A new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology reports that menstrual pain — like annoying noises and tedious computer tasks — hurts more in retrospect, if we anticipate experiencing it again:
In the culminating field study of 180 women (average age 29), those whose menstrual periods had ended fewer than three days earlier or who expected their periods within three days remembered their last period as significantly more painful than women in the middle of their cycle (none were currently menstruating).
Oddly enough, I found this information about the study in article in Computers, Networks and Communication. They report that “[i]n a series of eight studies exposing people to annoying noise, subjecting them to tedious computer tasks, or asking them about menstrual pain, participants recalled such events as being significantly more negative if they expected them to happen again soon.”
The researchers suspect that this is an adaptive reaction; that is, people use the memory to steel themselves against future pain.