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Does your period pain feel ‘as bad as a heart attack’? You’re not imagining it

Some women experience debilitating period cramps, but the medical community isn't helping.

You’re not alone.

Here's an article to send to every jerk in your life who denied you the right to complain about your period cramps: A medical expert says that some women experience menstruation pains that are "almost as bad as having a heart attack." John Guillebaud, who is a professor of reproductive health at University College London, spoke to Quartz on the subject, and said that the medical community has long ignored what can be a debilitating affliction, because it's a problem that mostly inconveniences women.

"I think it happens with both genders of doctor," Guillebaud told Quartz. "On the one hand, men don't suffer the pain and underestimate how much it is or can be in some women. But I think some women doctors can be a bit unsympathetic because either they don't get it themselves or if they do get it they think, 'Well I can live with it, so can my patient.'"



And it's a problem that can't just be treated with common painkillers. Some people who experience dysmenorrhea, the medical term for painful menstruation, also suffer from endometriosis, a condition that can cause infertility if it's not treated properly. But research on the subject is scant, so doctors often misdiagnose it, or dismiss the pain entirely. It's estimated, however, that one out of 10 women has the condition.

Earlier this month, Girls creator Lena Dunham was forced to take a rest from show promotion and other work duties because she suffers from endometriosis. In a recent edition of her newsletter, Lenny Letter, Dunham wrote a frank essay about her struggle with the condition, and particularly with a medical institution that didn't know how to diagnose her. She didn't know how to put a name to her pain until she turned 24 and underwent laparoscopic surgery, "which is the only way to definitively diagnose endometriosis," according to Dunham.

Quartz reporter Olivia Goldhill had the same problem. She suffered from frequent period pains that were as distressing as a slipped disk, she says. But doctors had no answer for her. "Before I had my MRI scans, I told my primary care doctor that the pain seemed to be triggered by my period," she said. "He didn't think this was relevant and ignored the comment."

For now, the medical community has been dragging its feet to do research on the subject. Goldhill says the only thing people can do right now is talk about it, to heighten awareness. "Tell your doctor, your friends, your colleagues," she wrote. "We need to talk about period pain long and loudly enough for doctors to finally do something about it."

This article originally appeared on 09.14.17

Lily Ebert was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau when she was 20 and now shares her story on TikTok.

We have reached a critical point in history when the opportunity to hear live, first-hand accounts of the Holocaust are quickly dwindling. Those who survived it—and remember it—are now in their 80s, 90s and 100s, and every year their number grows smaller and smaller.

If you have the opportunity to sit down and talk to a Holocaust survivor, I highly recommend it. Many won't have that opportunity, however, so the next best thing is bearing witness to these stories as they are shared on video. Not to discount the power of written accounts—those are vital, too—but there's something to the human-to-human connection of hearing a person who lived through it speak about their experiences.

Some Holocaust survivors have traveled to give talks to students in schools. But at least one woman who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp is using a more modern means of reaching young people with her story: TikTok.


With the help of her great-grandson (one of her 34 great-grandchildren), 98-year-old Lily Ebert shares brief videos on her TikTok channel describing some of what she experienced during the Holocaust and answers questions viewers ask. She currently has 1.7 million followers.

Ebert was 20 years old when her family was taken from their hometown in Hungary to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps. Her mother, younger brother and younger sister were immediately taken to the gas chambers and killed. Ebert was sent to work in the camp where she spent four horrifying months.

"People would say 'four months isn't so long,'" she said in one of her videos. "But let me tell you something. Even four minutes was too long."

Ebert bears the tattoo of the number she was given—A-10572—on her forearm. "We were not humans," she said. "We were only a number."

@lilyebert

Reply to @garylee55786 It was a #hell 💔 #learnontiktok #holocaustsurvivor #neverforget #jew #survivor #important #listenandlearn #viral #97yearold #u

Ebert's story is shared in small pieces on TikTok, which can feel somewhat jarring. But TikTok is where the young folks are and reaching them with personal stories like this might be one of the most effective ways of reaching them.

People ask Ebert lots of questions and she answers some of them in videos. For instance, someone asked if she was scared she was going to die. Her thoughtful pause is as telling as her answer.

"In Auschwitz you were not afraid of death," she said. "You were afraid to live."

Some people ask questions that we don't see answered often—details that people might be curious about. In one video, Ebert talked about what it was like to use the bathroom. Toilets were rows of holes in the ground and they were told when they could use them—there was no privacy whatsoever.

She even answered a question about what women did about their periods, explaining that most women didn't have their periods because the physical trauma they endured prevented it.

Someone else asked if there were Nazi women at Auschwitz. Ebert said there were—and that sometimes they were worse than the men.

Another person asked if she encountered any Nazi guards who indicated that they didn't want to be torturing and killing people. Her answer was blunt: A person who was kind would not work in Auschwitz.

Some people might wonder how going through such a heinous experience impacts a person's faith. Her great-grandson asked her if she still believes in God after everything she endured.

"Yes, I do," she said. "Because God didn't do it. So-called humans did."

