Periods suck. That’s just a fact - ask any period-having person and they will confirm that for you. Periods just suck, at the best of times. So when you combine the time of the month with feeling like your uterus is being ripped out of your body and someone is stabbing it with a million knives, you can imagine how much it sucks then.
Period pain, or menstrual cramps, are caused by contractions in the uterus. If it contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels which briefly cuts off the supply of oxygen. It’s this lack of oxygen causes your pain and cramping. Sometimes these cramps can be mild and sometimes they can be severe. They are temperamental and unpredictable too. You can go for months having no cramps at all and then your next period hurts like hell.
I had really bad period pain every single period. I would spend hours curled up on the floor, sobbing and throwing up. My periods were also really heavy, so not only was I in a horrendous amount of pain but I was anaemic and had episodes of fainting from losing a lot of blood. Periods were not at all fun for me.
The pain was that bad that I had to go to the GP to get something stronger. They gave me a tablet which dissolved in water, like an Alka-Seltzer, and then you drank the water. It worked but it tasted vile and when the tablet wore off, the pain was 10x worse than it was before.
I then tried Feminax, which is a tablet made specifically for periods. It was really good while it lasted but then my dad couldn’t find it in the shops, and the store brand version didn’t work as well so I was back to square one.
Eventually, I had no choice but to go back to the GP and ask to go on the contraceptive pill. The pill works by preventing ovulation and thinning your uterus lining which is what comes out of your body in a period so by being thinner, you have less to get rid of and your body doesn’t need to have a period. The pill means I only have a period once every 4 months or so and any pain I get is very minor. It’s heaven compared to the hell I used to go through.
Not everyone gets period pain as I did. Some period pains can be solved by some paracetamol and a hot water bottle. But I know not everyone wants to put a pill in their body. Not everyone believes in medication, and medication doesn’t always work - I know that better than most. The following are some potential alternatives which could help your cramps. They are not guaranteed solutions, and different things work for different people but some of these may work for you.
There may be other underlying causes behind your period pain if they are exceptionally bad or if there are other symptoms. Things such as endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease and adenomyosis can cause unbearable pain, as well as other symptoms.
If your pain is too bad to cope with or your normal pattern of periods changes, then go and see your GP. They may do a pelvic examination or refer you to a gynaecologist in order to rule out any serious underlying medical problems.
So there are 5 tips which can help you to get rid of those pesky cramps and make your period a little easier to bear, and also some recommendations of when to see your doctor. Of course, there are many more solutions and helpful information you can find online from places such as the NHS, WebMD and Planned Parenthood.
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