What causes period pain?

The reason why you get cramping pain during your periods


Dysmenorrhea is the name given to difficult or painful periods. In your period, the lining of the uterus breaks down. Just before this happens, prostaglandins are released. Prostaglandins are a chemical that is found naturally in your body, but the high levels around your period can cause vomiting/nausea, pain, cramping, diarrhoea and fainting/lightheadedness.

Prostaglandins are involved in inflammation, so anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or other NSAID medications may help to alleviate the pain and cramping.

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Alternatively, hormonal contraceptives i.e. the pill, patch, vaginal ring, implant or IUDs, may help to reduce your period pains. The hormones can help prevent the lining of the uterus from becoming quite so thick, so the effects of your period should be less severe.


Generally speaking, period pains reduce as you get older and your hormones begin to settle into a more natural cycle. But if your period is interfering with your life in a negative way, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor and try and sort something out.

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