Most women have experienced the inconvenient and painful reality of ‘the time of the month’. Whilst period pain is usually felt as painful muscle cramps in your lower tummy, it can sometimes spread to your back and thighs.
The pain can also come in intense spasms, while at other times the pain may be dull but more constant. This can make even simple day to day tasks uncomfortable.
Most cases of period pain can be treated at home with an over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Nurofen Express Period Pain contains ibuprofen and starts to work in 10 minutes to target pain at the source and lasts up to eight hours so you don't need to stop when your period starts.
Whilst most women experience period pain, it can be a taboo subject leaving many unanswered questions. Here are five myths surrounding period pain:
- Myth: Period pains occur because of bleeding
Not quite. Most cases of period pain occur when the muscular wall of the womb contracts. Many women also experience period pain before bleeding begins. This compresses the blood vessels that line your womb, which temporarily cuts off the blood supply (and hence oxygen supply) to the womb. Without oxygen, the tissues in the womb release chemicals that trigger pain.
- Myth: Everyone experiences the same pain, some just deal with it better
Some women experience more period pain than others. It has been suggested that some women may develop a build-up of chemicals that encourage the womb muscles to contract further (prostaglandins), which means their contractions are much stronger than other women’s.
- Myth: All periods are the same
Pain varies with each period. Period pain normally lasts for 12-24 hours, although in more severe cases it may last for several days. Some periods may cause you little or no discomfort, while others may be far more painful. Symptoms can also include headaches, nausea and tiredness.
- Myth: If you suffer from strong period pain in your teens you will in later life too
The symptoms of painful periods tend to improve as you get older. Many women also notice an improvement after they’ve had children.
- Myth: You shouldn’t exercise if you have period pain
Although you may not want to exercise while you are experiencing a painful period, keeping active can help to reduce pain. Try some gentle swimming, walking or cycling.
Please see your doctor if your period pains are more severe than normal, if your periods are heavier or less regular than before, or if your period is late.