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Painful periods are very common. Many women have some pain in their lower abdomen tummy during their periods, and you may feel this is a normal part of life. You may find that using self-help tips and over-the-counter painkillers can help to stop period pain. The main symptom associated with primary dysmenorrhoea is cramping pain in your lower abdomen tummy.
The pain can also spread to your lower back and your thighs. If you have secondary dysmenorrhoea, besides cramping pain you might also have a feeling of heaviness in your lower abdomen, and back pain. You may also have other symptoms, such as:.
These symptoms may be caused by problems other than painful periods. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your GP for advice. Your GP will ask about your symptoms. They may also ask you about your medical history and how your periods are affecting your day-to-day life. For a vaginal examination, your GP will put gloved, lubricated fingers into your vagina to gently feel for anything different in your womb or cervix. If your GP thinks there may be another specific cause for your symptoms or your symptoms are severe, they may refer you to a gynaecologist.
In some cases, your gynaecologist might recommend that you have other tests such as a laparoscopyan MRI scan or a hysteroscopy. The endometriosis uk girls mega link in our Women's Health Hub offers a wide range of expert advice, information and tools. Most women never see their doctor about period pain and manage the symptoms themselves at home. Stopping smoking may help to ease your symptoms in future.
If you have primary dysmenorrhoea, you may be able to ease your symptoms with over-the-counter painkillers or with self-help techniques such as those listed in the section above. There are also treatments that your GP can prescribe for you.
If you have secondary dysmenorrhoea, your doctor will try to find out what condition is causing your symptoms and will discuss your treatment options with you. The painkillers most usually used for painful periods are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs. Ibuprofen, which you can buy over the counter, is one of these, and your GP might prescribe others such as mefenamic acid.
NSAIDs can ease pain and cramping by blocking the production of chemicals called prostaglandins. See our section on causes of painful periods for more information about these chemicals. If you're not trying to get pregnant, hormonal contraception may help to reduce some of your symptoms. Your GP may suggest the combined contraceptive pill, hormone implant, progesterone-only pill or an intrauterine system IUS. Talk to your GP about the best option for you. Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine carefully and, if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist.
This is an operation to remove your womb uterus. This would only be suggested if no other specific cause or successful treatment for your painful periods has been found. Talk to your gynaecologist for more information. Some women use complementary therapies and medicines to ease the symptoms of painful periods.
There is currently no clear evidence that herbal medicines or dietary supplements have any effect on painful periods. Researchers have also looked at the use of acupuncture and acupressure, and neither of these therapies has any clear effect. More research is needed to show if these are helpful for women with painful periods or not. Primary dysmenorrhoea isn't caused by a specific condition.
Doctors think that the main cause is an increase in the amount of prostaglandins in your uterus womb around the time of your period. These are chemicals that cause the muscles of your uterus to tighten. This tightening of the muscles can temporarily stop the blood supply to your uterus, which causes your pain. So, treatments that reduce the amount of prostaglandins produced, such as NSAID medicines, reduce your symptoms. Secondary dysmenorrhoea can be caused by a of different conditions. These include the following. An intrauterine system that releases hormones also known as an IUS or coil may help uk girls mega link painful periods.
But a contraceptive intrauterine device IUDespecially one that contains copper, can sometimes cause secondary dysmenorrhoea. You may develop painful periods in the first few months after the device is fitted. If this continues to be a problem, your GP or gynaecologist may suggest having the IUD removed and using a different type of contraception.
Sometimes painful are caused by an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis or fibroids. In this case, doctors think the main cause is an increase in the uk girls mega link that cause the muscles of your uterus to tighten. This tightening of the muscles can temporarily stop the blood supply to your uterus, which causes you pain. You may be able to ease the symptoms of painful periods with over-the-counter painkillers or with self-help techniques. However, if there is an underlying cause for your pain secondary dysmenorrhoeathat condition may affect your fertility.
Secondary dysmenorrhoea can be caused by conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids and endometriosis, all of which can make it more difficult to get pregnant. No one knows for sure whether exercise specifically eases period pains, but it may well help. You should aim to do some activity every day. The recommended healthy level of physical activity is minutes two and a half hours of moderate activity, spread over a week in sessions of 10 minutes or more.
This means doing an activity that leaves you warm and out of breath, but still able to talk. You may also find gentle exercise such as yoga may help to ease your symptoms during a period. Our short survey takes just a few minutes to complete and helps us to keep improving our health information.
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Any information about a treatment or procedure is uk girls mega link, and does not necessarily describe that treatment or procedure as delivered by Bupa or its associated providers. The information contained on this and in any third party websites referred to on this is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment.
Third party websites are not owned or controlled by Bupa and any uk girls mega link may be able to access and post messages on them. Bupa is not responsible for the content or availability of these third party websites. We do not accept advertising on this. For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the About our health information section. Back to top Menu. Types of painful periods The medical name for painful periods is dysmenorrhoea. There are two types of painful periods. Primary dysmenorrhoea. This is period pain that isn't caused by a specific condition.
The pain usually begins when your period arrives each month and lasts for between one and three days. Secondary dysmenorrhoea. This is pain caused by an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis or fibroids. The pain may come on at other times during your monthly cycle, as well as when you have your period.
It can also get worse, rather than better, as your period goes on. Symptoms associated with painful periods The main symptom associated with primary dysmenorrhoea is cramping pain in your lower abdomen tummy. As well as pain, you might have some other symptoms before or during your period, such as: tiredness feeling sick or being sick diarrhoea a headache bloating emotional symptoms If you have secondary dysmenorrhoea, besides cramping pain you might also have a feeling of heaviness in your lower abdomen, and back pain.
You may also have other symptoms, such as: heavy or irregular periods bleeding in-between periods unusual discharge from your vagina sex may be painful, and you may bleed afterwards These symptoms may be caused by problems other than painful periods. Diagnosis of painful periods Your GP will ask about your symptoms.
Your GP may also suggest the following tests. Using a swab to take a sample from inside your vagina, to check for infection. Blood tests to check for anaemia and other conditions.Uk girls mega link
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Painful periods (dysmenorrhoea)