periods how to relieve them? Causes and advice
It's common knowledge: periods, it hurts! But why does it hurt? What are the reasons behind the menstrual pain that affects 50-80% of women? How can they be relieved? Are they a sign of a more serious problem? We'll try to answer all your questions in this article.
What are periods painful?
periods last between 2 and 7 days every month for several decades. That's no mean feat. Over all these years, the sensations experienced with each cycle can vary, being more or less unpleasant.
Also known as dysmenorrhea, painful periods are caused by contractions of the uterus. This is an abnormal periods disorder, so to better understand it, let's take a quick look at how periods works:
- During the cycle, the uterus prepares to receive an embryo. The inner lining, the endometrium, thickens;
- S'there is no fertilization, the endometrium is expelled, it is the blood of the periods ;
- To allow expulsion of the endometrium, the uterus contracts. These contractions are painful. They are triggered by hormones: prostaglandins.
Painful periods can be primary or secondary:
- Primary: occurs during adolescence. During the first cycles, the amount of prostaglandins secreted by the body may be too high, causing severe pain. This phenomenon is unpleasant, but generally not serious;
- Secondary: menstrual pain appears later, after several cycles. This may be a sign of a problem, so it's best to consult a doctor or gynaecologist to find the cause of painful periods.
My periods are painful: is this normal?
As explained above, pain during periods is not uncommon. They are caused by the uterus contracting to eliminate the endometrium. So it's normal... to a certain extent. If the pain is so intense as to become disabling, it's not normal. You need to see your gynecologist.
What are the symptoms of painful menstruation?
In addition to pain during periods, there areother symptoms to watch out for. If you experience them, see your doctor to make sure they're not a sign of a more serious problem:
- Severe pelvic pain in the lower abdomen, which may radiate to the back, perineum, abdomen or rectum;
- Nausea ;
- Vomiting ;
- Very heavy menstrual cramps ;
- Spasms ;
- Headaches ;
- Iron anemia;
- Pain during sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia.
What causes periods pain?
Painful menstruation is therefore caused by contractions of the uterus thanks to prostaglandins, but it may haveother, more worrying sources.
They may be the sign ofgenital infections, such as mycosis, or ofinappropriate hormonal contraception.
They can also be caused by polyps in the luterus or ovarian disorders.
In the most serious cases, painful periods can be caused by endometriosis. This disease is characterized by the development of uterine mucosa in places where it shouldn't be: the fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, bladder or abdominal cavity.
How to relieve periods pain?
In most cases, there are solutions to relieve painful periods . You can even choose between medicated or natural methods.
A hot-water bottle is a must-have for soothing pain, as the heat helps to relax the muscles of the uterine wall, which are particularly strained. You can also try relaxation or meditation exercises to work on your breath. Contrary to popular belief, sport is a great ally. It helps maintain mobility, as well as tissue elasticity. Finally, diet plays a key role. We recommendavoiding refined sugar, caffeine andalcohol at periods. You should give priority to vitamins, magnesium and calcium.
To soothe the pain associated with periods, you can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. We recommendavoiding aspirin. Aspirin thins the blood, which can lead to bleeding. Another solution is to take or change pills. Some pills are uninterrupted and "suppress" periods. This means no more uterine contractions, and therefore no more pain.
When should I see a doctor about periods ?
If your periods becomes very painful, even though you've been on your period for several years, you should consult your doctor. The same applies if these pains are accompanied by other symptoms. Listen to your body, and don't wait too long if you have the slightest doubt.
We remind you that you should visit your gynecologist once a year fora check-up. Even s'there's nothing to worry about, an examination will confirm that all is well.
What is the difference between periods and endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects around 10% of women in France. Learning to recognize the various symptoms is the key to making a diagnosis as quickly as possible, so that endometriosis can be treated as effectively as possible.
Symptoms of endometriosis
Although pain during periods should not necessarily be a cause for concern, there are certain signs that may point to endometriosis:
- Cyclical or even systematic pain ;
- They are resistant to analgesics;
- They prevent you from getting up, going to work, going to school, seeing your family and friends, and so on.
Endometriosis isoften accompanied by very heavy periods . Bleeding may also occur outside periods.
Diagnosis of endometriosis by a gynecologist
To find out if you have endometriosis, you need to see a gynecologist. He or she will carry out a number of tests to find out. In particular, he or she may prescribe an ultrasound or MRI scan for a complete work-up. It's often by eliminating all other possible causes that the diagnosis of endometriosis is confirmed.
It is a condition that is frequently detected late. Shile there are no definitive treatments for endometriosis, the same methods of relief used for painful periods are valid. Sometimes, surgery is performed to remove excess uterine lining.
How do you manage blood loss at periods ?
Painful periods are common, at least during part of a menstrual period. However, if the pain is particularly severe or worsens, you should consult your doctor. They may be the sign of an infection or a disease such as endometriosis.
For maximum comfort during painful periods periods, rely on menstrual briefs. They offer optimum comfort to prevent further pain. What's more, several models are available in a variety of sizes and in 3 flows: light, intermediate or heavy.
For every pair of periods Elia panties purchased, we donate a portion of the profits to an association fighting endometriosis.
Our tips for soothing painful periods !
To help you combat painful periods , here are a few remedies and methods to try. However, if natural or non-medical methods don't work, it's best to consult your GP as soon as possible.
Certain herbal teas can help reduce the pain of periods, particularly cramps and digestive problems. Many plants are recommended: chamomile, raspberry leaves, alchemilla and fennel. What's more, adopting herbal teas to relieve painful periods is economical. So there's no reason not to try this solution!
Essential oils, very popular in organic cosmetics, have many properties when used for massage or in a hot bath. We recommend tarragon, clary sage and basil, to be used in a few drops at most. These grandma's remedies for periods are not without risk: we recommend you carry out an allergy test before using them! Put a drop of oil in your elbow and wait half an hour to see if a skin allergy develops.
Acupressure or acupuncture
Acupressure and acupuncture come from traditional Chinese medicine. Acupressure points are used to reduce menstrual flow and the pain associated with periods. Some points are better known than others: the Taichong point, the lower Tian point or the Sanyinjao point. You can simply apply theseacupressure pointsto reduce periods pain yourself at home and see the results.
The FAQ of painful periods
What causes periods pain?
Pain during periods is due to contractions of the uterus to evacuate blood from the uterine wall.
How to soothe painful periods ?
To relieve the pain, you can take painkillers. You can also use a hot-water bottle to relax the muscles. In some cases, the pill can be prescribed or changed.
Why are my periods increasingly painful?
The periods are not supposed to be increasingly painful. It could be a sign of a problem. In this case, consult your gynecologist without delay.
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