20 Women Share the Worst Pain They Ever Experienced -- Besides Giving Birth

woman in pain with toothacheBefore you've had a baby, you hear from some moms that childbirth is the worst pain you'll ever experience. But the truth is, for many of us, it's not necessarily the worst -- or at least, not the the only excruciating kind of pain out there!


Need convincing? We asked 20 women about the worst pain they've ever experienced, outside of childbirth, and got a flurry of varied, teeth-gritting, cringe-worthy responses. Seriously, all we can say is, Yow!

1. "Kidney stones are, in my opinion, worse than childbirth! Had one, was rushed to the hospital screaming out curse words one right after the other. Was given morphine, which did absolutely nothing to dull the pain. Was finally given another drug, and the pain finally started to go away. So, now, when a man says he understands how painful childbirth is, if he's had a kidney stone, then, I'll give him a pass!" -- Diane G., Wyckoff, NJ

2. "At my 8-week check-up, I had an MVE (manual vacuum extraction) at the doctor's office after it was discovered that the embryo had stopped growing around 6 weeks. I was given a valium about an hour before, but I can't imagine it did anything to dull the pain. It was the most intense cramping I've ever felt. The doctor kept telling me to try to breathe slowly, so the only way I could do that was to basically sing out every exhale. (It was not a Grammy-winning performance, let me tell you.) When it was over, I asked the nurse if that was anything like labor, and she said, 'labor is ... a little worse.' I'll never again balk at a woman whose had an epidural! That said, I believe that when I'm going through labor, I'll know that the pain will lead to something that I want very badly. I'm sure that the pain of this procedure was worsened by the fact that it lead to something I didn't want to happen." -- Holly, Brooklyn, NY

3. "Hyperemesis gravidarum." (A complication of pregnancy marked by chronic, extreme morning sickness) -- Angela H., Houston, TX

4. "Swimmers' ear was so much worse than labor and lasted over a week until they figured out it wasn't an inner ear infection, and then, went through a few different antibiotics until one worked. It was miserable. The ENT doc looked at me and said I would have no trouble in childbirth if I went through that, and she was right!" -- Rebekah C., St. Louis, MO

5. "I was born with a deformity in my lower back. I never knew til after I had my third son. I suffered for four years with constant sciatic pain, couldn't stand, walk, sit, or lay without excruciating pain. Thankfully, I found a brilliant neurosurgeon last year. After pins, screws, and brackets, I'm a new woman -- and pain-free!!" -- Renee M., Wooster, OH

6. "I was cleaning my bathroom when out of nowhere, a fireball blew up in my face. I burned my hands, face, chest, and I inhaled fire, so I burned my mouth and lungs. I had to be flown to a burn center four hours away, intubated, and in a medically-induced coma. I had second and third degree burns, but thankfully I healed fast and only have scars on my hands. I stayed in the hospital for four weeks." -- Kristen M., Phoenix, AZ

7. "I had an ectopic abdominal pregnancy, and that was definitely the worst pain in my life. I took myself to my OB, and they did an ultrasound and took me into emergency surgery right away for a laparoscopy. They told me if I had waited and come the next day, I would have died because I had so much internal bleeding. They couldn't remove the fetus without damaging my organs, so the little peanut is still there and will always be with me." -- Na'ama I., Marietta, GA

8. "I had a lower lumbar herniated disc. I was just fine, and then, moved wrong, and bam! Instant numbness in my leg and arms and excruciating pain in my back. Because of a car accident, I already struggled with sciatic nerve issues, [but] I honestly felt like I was paralyzed. I spent 12 hours in the ER while they tried to minimize my pain. Morphine didn't even work. To add further insult to injury, the pain was so bad that I actually peed my pants. I had no control of my muscles. For weeks before I could have surgery, any small movement -- a sneeze, cough, or simply turning would cause extreme pain." -- Diana C., Chicago, IL

9. "Fell down Runyon Canyon and broke the fall with my face (because I was holding a Walkman). I had to get plastic surgery. That's when I first discovered hyperbaric oxygen chambers (Michael Jackson-style). It helped me heal much faster!" -- Justine K., Los Angeles, CA