Ebert has been back to Auschwitz a few times since she was liberated. It's hard enough for anyone to see the enormous piles of shoes from people who were murdered there. It's hard to imagine what it would be like having seen and smelled the smoke coming from the crematorium there, knowing your loved ones were among those killed.

Ebert's "ask me anything" posts have become a way for young people to interact with that harrowing chapter of human history in a rarely accessible way. She can choose which questions to answer and give some personal insight into what the Holocaust was like.

"What was the first thing you did after liberation?" someone asked.

@lilyebert

A #holocaustsurvivor answers your questions! #askmeanything #learnontiktok #survivor #neverforget #history #oldtok #love #hungarian #forjewpage #fypp

Ebert said she lay down on the floor and fell asleep. Sleep was practically impossible at the camp and she was so tired.

Another person asked why she thinks she survived the hell of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

She said she didn't know. "But maybe it was so that I could tell you and thousands of other people what happened there. To be a witness."

"I was really not sure that I would stay alive," Ebert told CBS News. "It is a miracle that I am here. But I promised myself, however long I will be alive, and whatever I will do in life, one thing is sure, I will tell my story."

@lilyebert

Have I ever thought about removing my Auschwitz [tattoo] number? #holocaustsurvivor #98yearold #learnontiktok #tattoo #concentrationcamp #strongwoman #neverforget #history #gmb #holocaustmemorialday #jew #goodmorningbritain #jewish

Ebert was recently interviewed on "Good Morning Britain" and was asked if she's ever thought about having the tattoo of her number removed. She said she had never thought about it.

"I want to show the world because to see something or to hear about it makes a big difference. And the world should know how deep they cut, how deep humans can go."

Thank you, Lily Ebert, for being willing to answer questions to help educate younger generations on the realities of the Holocaust so we can strive to make sure humanity never allows such atrocities to happen again.

Is it time to bail?

There are few things more satisfying than knowing you left a party before things turned sour. You came, had a good time and had the sense to hit the exit before a fight broke out, the cops showed up or a bunch of people got into a drunken debate about politics.

There’s one rule my wife and I have: When the couple throwing the party starts to fight, that’s when you grab your things and go.

When you’re younger, it’s a bit harder to recognize the telltale signs that a party is about to go sideways. But when people age and have seen a thing or two, they start to develop a Spidey sense for the moment when it’s time to hit the exit before all hell breaks loose. They also know how long to stay before they've become an unwanted house guest.


It’s one thing to know how to leave before things get lame. But it’s seriously important to identify situations that could lead to physical violence or sexual assaults.

Reddit user u/mharris1405 must have gone to a rager over the weekend, because on Sunday, they posted a great question to the online forum,“What are some signs you need to leave the party?” The Reddit community responded with some funny and practical advice on when they know it’s time to hit the exit.

Here are 18 of the best responses.

1. A party rots from the host down

"When the host is the cause of any form of drama," – Nova_Phoenix

2. When the drunks are the only folks left

"When all the fun people have left and it’s just the last of the fucked up people hanging out," – ParsnipBusy.

3. Don't be the last person standing

"When it suddenly goes from 30 people to you and 2 randoms," – hoot69

4. When things turn sloppy

"When people start getting obnoxious. If you see drunk or high people breaking shit, or screaming, interrupting others' conversation, that's when you can see that the party is going to get worse," – ToastedMaple

5. "Who invited these dudes?"

"When a group of 5-10 unknown men arrives, which weren't invited," – Katsudonisyummy

6. When the antisocial crew arrives

"If a group of guys come in and don't greet anybody, they just stand around looking around, someone is about to be jumped or shot. Leave." – CGY-SS

7. When the night has peaked

"There usually comes a point in the night, usually around 2-3am, where everyone’s drunkenness wanes from energised to a bit sloppy. A lot of people start sitting down in increasingly insular circles, and drinks just stop going down so well. A lot of people will just hang around because it was fun earlier and they don’t want the night to end, but you start to really compromise on tomorrow’s happiness by drawing out the night." – Tosslebugmy

8. When it devolves into a sausage fest

"When you’re a young female and suddenly realize the male-female ratio is more than 12-1 and the crowd is taking on a shark-like circling motion with a lot of side-eye. The actual nice guy I was chatting with suddenly said, 'You need to leave' and I jumped to my feet and bailed like the place was on fire. I suspect the nice guy covered my exit. See, there are nice guys and scary ones and fools like I was," – Melina26

9. When your phone is more fun

"You’re starting to be on your phone WAY too much," – Pillsbury Toasters

10. Guns? No thanks

"I once walked into a party and saw a bunch of guns just laying around and I grandpa Simpson’d myself right back out the door," – popcornkernels

11. Leave before you get pulled in

"When you realize you’re just standing there watching the shit show. There’s a time limit to that. No need to become part of the show. Get out while you can," – toriaehi

12. When you're the third wheel

"Everybody is hooking up except you and you’re sitting next to a couple making out on a couch," – OliveaSea

13. When the cops arrive

"I have a rule. No matter how good a time I am having, even if I have done nothing wrong, when cops show up, I leave then," – Latvian_Pete

14. When your friends have left

"When you feel as though you're 'on the outside looking in,'" – Back2Bach

15. Trust your gut

"I saw no one mentions this so here I go. When your 6th sense or danger sense is screaming at you. You know that feeling when you suddenly feel unsafe, where there is no reason to be so? That is basically your unconscious mind screaming at you, because you unconsciously noticed something wrong, but cant put your finger on what. For those who have not had this yet, the most easily identifiable signs are, cold running down your neck, sudden extreme vigilance, the hair all over your body stands, and in general you feel like death itself is breathing down your neck.

