Dealing with Period Pain
Unlike PMS, which signals the start of your period with bloating and irritability, period pain or dysmenorrhea involves menstrual cramps as well as headaches, low back pain, diarrhea and nausea. While some period pain is common, if you dread that time of month because you repeatedly struggle with severe pain, talk with your doctor to rule out other potential issues such as endometriosis, fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease, among others.
You can also consider the following options for alleviating monthly period pain:
- You can reduce bloating—which can exacerbate cramps—by drinking more water, and hot liquids can also help to increase blood flow and relax muscles.
- Move your body. While exercise might be the last thing you want to do when you’re struggling with period pain, even a few minutes of movement can generate some feel-good endorphins. Walk, stretch or lift weights to release tightness in your back and boost your energy.
- Heat things up. A heating pad or warm bath can help soothe pain and relieve period-related tension. Massaging your abdomen can also feel good.
- Try anti-inflammatory medication. Options such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help to relieve pain. Some women also use acupuncture to alleviate monthly pain. You may also want to discuss birth control with your provider as some options can reduce or eliminate period pain.
“While periods can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, no one should have to suffer in silence each month,” said Dr. Amy Hammers. “There are a variety of options, depending on what you are experiencing and your stage of life, for managing or even eliminating period pain.”