Period pain or Menstrual cramp is common in women and is a normal part of the menstrual cycle. It occurs as a dull or intense pain in the lower abdomen, this pain can spread to the back and the thighs. Pain can also vary with each period. Some periods can cause very little or no pain and others may be very painful. The pain varies from woman to woman.
There are two major types of Painful Period
This occurs in women who have just started their period. Normally starts 6-12 months after the first period. Occurs in teenagers and women in their 20’s. Pain starts a day before menstruation or in the first two days. It’s accompanied by vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, and headache. Primary Dysmenorrhoea improves as the woman gets older, most women will also notice a change in the pain levels after having children.
This occurs in women over the age of 30. It is associated with lower abdominal throughout the period plus some other symptoms like bleeding after sexual intercourse, and pain during sexual intercourse, Vaginal bleeding between periods, very heavy bleeding
This occurs as a result of underlying conditions like endometriosis, endometrial polyps, ovarian cyst, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease. These are all conditions of the uterus that requires attention from a specialist.
NB: if you experience a change in the pattern of your period or any of these symptoms I have just mentioned then visit your doctor for a thorough check to be carried out
Period cramps can also be caused by an Intrauterine device IUD. This is a type of contraception made from copper and plastic that fits inside the womb. It can cause period pain, especially during the first few months after it has been inserted.
What Causes Painful Menstrual Periods
In women mild contractions normally occur in the womb without the woman realising it. During menstruation, the contractions get so intense to enable shedding of the womb lining. When this occurs blood vessels in the womb become compressed and for a brief period blood- flow and oxygen supply to the womb ceases. In the absence of oxygen, the tissue in the womb releases a chemical called prostaglandin and this chemical encourages the muscles of the womb to contract more increasing the intensity of the pain.
How to treat Period pain
Ibuprofen is the best drug that can provide menstrual pain relief, however, it is not suitable for people with asthma, stomach, heart, kidney or liver problems
Paracetamol can also be used but it has been shown not to reduce the pain as much as Ibuprofen. Codeine can be added when stronger pain relief is required.
Sometimes uterine smooth muscle relaxants can be used.
Also, minerals supplements like thiamine, pyridoxine, vitamin E, and fish oils have been proven to help but always speak to the pharmacist before you use these products because they can interact with some drugs you are taking or a condition that you are suffering from.
If these painkillers do not work then the Doctor can prescribe stronger pain killers for you
In addition to these, there are some self-help measures that you can try-
Smoking is thought to increase the risk of period pain so stopping smoking can help.
Women who are overweight can also suffer severe symptoms so managing your weight can help a great deal
Reducing alcohol consumption because excess alcohol consumption can aggravate pain.
Being active can reduce the pain so a gentle exercise like swimming or walking is advised
Heat can be helpful- use of heat pads or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and placed on the tummy can reduce the pain
A warm bath and shower can relieve the pain and help relax.
Massage – Light circular massage with essential oils like lavender around your lower abdomen may help reduce the pain
Relaxation activities may help distract you from the pain
Use of the Tens machine- This is a small device that uses a battery, It delivers electrical current to the tummy and helps reduce the pain.
Eat a balanced diet all the time so you replenish your mineral and iron levels. Green leafy vegetables are a good source of iron
Disclaimer: This video is solely for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. contents have been created from gathering information from various sources and from experience. seek medical advice from an appropriate healthcare practitioner if you need help with any medical problem.