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Dealing with Period Pain - Some Tips To Help You Through!

Mar 11, 2008
Why are periods painful?

Every month your uterus or womb prepares an extra lining which is thick and rich in blood. If the egg produced by the ovaries is fertilised, it will be nourished and supported by this lining while it develops into a baby. If the egg is not fertilised, a period starts. During a period, both the egg and extra lining pass out through the vagina, producing the discharge of a period. The womb is a muscle, and contracts to assist this monthly shedding of its lining. Locally acting chemicals called prostaglandins initiate the contractions and when too many are produced this can give rise to the pains and cramps many women feel at the time of their period.

Are some more likely to suffer from period pain?

Approximately a third of all women get some degree of period pain each month. These painful periods are especially common in those who may not have settled into a regular cycle, 15 to 25 year-olds in particular. Periods do tend to get less painful as you get older, sometimes even becoming pain-free if you have had a baby.

Some of the most common symptoms:

Cramping pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen are some of the symptoms associated with period pain. This can spread to the legs and back as well. Each woman's experience of period pain is different. The pain may be a steady ache, or feel like a colicky pain that quickly rises and disappears. The pain can begin a day or two before bleeding starts, or begin at the same time. It can last from only a few hours to three days or more. You might feel like you want to be sick, headachy, tired, faint or just unwell.

Some suggestions to help you ease the pain:

The fact that warmth relaxes muscles may also help to reduce period pain. A hot water bottle pressed against your stomach or back, or a warm bath can work miracles. Massage or aromatherapy can aid relaxation, or you could try gently rubbing or massaging your stomach. Putting a few drops of an essential oil, lavender for example with your bath can also help you to relax. Gentle exercise may also help you take your mind off the discomfort. Some women experience mood swings around the time of their period and the techniques above can help cope with this also.

Is it true that oral contraceptives may help with period pain?

A few months on an oral contraceptive has been known to sort out the problem for some women. This can be a good solution to two needs of course, for women who require protection from pregnancy also. You should consult your doctor to find out whether this would be a suitable option for you.
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