If you have this (gut) feeling, flee. I am not kidding. Run like the wind. This saved me from some hairy situations.
As for an example that would be, something along the lines of seeing someone spike a drink at the edge of your vision, you personally did not notice it, but deep down you realized what is what so your body warns you about it. Even if this gut feeling is only correct 1 out of 10 times, you will thank it when it does,"
– TehBuckets

16. The rule of two

"Never be the drunkest person in a room. If you are at a party and can’t identify 2 people more intoxicated than you, find a safe ride home or quit drinking for awhile," – YeaahProlly

17. Terrible DJ

"When the music just sucks," – JuliusTaka

18. Again, trust your gut

"When you can tell there is an emotionally unbalanced person there who you have a feeling will be a problem, you may consider leaving if it escalates. Whether it be starting a fight, or you can tell they are going to cause a problem later in the night or you feel uncomfortable around them always trust your gut. The same goes with a person you just feel is 'off' around. You are there to have a good time, not be anxious," – foofighterfoos







Katie Peters shared a day in the life of pandemic teaching and pleaded for teachers to be given grace.

Teachers are heroes under normal circumstances. During a pandemic that has upended life as we know it, they are honest-to-goodness, bona fide superheroes.

The juggling of school and COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging, creating friction between officials, administrators, teachers, unions, parents and the public at large. Everyone has different opinions about what should and shouldn't be done, which sometimes conflict with what can and cannot be done and don't always line up with what is and isn't being done, and the result is that everyone is just … done.

And as is usually the case with education-related controversies, teachers are taking the brunt of it. Their calls for safe school policies have been met with claims that kids aren't at risk of severe COVID, as if teachers' health and well-being are expendable. Parents' frustrations with remote or hybrid learning are taken out on the teachers who are constantly scrambling to adjust to ever-changing circumstances that make everything about teaching more complicated.

Superheroes, seriously.


But as Toledo, Ohio high school teacher Katie Peters says, teachers aren't looking for accolades. They're doing the jobs they love, even though they're incredibly difficult right now. What they do need is for people to understand what a teacher's day looks like and to extend them some grace.

Peters' TikTok video describing what she did one day as a teacher in addition to the six classes she taught has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.

After sharing that she taught six periods and subbed during her planning period, she said, “I helped a young man find safe housing. I found a winter coat for a girl who didn’t have one. I located a student's missing backpack and arranged for a Chromebook replacement for that student. I gave a student a little bit of cash for a haircut and made sure another student had enough food to last them through the weekend.”

She also comforted a student who had cramps, supported a student who was going through his first heartbreak, saved a student's art project with some super glue, walked a student to class so they wouldn't feel alone and wrote a card for a student who was struggling.

That was just during the school day.

After school, she had a meeting, tutored a student, then wrote a college recommendation letter for a student who brought her the request the day before it was due.

Then she spent four hours at home planning "fun, inviting, exciting lesson plans that could, at the drop of a hat, need to go virtual without any warning."

But Peters said she didn't want a single accolade. "No teacher I know wants a pat on the back or gratitude," she said. "What they do need is grace." She pointed out that doing all of these things are what teachers love to do and what fulfills them. But it's also why they're tired. The pandemic has made everything harder.

Peters said a piece of her was shattered when she read a comment in a community forum about her district going back to in-person learning, "Oh, it's nice the teachers decided to work again." As if teachers have not been working the hardest they ever have during all of the pandemic upheaval? Please.

"Nobody, in the history of ever, has been motivated by ugly," she said. "Loving kids is the purest form of beauty that exists—and it's always going to beat your ugly."

Well said.

Peters told TODAY that negative comments make teachers feel defeated, which impacts their job. “I’m not sure how much people realize that their words carry over into our ability to care for their children,” Peters said. “We need you to hold space for us and understand that we are doing our best given the circumstances.”

People loved Peters' honest and heartfelt account of what teachers are experiencing and what they really need from the rest of us right now. Grace. Patience. Understanding. Not ugliness or blame.

If anyone who isn't a teacher has something negative to say and thinks they could handle the job better, they are more than welcome to get their teacher training education and certification and try their hand at it. Otherwise, give teachers the respect they deserve and the grace they so desperately need right now as they try to keep their hole-filled lifeboats afloat with paperclips and a hot glue gun.

Teachers, we see you. We've got your back. Hang in there.