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5 Simple Ways to Reduce Period Pain

Posted Wednesday 02 September 2020 15:14 by in Period Pain Medication by Harman Bhamra

Most women experience period pain at some point in their lives. It is common and a normal part of the menstruation cycle. Usually characterised by painful muscle cramps in the abdomen, period pain can also spread to your thighs and back.

Period pain can vary between dull and constant cramps to intense spasms. Your experience may also vary with each period. There will be periods where the pain is bearable or even non-existent, while other months may be very painful.

Here’s an article to help you learn more about the symptoms of period pain.

What are the Causes of Period Pain?

Normally, period pain is caused by the contraction (tightening) of the muscles surrounding your womb. Mild contractions of the uterine wall occur every day but they are so mild you won’t even notice them. However, during your period, this contraction becomes more vigorous to help your womb shed its lining.

When your uterine wall contracts, it compresses the blood vessels in your womb --- cutting off blood and oxygen supply. This causes the tissues in your womb to release chemicals that trigger pain. These chemicals also cause your body to produce prostaglandins which stimulate the uterine wall to compress even further --- increasing the pain levels you perceive.

Until now, doctors are not sure why some women experience more painful period pains than others. They suspect that the build-up of prostaglandins in the body is the culprit.

Some medical conditions can also cause period pains. But these tend to affect women between 30 to 45 years old. Some of these medical conditions are:

Fibroids - benign tumours that grow in and around the uterus.

Endometriosis - a case where cells which line the uterus grow in other areas like your ovaries and fallopian tubes. When they shed, these abnormal cell growth can cause intense pain.

Adenomyosis - a condition where the tissues lining the uterus starts to grow within the muscular womb wall.

Pelvic inflammatory disease - an inflammation in the ovaries, womb, and fallopian tubes caused by bacteria.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - usually begins a couple of days before your period. The pain continues into the first two days of your menstruation. 90% of women experience PMS at some point in their lives. According to doctors, PMS may be caused by the dipping of estrogen and progesterone levels at the beginning of your menstruation.

How Long Do Period Pains Last?

Most period pains start when you menstruate. However, some women also experience period pain even weeks before their bleeding begins. Usually, period pains last between two to three days. The pain is at its worst when your bleeding is at its peak. Some period pains can last longer.

Surprisingly, many women experience lesser period pains after they’ve had children.

How to Reduce Period Pains

Below are five simple ways on how to reduce period pains at home:

1. Keep yourself hydrated

Bloating is one of the common symptoms of menstrual cramps. And bloating can make the pain you feel worse. Drinking plenty of liquids can help ease bloating. Make it a habit to drink between six to eight glasses of water every day. You can add some lemon or mint to improve the taste.

There are many ways to hydrate if you are not loving plain water. Try a glass of fruit-infused water or a cup of ginger or chamomile tea. You can also prepare a pitcher of water with lemon and cucumber for the day. Sipping a cup of broth (low sodium) is also a great way to relax and rehydrate. You can also buy flavoured mineral water.

While you are hydrating, cut your alcohol and sodium intake as they promote dehydration and bloating.

2. Get some sunshine

Vitamin D helps reduce the production of prostaglandins in the body. Period pains can be disabling so if you don’t feel like going outside for some sunshine, take some vitamin D supplements. Studies show that high weekly doses of vitamin D can significantly lower the pain of menstrual cramps.

3. Avoid caffeine

Many women report that eliminating caffeine has helped reduce their period pains. Caffeine comes in many forms --- most of it are your favourites (i.e. chocolate, soda, tea, energy drinks, coffee, etc.). If you consume lots of caffeinated products every day, break the habit slowly so you don’t succumb to withdrawal symptoms.

A great substitute for caffeine is smoothies and shakes with protein powder, greens, and berries which are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.

4. Massage and apply heat

Massages promote blood flow. So, massaging your abdomen for at least five minutes every day can help reduce period pains. Use massage creams with essential oils like marjoram and lavender to take advantage of their amazing benefits --- including soothing the pain caused by menstrual cramps.

While you are at it, consider applying a heating pad to your abdomen too. Heat can help the muscles relax. No heating pad? Just grab a hot water bottle or a warm towel!

