10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth

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Jan 28, 2018


10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth
10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth thumb 10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth thumb 10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth thumb


  • 10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth
  • 10. Trigeminal neuralgia
  • So let’s get this one out there - pain is subjective, though childbirth is commonly
  • considered the worst one could experience. But Trigeminal Neuralgia might just give it
  • a run for its money.
  • This chronic disorder affects the Trigeminal nerve that runs across the cheek and jaw,
  • and is characterized by unbearable shooting pains in the side of the face that can last
  • from just seconds to minutes at a time. The pain can be so intolerable that it’s dubbed
  • ‘the suicide disease’ after Harvey Cushing’s original early 1900s studies.
  • That was the case for Janette Warburton, who jumped from a multi-story car park in 2014
  • as a result of the affliction, which she had said was more painful than giving birth to
  • 3 children.
  • While there’s no specific cause, Trigeminal neuralgia can be the result of anything from
  • dental problems to tumors. But at the very least, the chronic syndrome affects just 1
  • in 20,000 people worldwide.
  • 9. Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Rather than the other localized ailments on this list, this genetic condition can cause
  • intense pain nearly anywhere. That’s because it affects the body on a cellular level.
  • Sickle Cell Disease causes blood cells to become crescent moon shaped rather than circular.
  • That means they have trouble carrying oxygen and can even get stuck inside blood vessels
  • mid-transit.
  • That triggers what’s known as a sickle cell crisis, where sufferers can feel excruciating
  • pain in the affected area - often the arms, ribs or spine - sometimes for weeks at a time.
  • The most severe pain episodes have even been known to trigger multiple organ failure.
  • And it’s surprisingly common in certain groups for such an unusual condition. 1 in
  • 500 people of African descent suffer from the disease, and 1 in 12 carry the causal
  • gene.
  • 8. Hidradenitis Suppurativa
  • There’s a good chance you suffered from at least a touch of Acne as a teenager. But
  • you should probably spare a thought for Hidradenitis Suppurativa sufferers.
  • The chronically relapsing skin disorder causes boil-like lesions that can sometimes grow
  • out of control, often on the most sensitive parts of the body.
  • According to Detroit dermatologist Iltefat Hamzavi, it’s the “worst quality of life-impacting
  • disease in dermatology” on account of the intense, recurring pain involved. Many patients
  • rate it at the worst possible level on the usual 10-point pain assessment scale.
  • It’s fairly common, affecting 1-4% of people, but it’s under-diagnosed and as-yet incurable,
  • so sufferers will be affected for their entire lives. Long term, depression is common and
  • only serves to emphasize the physical symptoms.
  • 7. Shingles
  • Essentially the adult equivalent of the Chickenpox virus, called varicella-zoster, those unfortunate
  • to break out in shingles develop itchy, oozing rashes that can last weeks, even months at
  • a time.
  • That’s in addition to the searing headaches and flu-like symptoms which accompany the
  • rash, all of which combined have been described life ruining.
  • Not to mention the pain that goes along with Shingles. One Texas patient claimed that having
  • 5 children was nothing compared to her month-long experience of the disease.
  • You’re probably itching just at the thought of catching this one, and rightly so, because
  • almost anyone is at risk of it. That’s because varicella-zoster lays permanently dormant
  • in the nervous system of those affected, which is 95% of North Americans.
  • 6. Endometriosis
  • Affecting between 6 and 10 percent of women, Endometriosis causes the cells found lining
  • the womb, called the Endometrium, to appear elsewhere in the body. That tends to manifest
  • as almost unimaginable period pains, but the feeling can be constant.
  • While symptoms of course vary, many women online describe their experiences as comparable
  • and sometimes even more excruciating than childbirth.
  • But despite the frequency of the condition, even garnering awareness marches, many women
  • are left hanging for treatment thanks to widespread misdiagnosis. A British Parliamentary report
  • found that nearly half of sufferers had to visit their doctor ten times before referrals
  • for diagnosis.
  • 5. Gout
