Dealing with painful periods

From excruciating pains to headaches and feeling nauseous, painful periods can leave some women dreading that time of the month

However it doesn’t have to be like this. Mr David Ross is a Consultant Gynaecologist at BMI St Edmunds Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and he has the following advice:

1. Although many women just want to curl up with a hot water bottle, some studies have shown that regular exercise at that time of the month can reduce the impact of period pains. 

2. Simple painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be obtained from a pharmacist.  Taken regularly during the painful days of your period these are effective for many women

3. Other tablets in the same family of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can only be obtained with a prescription.  One of these, mefenamic acid (also known as Ponstan) is also very good if your periods are heavy as well as painful.

4. The combined contraceptive pill is often very effective and also helps to make periods lighter if heavy flow is a problem. 

5. Other hormone-based contraceptive options, such as the implant, the progestogen-releasing IUS (Mirena®), the depo injection or even the newer progestogen-only (mini) pill can also be very effective if simpler measures don’t work. 

6. Don’t suffer in silence!  If you have tried everything and it’s just not working, go back to your GP.  You might have an underlying problem.

See also: Detecting Ovarian Cancer

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