We all know that periods are a pain in the ass. But for a lot of women the menstrual cramps that come with their monthly cycle can be more than a slight niggle and inconvenience. In fact, Professor John Guillebaud at University College London revealed that research carried out in 2016 showed that period pain can be “as bad as having a heart attack“!
The Professor even goes so far as to say that men just don’t get it. Well, that’s one guy who gets it. Only a few billion to go, ladies!
It’s just nature, right
Maybe it’s the fact that we go through menstruation every damn month of our fertile years that the majority of men (and some women) just don’t get it. Something that is so regular, so not-out-of-the-ordinary couldn’t possibly be debilitating and painful, right? Those of us that suffer obviously know otherwise. Just as every woman experiences a different flow (yes, I said flow – get over it before I mention clots!), a woman’s menstruation can also change throughout her life. Early puberty may be met with vile period pains, which ease into adulthood, then things get very messy after giving birth a couple of times and the cramps return with a whole heap of new symptoms into pre-menopause.
What must be stressed is that extreme pain during menstruation is not normal. It may not be out of the ordinary but it deserves to be investigated by a sympathetic doctor to rule out any underlying causes. Finding a sympathetic doctor may just prove to be more of a pain than the cramp you’re trying to treat though.
Ways to alleviate period pains
There is no one cure-all for menstrual cramps – dysmenorrhea is the technical term. However, with a bit of trial and error you may just find something that either alleviates those period pains altogether or at least allows you to function semi-normally during the ‘bad days’!
- A heat pack or hot water bottle placed on the lower abdomen
- Exercise – some women find that working out can help to reduce cramping
- Relaxation – just as much as exercise can help, so can taking it easy (find a happy medium!)
- Pain relief including ibuprofen and paracetamol (always read the label)
- Combined contraceptive pill – some women find this reduces the effects
- Tranexamic acid can be prescribed by a doctor for those who experience heavy bleeding
- Intrauterine Contraceptive Device – IUCD (known as Mirena or Jaydess) – speak to your doctor about how this could help
- Acupuncture or acupressure have been known to be helpful for some
- Homeopathy can offer various remedies