The last time this happened, I finally consulted Dr. Google and came upon a condition called menstruation gingivitis -- an inflammation of the gums that typically begins just before a woman's period and goes away once her period starts.
Adolescent girls in developing countries miss schools for at least five days every month -- 60 days in a year during their menstrual cycle due to the lack of access to sanitary napkins and unhygienic conditions at schools. Many of them fall behind in their classes.
Periods do not have to be -- nor should they be -- an all-or-nothing issue. As far-fetched as it sounds, it is entirely possible to adequately fund research into menstrual pain and take it seriously as a medical condition without undermining women's capacity to fully function in society.
Many low-income women and girls share a similar struggle -- especially those who are experiencing homelessness. Inability to afford tampons or pads or to access hygiene facilities, can severely compromise women's health, productivity and dignity.