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10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth

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Jan 28, 2018

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10 Medical Conditions More Painful Than Childbirth
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  • 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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