatments for menstrual pain is imperative to reducing gender disparity and chronic pelvic pain.
However, scientific demonstration of the mechanisms responsible for menstrual pain remains limited by in vitro methods, irrelevant models, or failure to use precise methods to assess contractility, perfusion, oxygenation, and pain. Therefore, to address this limitation, we developed novel methods for clarifying the mechanisms responsible for menstrual cramps.