Most people wrongly assume that a woman’s menstrual cycle only creates mild discomfort that lasts for a few days at most. However, in the UK, nine out of ten women report suffering from serious pain that occurs during their menstruation, and that pain can often be crippling.
Period pain is actually caused by a series of contractions in a woman’s uterus. These contractions restrict and compress the blood vessels in the wall of the muscles in the uterus, subsequently cutting off a supply of blood to the womb. This leads to a lack of oxygen which can cause severe pain and discomfort in the abdominal area.
Known scientifically as Dysmenorrhea, period pain also causes loss of productivity at work and school. One report found that 52 per cent of women workers see their work lives negatively affected due to period pain, though only roughly a quarter of those women reported their discomfort to their bosses and coworkers.
Fortunately, there are several different ways to treat period pain. Below, we take a look at different treatment options, including natural remedies, medical options, and stronger medical alternatives for severe cases of period pain.
The National Health Service (NHS) of the UK recommends several natural remedies and/or prevention strategies to help women suffering from mild to severe period pain. These include applying a heat pad to the abdominal area. Similarly, hot baths or showers are another way to reduce pain. While it might be hard to escape your work life for a quick hot shower, light massages in the stomach area can also help to assuage pain.
Light exercise such as walking or cycling, and especially relaxing exercise such as yoga or Pilates can also help to reduce pain, mostly through helping distract you from the discomfort you are experiencing. For more serious cases, a transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) can also be used. Despite its large name, this little device simply sends mild electrical current to your stomach area which helps to relax muscles and relieve period pain that is associated with the contractions in your uterus.
Other natural remedies include drinking chamomile tea. One recent study found that taking chamomile tea can help to reduce the pain associated with menstrual cramps. Chamomile tea might be able to increase your levels of glycine, which is an important amino acid to help ease muscle spasms. Glycine can help to relax the uterus and it is also a nerve relaxant which can help to act as a mild and natural sedative.
From a prevention perspective, making sure that you include plenty of vitamin D3 in your diet is a great way to avoid the pain from menstrual cramps. Eating plenty of fish, oysters, shrimp, egg yolks, and mushrooms is a great way to get the needed dosage of vitamin D3 to help reduce your period pain.
In some cases, period pain can be so severe that natural remedies and prevention techniques are simply not strong enough to effectively help women deal with the pain. Over the counter medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are good and safe alternatives to deal with pain. These over the counter medications can be taken as soon as bleeding or cramping start. For women who regularly suffer from severe menstrual pain, it is also possible to take regular doses of ibuprofen or paracetamol the day before a woman expects her period to begin. This strategy works best for women who have regular periods and who want to control cramping pains before they begin.
For Severe Cases
In some cases, over the counter painkillers will simply not be strong enough to effectively get rid of menstrual cramps and pain. Co-dydramol is a mixture of paracetamol and dihydrocodeine. It is prescribed by general practitioners for mild to severe aches and pains including migraines, join pain, toothache, and period pain.
Most GPs will prescribe co-dydramol for women who are not responsive to ibuprofen and other milder pain medicines. You can buy co-dydramol online to help with severe menstrual pains.
While menstrual pain is a recurring issue that many women will deal with over the course of their lives, there are several strategies to deal with this pain so that it doesn’t interrupt your everyday life.