Period Pain

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What Causes Period Pain?

Most women experience cramping pains during their period. It may vary with each period, with some periods not hurting at all.

The pain is caused by muscle contractions in the walls of the womb. Whilst you are on your period, your womb contracts more than usual to shed its lining. As the womb contracts, it presses on blood vessels which are in your womb.

By pushing on the blood vessels, blood cannot be pumped as efficiently around the womb. This results in less oxygen being supplied to your womb’s muscles. Muscle tissue which has been temporarily cut off from oxygen produces a chemical which triggers the feeling of pain.

Whilst this cycle of contraction pain is going on, your body also produces a chemical called prostaglandins. Their job is to cause the womb muscles to contract even more, resulting in more pain.

Different Types of Period Pain and What They Feel Like

Period pain is felt either in the lower back or in the lower stomach. It can come in short intense spasms of pain, or it can be a dull constant throbbing pain. Some months, you may not experience any pain at all. It is normal for period pains to fluctuate over different months.

If your period pain is particularly bad, you may develop an upset stomach or feel nauseous.

Usually girls experience period pain most intensely during the first two years of starting a period. As you become older, the pain tends to lessen. Some women find that cramps completely stop after having a baby.

Some women can experience severe period pain, known as ‘dysmennorrhea.’ So far, doctors are unsure why women are affected at different levels of severity. One theory is that some women may have built-up prostaglandins which means the muscle contractions are stronger.

What Can Cause Severe Period Pain?

In some cases, severe period pain may be caused by a medical condition. If you notice a change in the pattern of your period, or an increase in severity it is recommended that you go and visit your doctor for advice.

Period cramps can also be caused by:

  • Fibroids – these are non-cancerous tumors which grow in your womb and cause heavier or more painful periods
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease – your womb or fallopian tubes may become infected which causes them to be inflamed and so cause more severe pain
  • Endometriosis – body cells which normally just grow in your womb can begin to grow in other areas such as your fallopian tubes or ovaries. The growth of cells in these areas can cause very severe pain when they shed
  • Adenomyosis – tissue which grows in the womb grows in the muscular wall which causes more painful contractions
  • Contraceptive coils – can cause temporary increase in period pain after first being fitted

Period Pain Relief Tablets and Treatments

There are various ways you can try and treat painful cramps at home. For instance, painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help to manage pain. Stronger painkiller such as codeine and naproxen can also be prescribed by a doctor if necessary. You can buy period pain medication online from our pharmacy.

Other treatments you could try is light exercising, as remaining active can reduce the pain of cramps. Try swimming or walking as these are gentler exercises. Many women find applying heat to the area of pain with a hot water bottle can reduce cramps. Warm showers or baths can also help.

What else can cause Stomach Cramps?

Not all stomach cramps are caused by the menstrual cycle. Illnesses such as food poisoning can also cause painful stomach cramps. If you experience bloating as well as stomach pains, you may be suffering from constipation or trapped wind.

A symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is also cramping pains in the stomach accompanied with diarrhoea. If you suspect you have IBS, keep a food diary to try and eliminate foods which upset your stomach and visit a doctor.

If you suddenly experience extreme abdominal pain, phone your doctor or 111 as it may be the sign of a serious condition. More serious reasons for stomach cramping include appendicitis, stomach ulcers or kidney stones. If you are suspected of having any of these conditions, you will need to go to the hospital.

Treatments for Heavy Periods and Pain

For those who suffer with heavy periods, there are various treatments available. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDS, are tablets which you take at the start of your period until heavy bleeding reduces. Mefenamic acid is a commonly prescribed NSAID used to treat painful cramps caused by heavy bleeding.

Naproxen for severe period pain can also be used as an effective treatment as well as Feminax ultra which is more of a period pain specific medicaiton. Again, these are to be taken at the start of your period to help control the level of pain.

How to Stop Period Pain

At Medicine Direct, we have a variety of medicine available to treat period pain. Our online pharmacy is easy to use. First you must fill out a consultation form for one of our doctors. They will then decide which treatment is most appropriate for you.