While it's true that period pain eases as you get older, waiting for that to happen isn't a pleasant prospect. Our experts answer some of the main questions from women about painful periods.
1 of 5 What is the best way to get rid of period pain?
What is the best way to get rid of period pain?
Relaxation, a hot water bottle, or maybe a gentle massage will help most women at least to some extent. You may well find you need painkillers and for these anti-inflammatories are often best. Your body produces a chemical called prostaglandin and anti-inflammatory drugs such as mefenamic acid or naproxen or sometimes Ibuprofen can help to reduce the levels of prostaglandin that help the lining of the womb to shed and can give rise to period pain.
If your period pain is severe, then hormone methods such as the combined oral contraceptive pills or the IUS (a kind of intrauterine hormone releasing coil), can often help. But if your period pain is caused by other conditions such as pelvic inflammatory diseases or endometriosis, the treatment will very much depend on what the condition is.
Worried about your health?
Find a range of women's health pharmacy services, delivered by local providers at a time that suits you
What causes period pain?
Amazingly we don’t absolutely know what causes many women’s period pain. A lot of women get what is called primary dysmenorrhea or period pain with no physical underlying cause. We know your body produces a natural chemical called prostaglandin in the lining of the womb and that helps the lining of the womb to shed.
We think the women who get bad period pain are super sensitive to that prostaglandin or have higher levels of it in their systems. But there’s also secondary period pain, period pain caused by another condition and those conditions include endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease.
How much period pain is too much?
How much period pain is too much? How long is a piece of string? Most women will get some period pain for most if not all periods and it tends to be worst in the first couple of days of your cycle.
But if your period pain is a great deal worse than it used to be, if it goes on for much longer then those first couple of days or if it is having a significant impact on your life, then it may well be worth seeing your doctor to see whether you need investigation for conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis or whether they can help with treatment.
What does period pain feel like?
Period pains are often described as cramps because it can be a cramping feeling down in the lower part of your tummy. Every women’s experience is different; but those pains may be made better by putting a hot water bottle onto them, they can come and go and they can spread to your lower back or your upper thighs.