Period pain: How you can help
Period pain is an unfortunate part of life for many people. Most women experience some kind or discomfort during their periods at some stage of their life. For many girls they won't experience period pain for the first year or two, but some of the unlucky ones will get pain from their very first period. In most cases, painful periods are not due to any sinister or underlying disorder, especially in the younger years.
The general type of period pain is caused by a hormone called prostaglandins which causes the uterus to contract. The pain generally lasts for the first two to three days of the period. Cramps are often felt in the lower abdomen and lower back.
Explaining what is happening may help your daughter to understand why she's getting period pain. Women who suffer from heavy periods are more likely to suffer from period pain as their body tries to expel the flow and undissolved blood clots.
Ways to help relieve period pain
If your daughter is suffering from period pain, there are some simple home remedies that can help:
- Placing a hot water bottle or warm wheat pack on the abdomen or back
- Lying in a warm or hot bath
- Sipping a warm drink, such as peppermint tea
- Some gentle exercise, such as walking or stretching
If these remedies don't help, over-the-counter pain relievers are available, such as paracetamol or aspirin. Anti-inflammatory medications will work the best as they stop the production of prostagladins, these include drugs like Nurofen (ibuprofen) and Voltaren. There are also drugs made specifically for period pain, such as Ponstan and Naprogesic.
Some women swear by alternative or natural treatments for period pain including acupuncture, evening primose oil, magnesium or Vitex. If your daughter is still finding period pain difficult, take her to your GP to be checked. The contraceptive pill can be prescribed for women who suffer from terrible period pain. If your daughter suffers from very bad period pain or it comes on suddenly she should see a GP to rule out any other type of disorder.
This article was written by Corinne Draper for Kidspot New Zealand. Sources include Royal Australian College of General Practioners.