Managing Period Pain (Dysmenorrhoea)
Having some discomfort during your period pain (also known as dysmenorrhoea) is part of the menstrual cycle. The sensation is usually felt as muscle cramps in the stomach or abdomen which can spread to the back and thighs. This sensation can vary with each period but unfortunately, the level of discomfort can be felt as pain at times. The pain usually lasts between 48 to 72 hours and usually worst when the bleeding is heaviest.
Causes of Period Pain
Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the uterus contracts when trying to expel the blood during menstruation. When the muscle wall contracts, it compresses the blood vessels and reduces the blood supply (and oxygen) to the uterus thereby triggering the painful sensation. The pain is worse when you have other conditions in your uterus such as endometriosis, fibroids, contraceptive IUCD fitted in your uterus or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Management of Period Pain
1. Pain relieving medications
Mild discomfort can be relived by Paracetamol. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen or Mefenamic acid and COX-2 inhibitors such as Celecoxib or Etoricoxib can receive more severe pain. These medications work best if you start taking them just before the pain starts.
2. Hormone treatment
Contraceptive pill can be taken to help manage period pain in the longer term. You will need to discuss this option with your doctor or gynaecologist.
3. Conservative Treatment
Placing a warm heat pad or hot water bottle (wrapped in a tea towel) on your abdomen may help reduce the discomfort. Light gentle massage around the lower abdomen can help distract you from the painful sensation.
4. Lifestyle changes
Some supplements such as Magnesium, Fish oil, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Essential Fatty Acids or Evening Primrose have been recommended to help with pain relief.
When to see your Doctor or Gynaecologist
You should consult your doctor and have a physical check up and/or ultrasound scan when you experience the following;
- irregular or unusually heavy periods
- foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- bleeding in between periods
- pain during sexual intercourse
- pain lasting longer than your normal period
Discuss the treatment options with your doctor, gynaecologist or pharmacist
Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such.
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