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A very well-known little pill has been linked with period cramp relief. Why didn’t anyone tell women?

Periods are deeply misunderstood. Surrounded by myths and taboos, they vary widely person to person, having different lengths of time, intensity of cramps and reactions. This misinformation is one that results in a lot of problems for women of all ages, from having very painful periods to being very ignorant about what goes on in their own body.

One very famous pill would have been able to address some of the strongest period cramps, but this knowledge was never pursued by drugmakers.

This Pill Could Have Cured Period Cramps
Photo by Thought Catalog via Unsplash

Popular Science reports that Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, was introduced to the market in the late 90s. Curiously, the drug’s main effects were discovered by accident. The original drug trials were designed to treat conditions like hypertension and angina, also known as chest pains. Viagra affects the entire body, impacting erections, which evolved into the birth of a billion dollar industry.

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A more recent drug trial pursued some of Viagra’s original effects in women. Published in 2015 and conducted by researchers from Penn University, researchers examined 25 female participants and split them up into two groups: one received Viagra and the other received a placebo. Per the study’s results, the patients who received Viagra experienced massive relief from period cramps within four hours.

While these results are amazing, it’s important to note that the medication was received vaginally, which might have minimized side effects and increased the medication’s effectiveness. The study was also conducted on a small amount of test subjects, meaning that these results might not translate to every type of period.

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Menstruation and uteri in general remain deeply misunderstood. Conditions like endometriosis are often misdiagnosed and severe period cramps are deemed as untreatable, making women pass out, vomit or spend the entire day in bed. It’s surprising that Viagra, a drug that is so popular and wide spread, is rarely linked with the effects it provides in women. Apparently erections make more money.

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