Period pain: Causes, symptoms and pain relief
Around 80% of women experience period pain in their lives.¹
Period pain, known technically as dysmenorrhoea, is a common side effect of the menstrual cycle that most women will experience in their lifetime. Period pain often takes the form of uncomfortable muscle cramps in the tummy, but the discomfort can also spread to the back and thighs. Period pain may come in shooting spasms, or it may feel more like a dull, ongoing ache.
What Causes Period Pain?
Contractions occur continually in the uterus; however, they are usually so mild that most women can’t feel them. During a menstrual period, the muscular wall of the uterus starts to contract more vigorously to help the uterus shed its lining.
The more vigorous contractions compress the blood vessels in the uterus, which then temporarily cuts off both the blood supply and the oxygen supply to the organ. Without oxygen, the tissues in the uterus release chemicals that trigger pain. This becomes a vicious cycle: the more the uterus contracts, the more that pain-triggering chemicals are released.
Mild period pain, sometimes referred to as menstrual cramps, is a very common form of discomfort. However, if someone finds themselves suffering intense pain during a period, there may be an underlying medical reason for this. For example:
- Endometriosis – A condition where tissue similar to that lining the uterus starts to grow in other places, like the ovaries or fallopian tubes.
- Fibroids – Non-cancerous tumours, which can grow around the uterus.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease – When the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries become infected with bacteria and swell up.
- Adenomyosis – A condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus starts to grow within the muscular wall of the uterus.
Symptoms of Period Pain
Period pain differs in severity from person to person and can occur in several different areas of the body. Although the predominant symptom is menstrual cramps around the stomach, in 40% of woman, period pain is accompanied by other pre-menstrual symptoms, such as:
- Tender breasts
- Swollen stomach
- Mood swings
- Lack of concentration
- Lower back pain
Easing Period Pain
There are many tried and tested ways to stop, or at least reduce, period pain. Not simply using pain management techniques, but also making small lifestyle changes or engaging in a combination of both.
Period Pain Relief
Many common pain-relieving methods help to relieve the discomfort of period pain. For example:
- Painkillers, particularly those designed for period symptoms – Widely-used painkillers like aspirin or paracetamol will help to relieve mild menstrual cramps. And if necessary, GPs can prescribe stronger over-the-counter period pain medication. As with all opioids, pain medication may have side effects, including addiction, so should not be used as a long-term solution.
- Anti-inflammatory painkillers – Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen can be very effective in stopping the pain of menstrual cramps. As above, these drugs may have unwanted side effects.
- Neurostimulation – This is a form of pain relief that works by disrupting the pain signals that travel between the spinal cord and the brain. In the case of BioWaveGO, the pain signals are not simply masked or disrupted but are in fact blocked at the nerve, for deep relief.
How BioWaveGO Relieves Period Pain
- BioWaveGO uses electric waves that block pain directly at the source for relief that is 100% drug-free.
- Simply place the electrodes over the part of the body where it is most painful.
- Turn on your device for a 30-minute treatment session.
- Our revolutionary pain-relief technology provides lasting relief for up to eight hours.
- BioWave has an immediate effect, but there is also a cumulative effect on the nerve signals so prolonged used might have additional benefits.
Natural Pain Relief for Periods
Natural pain relief means effective ways to remedy pain, without resorting to chemicals or surgery. There are several recommended treatments to ease the pain of menstrual cramps:
- Ginger tea – This has been used to treat inflammation for centuries and is a popular natural remedy for nausea and menstrual cramps.
- Cuddling a hot water bottle or using head pads – When applied to the area, heat helps the contracting abdominal muscles to relax.
- Taking a hot bath with aromatherapy oils – As above, this can be an effective heat treatment that helps to relax the contracting muscles.
- Back or stomach massage – Some women find that this is a great way to relax the muscles that are causing period pain.
- Gentle exercise – Light exercise like yoga or walking can not only help to relax tense muscles but will also improve blood supply to the uterus.