What Causes Painful Periods & Ways To Avoid It

It’s normal to experience minor pains, cramps or discomfort during menstruation. However, if you are experiencing severe pains that cause you to miss out on work or school, you need to consult a gynecologist in Portland who can help you treat the problem. Before you book an appointment with your gynecologist, it’s a good idea to understand the causes of painful periods and learn how to treat the issue at home.

Painful Periods or Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea is the scientific term for painful periods. It is of two types:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea – recurrent abdominal pain and cramps due to uterine contractions during menstruation
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea – abdominal pain due to reproductive system disorders

The good news is that your GP can treat these problems.

Symptoms Of Primary Dysmenorrhea

Generally, period pain or cramp can start one or two days before you begin bleeding. The pain can range from mild to severe and spread from the lower abdomen to the thighs and back. It usually lasts from 12 to 72 hours, depending on the severity of the condition. Some women also experience other symptoms like vomiting, fatigue, nausea and diarrhea.

What Are The Causes Of Painful Periods?

Here are the top risk factors that might cause painful menstruation:

  • If you have a family history of painful periods
  • If you bleed heavily
  • If you are under the age of 20
  • If you have irregular periods
  • If you have a history of smoking
  • If you’ve never had a baby or been pregnant before
  • If you reach puberty before the age of 11
  • If you have other underlying medical conditions like PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome), endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or cervical stenosis.

Effective Home Treatments For Painful Periods

Here are some of the home treatment remedies that can help you relieve painful menstrual periods:

  • Gently massaging your lower abdomen and pelvic region can help you reduce the pain. Alternatively, you can also take a warm bath or use a heating pad to relieve the pain.
  • Regular physical activity can help you avoid menstrual cramps and pain. Try to get at least 150 minutes of light to moderate exercise every week. Hit the gym or do any favorite physical activity like swimming, running or aerobics.
  • Eat light, nutritious meals before and during your periods to avoid painful cramps. Include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits to give your body the essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga to improve your mood and make you feel better.
  • To reduce the symptoms, you can also take over-the-counter pain-relieving drugs like Ibuprofen or Naproxen.
  • Include dietary supplements like Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1, Vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and calcium in your daily diet.
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol, salt, sugar and caffeine to prevent bloating.

When To See A GP?

Painful periods can be treated at home with the right lifestyle changes. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, then it’s time to call your GP:

  • You have continuing pain, especially after the insertion of an IUD
  • If you pass blood clots
  • If you experience pelvic pain when you aren’t bleeding
  • If you have sudden cramping with fever, nausea or diarrhea
  • If you notice foul-smelling vaginal discharge

Remember that you don’t have to live with period pains. The correct diagnosis and treatment can relieve you from painful menstruation. If you’re looking for the best women’s healthcare in Portland, book an appointment with Dr. Noelle King PDX. A specialist in women’s care, Dr. Noelle King, can help diagnose the underlying reasons for your painful periods and provide you with the proper treatment to alleviate and prevent symptoms.