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Spain Set To Become The First Western Nation To Provide Three Days Of Menstrual Leave In A Month

As per a recent news report, Spain is going to become the first Western country to provide women with severe menstrual pain with three days of paid leave per month.

The draft reform is expected to be passed by the Spanish government during its cabinet meeting next week on Tuesday. According to the Cadena Ser radio station, Spain's premier radio network, the proposed reform will make Spain the first Western country to grant women the right to menstrual leave, allowing them to take time off during their periods.

Currently, only a few Asian and African countries such as Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Zambia provide menstrual leave.

Why Is Menstrual Leave Proposed?

As per the Spanish Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society, almost one-third of women who menstruate experience severe pain (medically known as dysmenorrhea). [1] The percentage rises if premenstrual pain is included.

"If someone has an illness with such symptoms a temporary disability is granted, so the same should happen with menstruation - allowing a woman with a very painful period to stay at home," said Angela Rodriguez, the secretary of state for equality, to a leading Spain-based daily newspaper El Periodico.

What Is Dysmenorrhea: Types, Symptoms, Causes And Treatments?

The medical name for period discomfort (menstruation) or menstrual cramps is dysmenorrhea. There are two forms of dysmenorrhoea: Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. [1]

Primary dysmenorrhea is the term for persistent menstrual cramps that aren't caused by other conditions. Pain normally starts one or two days before the period or when the bleeding begins and may persist anywhere from 12 to 72 hours.

Secondary dysmenorrhea occurs when you experience painful periods as a result of a disorder or infection in the female reproductive system. Secondary dysmenorrhea pain typically starts earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than regular menstrual cramps.

Some of the other symptoms of dysmenorrhea may include acute abdominal pain, headaches, diarrhoea and fever.

Dysmenorrhoea pain occurs when the uterus contracts due to a chemical called prostaglandin. The chemical makes the uterus contract, and when it contracts excessively hard, it can press against adjacent blood arteries, cutting off the oxygen supply to muscular tissue. When a muscle loses its supply of oxygen for a short period of time, it causes pain and discomfort.

Treatment methods for dysmenorrhoea may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, placing heating pads in the lower abdominal region and massaging. [2]

Other Things Included In the New Reform

As per the news report, the reform also contains other measures to enhance menstruation health, such as requiring schools to supply sanitary napkins to girls who need them.

Sanitary pads and tampons will also be distributed free of charge to women in marginalised communities. The value-added tax (VAT) will be removed from their retail price in supermarkets, which was the long-standing demand from Spanish women.

As part of the same reform package, Spain's Left-wing administration plans to make abortion more readily available by abolishing the requirement for parental permission for 16 and 17-year-olds and ensuring access to terminations in public hospitals.

Currently, due to opt-out regulations that allow doctors to decline to perform abortions on ethical grounds, the maximum portions of the country are no-abortion zones.

In mainly Catholic Spain, abortion, which is legal on demand up to 14 weeks into a pregnancy, is a controversial issue. In reaction to regular protests outside abortion clinics, the country's government has made harassing or intimidating women with the intent of hindering their right to abortion, a criminal offence.