  • Gout is an often overlooked ailment, but one that can cause incredible pain in its sufferers.
  • As the most intense form of Rheumatoid Arthritis, it’s caused by a formation of urate crystals
  • around the joints - normally in the big toe. It causes a sudden, intense pain in the affected
  • region, often to the point where even the contact of a bedsheet is agony.
  • It’s often mocked as “the rich man’s disease” on account of being made more likely
  • by gluttonous, high-fat diets. British King Henry VIII famously felt the effects, and
  • Hollywood star Jared Leto described having to use a wheelchair due to gout pain after
  • gaining 60 pounds for the movie Chapter 27.
  • But that’s no reason to dismiss the pain Gout causes - in fact, 37% of surveyed sufferers
  • claimed they would trade a winning lottery ticket for an assurance that they would never
  • have another episode.
  • 4. Penile fracture
  • Now I know what you’re thinking, how do you fracture something without any bones?
  • Well contrary to popular opinion, penises can be broken, and it’s normally during
  • intercourse. Sorry fellas.
  • For some context - male genitals operate by expanding the muscle lining called the corpora
  • cavernosa, which fills with blood as the man becomes aroused.
  • With that in mind, penile fractures, which is actually a misnomer for tears [as in tearing
  • a piece of paper], are commonly caused by blunt trauma against an erect penis rupturing
  • that muscle lining - usually accompanied by a loud cracking sound.
  • Without near-immediate surgery, this cringe-inducing condition can cause a bent member and erectile
  • dysfunction. And as you would expect, it leads to supposedly ‘immeasurable pain’.
  • But luckily at least, only around 16 people per year worldwide have the misfortune of
  • such an experience.
  • 3. Tooth Abscess
  • Toothache isn’t all that rare, and there’s a good chance you know how much that hurts
  • - in fact, a 2008 CDC study showed that around 25% of Americans between the ages of 16-64
  • suffer from it. But that’s nothing compared to an abscess
  • - a build-up of pus and dead cells inside the tooth, normally brought on by another
  • dental problem. In the very worst cases the infection can spread to both the heart and
  • brain and can be fatal.
  • Patients often describe abscesses as a 10 on the pain scale to doctors - in other words
  • the most painful thing they’ve ever experienced.
  • If that wasn’t enough, they are suspected to be a possible root cause of Trigeminal
  • Neuralgia and we all know what that can mean.
  • 2. Kidney Stones
  • Kidney Stones are the most famously compared ailment to childbirth. After all, both involve
  • passing an unreasonably large object in some fashion. TV show Friends even made a direct
  • comparison between Joey and Phoebe’s respective deliveries.
  • They’re normally caused by calcium build ups inside the kidney, eventually forming
  • solid shapes. They can become lodged and cause a blockage, meaning that urine builds up and
  • creates dangerous pressure on the organ, not to mention the pain of passing even fragments
  • of it.
  • It can even be fatal if the urine becomes infected.
  • According to Imperial College London research, of 19 women who had experienced both kidney
  • stones and childbirth, 12 claimed their kidneys felt the greater pain.
  • 1.Cluster Headaches
  • Anyone who has ever suffered a cluster headache would probably corroborate claims that it’s
  • the “worst pain known to man”.
  • The condition is characterized by burning and stabbing sensations in the area above
  • the socket, so isn’t strictly a headache in the same sense as a migraine. Nonetheless,
  • sufferers have described it as “like being shot in the face” or a “papercut in the
  • eye” - best not to think about that.
  • It’s referred to as the ‘suicide headache’ in the media, since many doctors have reported
  • patients attempting end the pain however possible. In fact, around 10% of severe non-migraine
  • headache sufferers have committed suicide, nearly 10 times the average.
  • But luckily there is hope for those afflicted. A German trial of a non-hallucinogenic strain
  • of LSD as treatment showed a 100% success rate in reducing both the symptoms and frequency.
  • That was 10 Pains Worse Than Childbirth. What’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt? Let us
  • know in the comments and make sure to like and subscribe. While you’re at it, check
  • out this great Alltime10s video on screen now.

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It's a question for the ages - is there anything more painful than childbirth? We've rounded up 10 medical conditions that might just get there.

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