We’ve all heard about period pain, and there’s no surprise why - it’s one of the most common gynaecological complaints in young women.
It’s commonly referred to as period pain or menstrual cramps, but the medical term is dysmenorrhoea, meaning: Dys – painful; meno – month; rrhea – flow.
While temporary period pain is common, severe, prolonged pain is not ‘normal’. So when should you see your doctor?
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, it is most common for women to experience period pain at the start of their menstruation cycle rather than the middle or end. Symptoms include:
- Pain in the abdominal area, that may spread towards the back and legs,
- Feeling faint.
The Jean Hailes for Women’s Health institute states that period pain is only considered ‘normal’ if:
- The pain is there only on the first one or two days of your period,
- The pain goes away if you take period pain medications or use the contraceptive pill, and
- Your ability to do your normal activities is not impaired.
It’s important to see your doctor if your period pain doesn’t fall into these categories.
How to get relief
The Department of Health recommends some simple at-home strategies you can try to reduce period pain:
- Apply a heat pad or hot water bottle to the painful area,
- Have a warm bath or shower,
- Massage the painful area gently,
- Gentle exercise such as swimming or cycling,
- Stretching exercises, like yoga or pilates.
If these don’t help, speak with your Ramsay Pharmacist about other treatment options, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as naproxen or ibuprofen, or hormonal treatments on prescription that have been shown to be effective in reducing period pain.