10. "Gorging. I didn't cry or scream during labor, but clogged ducts, when my milk came in shortly after childbirth, however is a different story!" -- Kiersten R., Benton, IL

11. "Losing my love of my life to cancer. It is physical pain! Nausea, chest pain, abdominal pain, back pain, can't list them all. But I joined Gilda's Place and went to weekly sessions with other adults who were in the same situation. It was a godsend. I found a wonderful private therapist, as well. And spending as much time with my sons, who reminded me on a daily basis what a wonderful man their father was." -- Paulyn H., Fair Lawn, NJ

12. "A staph infection that developed from mastitis while breastfeeding. The infection was so severe, I had to have a PICC line put in my right arm that dispersed antibiotics through my heart. I had to stop breastfeeding and ended up having surgery. That was a horrible experience, but I still decided to breastfeed my second child, and still am breastfeeding." -- Angel C., Rio Rancho, NM

13. "Ruptured calf muscle a few years ago! Happened at the gym in a sports drill type class while sprinting backwards. Despite the pounding music, I heard it snap. The pain was the most intense I've experienced ever. Took over 6 weeks to be able to walk pain free." -- Randy R., Short Hills, NJ

14. "Getting a tattoo on my back. It literally felt like there was a jack hammer on my spine while simultaneously scraping an open wound. I somehow taught myself to meditate my way through the pain. I made a special playlist with songs that I knew would relax me." -Jessica N., Scottsdale, AZ

15. "A couple months into my pregnancy, I had started to have quite a bit of trouble breathing, and my back and leg were hurting a lot. At a prenatal appointment, a nurse practitioner told me my pain was sciatica. One month later, I was in so much pain, I couldn't walk. I called the on-call OB who told me to take Tylenol, and if the pain didn't go away come to the ER ... But 'it's really busy, so you're better off just taking the pain meds.' Despite my pain, my husband and I went to the store. As we entered, I grabbed his shoulder and said, 'I'm going down.' And I fainted. Turns out, I had a pulmonary embolism. The ambulance ride to the ER was so excruciating! The WORST pain I had ever and probably will ever have in my life. I thought I was dying. The blood clot had been growing in my leg for months. My leg was never red, never swollen. When it finally broke free, it traveled into my lung. Never take any pains you have lightly. Demand the best treatment for yourself!" -- Nichole P., Akron, OH

16. "The worst pain I have had and still have is my headaches that stem from my C2 and C3 disc being herniated. Unfortunately, surgery at this time in my life is dangerous. I get through it by taking medication and having weekly therapeutic massages. This helps to some extent. I wake up and go to sleep with a headache; it's an all day affair. Basically, I just live with it. We are searching for new cures." -Linda L., Davie, FL

17. "My gallbladder attack. I thought I was going to die. It was 10 times worse than childbirth. I had seven gallstones, two of which had clogged my pancreas. I had pancreatitis and the bile from my liver and pancreas backed up into my intestines and stomach. My whole digestive track was infected. This happened about two months after I gave birth to my son. The unbearable pain coupled with being away from my newborn for days was awful. So glad I had a good surgeon! Once my gallbladder was out, it was almost instant relief." -- Olivia E., Poplar Bluff, MO

18. "The worst pain I've ever experienced other than childbirth was having an ovarian cyst burst. I honestly thought I was going to die. It was a slow, aching pain for a few hours, and then all of a sudden, it was like fire spread throughout my abdomen. The pain was so bad neither Norco or Morphine could change the pain." -- Ashley C., Georgetown, TX

19. "I twisted my ankle so badly chasing my daughter who was learning how to ride a bike. I thought I broke it. I was so focused on her, that I didn't see the hole. It immediately made me want to vomit. It took me a good six months before I could go back to my normal active life." -- Kari C., Somersworth, NH

20. "I can give birth without pain killers, but with oral surgery, I'll take all the drugs you can give me! Childbirth was exhilarating and empowering, but getting a wisdom tooth pulled just sucks!" -- Caitlin D., Charlotte, NC

What's the worst pain you've ever experienced? What helped?


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