CVS fails to recognize period pain

Emmy Farstad
Copy Editor

Liberal arts student Nicole Hooker needs Midol, but hates the price she has to pay for pain relief.

Medications aimed to treat painful and unpleasant symptoms for women are an absolute necessity. However, CVS Pharmacy seems to disagree.

As any woman knows, every single month you are subjected to your uterus asking, “Hey! Would you mind if I give you horrible, gut-wrenching pain in your abdomen and back? And would it also be okay if your body fluctuated your hormones so you are riding an emotional rollercoaster? What about headaches, stomach issues, soreness and fatigue? And actively bleeding for five days?”

Some readers, at this point, might opt to skip this article, thinking it goes too far or shares too much information. This is part of the problem. Do yourself a favor and keep reading!
On Oct. 18, I took a trip to CVS, planning to purchase Midol, one of the most common drugs used to treat the symptoms of menstruation.

I looked at my CVS app for applicable coupons and found one that said exactly this: “$2 off $12 purchase of any pain relieving pills.” “Perfect,” I think. “$2 to spend on something else I need.”
For those who don’t purchase these medications, you should also know that brand name pain relievers, like Midol or Pamprin, are pretty pricey. Even the generics aren’t cheap.

I approach the checkout counter with over $16 worth of generic Midol, and show the coupon to the cashier. I am subsequently informed that this deal does not include this medication.
Remember before when I told you the coupon said “any pain relieving pills”? It seems that this does not apply to those that are useful only to women.

We have no control over the functions of our bodies. We can’t choose which week is most convenient. Women don’t get time off from work or from taking care of their families or from any other responsibilities. I know a lot…and I mean A LOT…of women who depend on these pain relievers to manage symptoms so they can actually function for this whole week out of every month.

It appears, however, that this pain is not valid enough that the medication used to alleviate it is considered a “pain relieving pill.” And you know what? I really don’t care about that $2. What I do care about is the fact that this very helpful and reliable tool to treat pain beyond our control is not just tucked away in the very back of the store with the other unmentionable feminine hygiene products. It is literally not even considered important enough to be classified by a pharmacy as a pain reliever.
Every active ingredient, listed right on the back of each box, is meant to relieve pain or discomfort related to menstruation. How is it that this isn’t considered a pain reliever?

It might seem like this is a small oversight, but I think it is indicative of a m
uch larger issue that women are currently facing.

Ladies, our rights are in limbo. We are at risk of losing our access to birth control. We are inching closer and closer to a world where our bodies are regulated by a government that is predominantly male.
Women who are homeless or impoverished are not even given access to pads or tampons, but our military annually spends $84 million to supply men with Viagra.

I think this is due largely in part to the stigma surrounding menstruation. The mere mention of the word makes people uncomfortable and ashamed. There isn’t a woman out there who hasn’t concealed a tampon in their sleeve or pocket so no one would notice that they were carrying it.

Women aren’t ashamed of their lungs allowing them to breathe or their hearts pumping blood. Why should we feel embarrassed about another bodily function we can’t control or survive without?

To help ensure that we retain our rights, it is imperative that we work to destigmatize menstruation. Don’t feel embarrassed for the cashier when buying pads. Don’t feel like you need to suffer in silence when you’ve got mind-numbing cramps. Let’s normalize, even celebrate, the ability we have to create life.

To learn more about furthering this cause, check out these charities that support advancement:
“Period: Leading the Menstrual Movement,” “Days for Girls International” and “The Homeless Period Project.”

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