Period pain can have a significant effect on your life. We’ve all been there; wanting to do nothing but curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle. Sadly, life still happens, and we have to drag yourself to work/school and get on with the day. The severity of cramps is often underestimated, even amongst women as not everyone experiences them in the same way. Painkillers can be a staple every month, easing the pain and allowing you to forget the pain and carry on with our daily schedule.
Ibuprofen is generally deemed to be more effective at easing period pain than paracetamol. It reduces pain while also relieving swelling in the body, making it ideal for cramps. It’s also possible to take both types of painkiller together- never take two types of painkillers at the same time, make sure to space them apart. It is best to take Ibuprofen with food or on a full stomach.
If you experience issues with your period, including PMS and irregularity, the combined pill is a good option for managing this. It makes your period lighter, less painful and easier to track. Other methods include:
When you get your period, the walls inside your womb contract while the womb lining is shed, in the form of menstrual blood. As your womb is shedding it's lining, the blood vessels are constricting so that blood and oxygen cannot flow into the womb- this only happens temporarily while you are having your period. The lack of oxygen triggers chemicals signals which the body manifests as pain.
Period pain can vary between women. Some may experience cramps for a couple of days leading up to their period while others might only experience pain in the first day or two. If you have an IUD (Intrauterine device), this can also cause painful periods, particularly in the first couple of months.
There is a possibility that your period pain could be linked to an undiagnosed health condition. For example:
Most of the time, period pain is normal. However, if you are experiencing pain that's having an impact on your day to day life or you're having other symptoms (excessively heavy bleeding, pain in between periods, anything out of the ordinary) then report this to your GP. It can be difficult to diagnose conditions like endometriosis, so don't feel discouraged if you need to get a second opinion or make return visits to report ongoing symptoms.
NHS> Period Pain: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/period-pain/
Endometriosis UK> Understanding Endometriosis https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/understanding-endometriosis
Health Line> What causes painful menstrual periods and how do I treat them? https://www.healthline.com/health/painful-menstrual-periods