Seven tips to help when period pain strikes

Posted on: 19 June 2017 by 50connect editorial

Don’t just put up with the pain, be proactive and find what works best for you.

Stomach Pains

Gynaecologist and period pain specialist Mr Brady says: “Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea to use its medical name, can be extremely painful and frustrating. They are most common in the few days of period bleeding, but can sometimes also begin in the days leading up to the period."

GP Dr Dawn Harper advises: “Just because it’s a regular and common occurrence, doesn’t mean you should put up with the pain caused by menstrual cramps. Be proactive with your pain relief and try different techniques from the list below to find what works best for you. Fast and effective pain relief for your period is readily available from your local pharmacist. My best advice is to ask for a combination painkiller to give you the benefit of both paracetamol and ibuprofen in one convenient tablet. Being proactive can enable you to effectively manage your pain so you can carry on with your day. Also remember that you should see your GP if you have severe period pain, if your normal pattern changes (become heavier or irregular), if you get bleeding between periods, if you get a thick or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, or if you experience pain during sex.”

Give yourself an abdominal massage

A light, circular massage around your lower abdomen can help reduce pain. Alternatively, try some stretches aimed at easing the pain. For instance, lie on your back with your legs straight out, bend one knee and pull it up to your chin. Hug your knee with both hands and hold the position, then repeat on the other side.

Hot water bottle

Reach for the heat relief

Using a hot water bottle on your tummy can help reduce pain from menstrual cramps. That’s because the heat helps to relax the abdominal muscles that are contracting during your period. As a relaxing alternative, opt for a warm bath. Applying heat to your body twice a day can help make a big difference.

Avoid triggers

Certain foods and drink may actually make the cramps worse. Although it can be tempting to reach for the chocolate or wine this may actually make the cramps worse for some women. If you note that anything does seem to make it worse, then try and avoid these triggers if possible.

Effective pain relief

Over-the-counter oral pain relief is a go-to option for period pain. There are now non-addictive options available in pharmacy to help you step-up your pain relief whilst enabling you to carry on with your day with as few side effects as possible. For example, products that combine paracetamol and ibuprofen in a single convenient tablet mean you get the tried and tested double action pain relief, as well as a more convenient dosage schedule. Speak to your pharmacist who can advise on the best treatment plan. 

Consider oral contraceptives

If menstrual pain regularly cripples you, then you may wish to consider taking an oral contraceptive. While formulated for birth control, these pills can also help lighten blood flow, lessen nausea and reduce stomach pain. Speak to your doctor to find out more.

Try Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

A TENS machine is a small battery-operated device that delivers a mild electrical current to your muscles, which can help reduce pain. The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain.

Getting moving

It might sound the last thing you feel like doing, but gentle exercise can help distract you from feelings of pain and discomfort. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers. Go for walk, for a light jog or do some yoga stretches in the comfort of your home, whatever works for you.

Guide provided by Combogesic

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