Several provinces in China now have laws in place to ensure women can take a day or two a month off work if they suffer from period pain. Events organizer Churan Zheng regularly takes menstrual leave, and says it is an essential option for every woman.
I suffer from severe period pain and every month post a picture on my social media accounts showing a woman tied to an invisible cross with arrows stuck into her stomach. It always get a lot of "likes" because it vividly visualizes what many women suffer during their period.
I always get a heavy feeling and stomach cramps the night before my period starts. And when I wake up, the pain that accompanies the menstruation is so unbearable that I always imagine myself grabbing my intestines and tearing them out of my body, or cutting them out with a pair of scissors. I feel like vomiting.
Ever since I left university and started work I have taken painkillers almost every month but the drugs make me feel tired and sleepy. I need hot water bottles as well in order to battle the pain.
It's often difficult during these times for me to concentrate on my work, which makes me curse my gender.
Fortunately my company – Pride Planning, which works on female rights campaigns – offers female staff one paid day's leave every month. Employees do not need to get doctors' notes, or worry about their salary being deducted for dropping a day's work. In my case, as long as there is no business trip scheduled or important work to be finished, I normally take half a day or a day off. I just stay at home, sleeping after taking painkillers or doing some work in bed.
Some people think allowing women to take menstrual leave costs the business money, so there is a debate about whether it could discourage companies from hiring women. However, so far as I know, my company – where female employees are in the majority – doesn't suffer significant financial loss despite the fact that almost every woman takes menstrual leave every month, or every other month.
Most women experience pain as part of their menstrual monthly cycle.
Some women can also experience pelvic pain, even when not on their period.