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What causes Period Pains and how to stop them

Period pains are a normal part of your menstrual cycle. The pain is most often from menstrual cramping which can feel like a throbbing, cramping pain in the lower abdomen. Some women suffer with more intense discomfort than others, meaning symptoms can at times be debilitating, leaving women with unbearable period pain during menstruation. Severe period pain can be relieved with different types of period pain relief. Read on to find out how to get rid of period pain and how to help period cramps, as well as different types of period pain relief.  

What causes period pain?

The most common type of period pain is primary dysmenorrhea. It is caused by having too many prostaglandins – chemicals which are made in your uterus. The pain is caused by the walls of the womb contracting, causing the oxygen supply and blood to be cut off, causing the womb to release prostaglandins that tighten and relax, which causes cramps. This lower abdominal pain is what the majority of women experience during menstruation, it can often spread to the back and thighs, causing period back pain. The pain can sometimes begin a few days before your period and usually lasts for a few days. However, it can last longer. Usually, period pain is worse when you are younger and severe period pain will lessen as you age, or after you have given birth.

Secondary dysmenorrhea typically starts later in life. Endometriosis and other conditions which affect your reproductive organs cause this kind of pain. It often gets worse over time, causing unbearable period pain in some cases. Whilst primary dysmenorrhea usually begins a few days before your period, secondary dysmenorrhea usually begins before your period starts and will continue even after your period ends.

There is no doubt that period pains can be excruciating – a recent study into menstrual cramps proved that in some cases, period pains can actually be more painful than heart attacks. The pressure on your uterus during menstruation can be just as high as it would be during labour. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you know how to ease severe period pain.

How to stop period pain

There are many different methods of how to help period cramps. In most cases, period pain can be treated at home. Painkillers are the best option to combat lower abdominal pain. Some great options are ibuprofen or aspirin. There are also specific period pain tablets which are available for you to take. These tablets typically contain ibuprofen or similar over-the-counter painkillers. In cases of severe period pain, your doctor may prescribe you codeine or naproxen in order to ease symptoms. If you are struggling with unbearable period pain, it’s a good idea to see your GP as this could be a sign of a health condition such as endometriosis.

If you want to know how to stop period pain, heat is a great natural remedy to cramps. Putting a hot water bottle or other form of heating pad on your stomach will relieve pain. If you are suffering from period back pain, place the source of heat on your lower back instead. Alternatively, having a warm bath will achieve the same effect. Warmth relaxes the uterus and induces the widening of tight blood vessels, which in turn improves blood flow to the uterus, reducing period pains. Turmeric tea is an effective anti-inflammatory which can offer period pain relief by relaxing your muscles. If you feel up to it, exercising is a great way to help ease discomfort. On days when your bleeding is lighter, it’s a great idea to go for a small walk, cycle or a gentle swim.  When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins which block pain receptors in your brain, so working out on your period may help to ease your pain.

There is no single correct method of how to get rid of period pain, but it’s important to have a good knowledge of different pain relief methods in order to help you ease your discomfort during your menstrual cycle. If you are worried about unbearable period pain or your periods have become heavier or irregular, speak to your GP.

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