5. Take Mefenamic Acid

Mefenamic acid is a popular period pain treatment. This medicine works by reducing inflammation in your uterine wall thus providing relief from pain. Mefenamic acid is an effective pain reliever that belongs to a family of medicines called NSAIDs or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

Mefenamic acid is taken three times a day for a maximum of three days during your period. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol while you are taking this medication. You can buy period pain tablets from Express Pharmacy today.


What Does Period Pain Feel Like?

Posted Thursday 09 July 2020 11:55 by in Period Pain Medication by Harman Bhamra

Menstrual cramps - often referred to more generally as period pain - typically occur before and during a period. While some women have little to no experience with period pain, others suffer for days on end with an uncomfort that makes normal tasks seem impossible.

While everyone has a different experience with period pain, there are sometimes a few telltale signs which suggest why some women suffer more than others. Within this guide, we will be exploring exactly what period pain feels like, as well as its causes and popular pain relief treatments.

Common Symptoms Of Period Pain: What Does It Feel Like?

So - how do you know if it's period pain and not something else? The first obvious sign is when you start to experience cramping pains in your lower abdomen around 1 to 3 days before your period is due. These cramps can sometimes feel like a throbbing sensation that can travel to your lower back and thighs, too.

If you’re familiar with your menstrual cycle, then it’s likely that you’ll notice the pain easing off a few days into your period. However, it’s important to remember that every woman is different; some may experience quick bouts of cramps, whereas others may have to endure the pain for days on end.

To round this up, common symptoms of period pain include:

  • Cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Aches and pains in the lower back and thighs
  • Higher levels of discomfort 1 to 3 days before your period

Severe Symptoms Of Period Pain

Severe symptoms of period pain typically refer to experiencing the above common symptoms for long durations without getting any relief. However, period pain doesn’t always just cause cramping, and more disruptive symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If you find that your period pain is getting worse and starting to disrupt your everyday life, it is highly recommended to see your GP. This also applies to those who are over the age of 25 and experiencing severe menstrual cramps for the first time.

What Causes Period Pain?

Menstrual cramps tend to occur thanks to the contractions that are triggered by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. The higher level of prostaglandins you have, the more severe cramps you’ll experience. Although this might seem like a nuisance, the contractions are important as they help your uterus to shed its lining (which is what causes bleeding during a period).

While not everyone will have a definite cause for their period pain, the following medical conditions are known for causing severe menstrual cramps:

Endometriosis: This is a condition that is diagnosed when your uterus’ tissue lining sits outside of it. In most common cases, this tissue sits on your ovaries or fallopian tubes instead. You can learn more about this here.

Cervical Stenosis: If you have Cervical Stenosis, the opening of your cervix may be smaller than normal. This disrupts your menstrual flow, resulting in added amounts of pressure and therefore more pain.

Fibroids: Fibroids are noncancerous growths that can develop in the walls of your uterus. These growths can vary in size, and the pain is usually determined by how large they are and where they are located.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: PID is diagnosed when you have an infection in the female reproductive organs. In most cases, it occurs from sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia.

How To Manage Period Pain

Period pain of any type can be extremely frustrating to deal with; especially if you have a busy schedule and would rather not have to take time out. Luckily, there are many different types of period pain relief to benefit from; all as to which take immediate effect. You can shop for period pain relief right here at Express Pharmacy and have your medication delivered to your doorstep in a matter of days.

Other ways to manage period pain include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing stress triggers
  • Using heating pads or hot water bottles
  • Taking a hot bath

The Relationship Between Temperature and Period Pain

Posted Monday 23 December 2019 09:12 by in Period Pain Medication by Tim Deakin

Heat is often suggested as a way of easing menstrual cramps, but how does temperature impact your pain?

For most women, period pain is a familiar sensation. In fact, around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime, and between 5 and 10% feel pain severe enough to disrupt their lives.[1]

But just because period pain is common, this doesn’t mean it isn’t significant. One 2017 survey found that more than five and a half million sick days (5,581,186) occur in the UK every year as a direct result of period pain. This costs the British economy more than £530 million per year.[2]

There are many different treatment options for those suffering with menstrual cramp pain, including heat. We’re going to take a closer look at period cramps, including the relationship between pain and heat.

What are period cramps?

Period pain is a common consequence of the menstrual cycle, caused by muscular contractions within the wall of the womb. These contractions temporarily cut off blood and oxygen supply, causing the tissues to release chemicals that trigger pain.[3]

If period pains are particularly bad, it may be a sign of a more serious form of menstrual cramp known as secondary dysmenorrhoea. This can result in symptoms which include:

- Heavy or irregular periods

- Bleeding between periods

- Unusual vaginal discharge

- Pain during sexual intercourse

These can occur alongside more typical period pain symptoms, including:

- Tiredness

- Nausea

- Headaches

- Bloating

- Emotional changes

- Diarrhoea[4]

Heat and period cramps

Heat is a tried and tested method of relieving the pain associated with menstrual cramps. It is advised by many leading health organisations, from the NHS to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.[5]

Heat is cost-effective and has no side effects, and has been proven to alleviate pain in women suffering with menstrual cramps. In fact, one study found that heat was as effective as painkillers like aspirin for menstrual cramp pain.[6]

Heat therapy can be an effective way to reduce your symptoms as it tackles inflammation and encourages the muscles to relax, alleviating painful contractions. Consider a heated patch, pad or a hot water bottle.

Other treatments for menstrual pain

Heat is far from the only recommended treatment for period pain. There are many things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and reduce your discomfort, from exercising to taking medication.

Some of the most popular methods[7] of period pain relief include:

- Stopping smoking

- Gentle exercise

- A warm bath

- Gentle massage

- Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation

- Painkilling medication

- Period pain medication like Mefenamic Acid, which works to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and bring down temperature.

Putting these treatment options into practice can help to dull the severity of your period pain.

If you’re looking for safe and effective medication for period pain, you can find it right here at Express Pharmacy. Our simple 1,2,3 order process makes it easy to get the treatment you need. Get in touch with our team today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] Women’s Health Concern. Period Pain Fact Sheet. 2017

[2] Petter, O. Period Pains Responsible for Five Million Sick Days in the UK Each Year. The Independent. 2017

[3] NHS UK. Period pain. 2019

[4] Bupa UK. Painful periods (dysmenorrhoea). 2019

[5] The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Dysmenorrhea: Painful Periods. 2015

[6] Jo, J. Lee, SH. Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life. Scientific Reports. 2018

[7] Always. Five tips for period pain relief. 2016


Does Period Pain Become Worse When You’re Stressed?

Posted Wednesday 10 July 2019 22:18 by in Period Pain Medication by Tim Deakin

Period pain is something almost every woman is familiar with. Considered a normal part of the menstrual cycle, period pain is usually felt as uncomfortable muscle cramps in the stomach, often spreading to the back and the thighs. This pain can be intense and sharp, or dull and constant.[1]

According to Women’s Health Concern, more than 80% of women will experience some form of period-related discomfort at some point in their lives, and this pain can be severe enough to disrupt day-to-day life in around 5-10% of women.[2]

But can your emotional state impact your period, and does feeling stressed actually make your pain worse?

Do you experience more pain when you’re stressed during your period?

A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health back in 2010 found that stress could indeed lead to worse symptoms of period pain. Participants who said they felt stressed two weeks before starting their period were between twice and four times as likely to report severe period pain symptoms compared to women who reported no signs of stress.[3]

Researchers couldn’t pinpoint an exact reason for why this might be the case, though several theories were suggested by the team. These include that stress can alter ovarian hormones, or that the stress hormone cortisol may have a direct effect on period pain.[4]

Speaking to SELF, Dr Antonio Pizarro, MD, described how a lack of sleep and an increase in stress can cause hormone imbalances which could exacerbate pain, saying:

“If you don’t sleep enough, your body will release more of the stress hormone cortisol, which affects how your pituitary gland works. Your pituitary gland regulates hormones, so this can have a major effect on your cycle, leading to periods that don’t arrive when you’re expecting them to. Thanks to the imbalanced hormones, they may even be heavier or more painful than usual.”[5]

The relationship between stress and period pain goes both ways too. Studies have shown that when women are on their period, they are generally more prone to feelings of anxiety and stress. Menstruation leads to a number of hormonal changes, potentially leading to physical and emotional effects which contribute to anxiety. Fluctuations in hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can impact appetite, digestion and energy, all of which can impact your mood.[6]

So while there are still questions regarding the link between stress and period pain, it’s clear that relaxation is an important part of making your period more manageable.

How to effectively deal with period pain

The NHS recommends several simple lifestyle changes which can help to alleviate the severity of your period pain. These include:

Exercising, such as gentle swimming, cycling or even walking

Using a heat pad or hot water bottle to ease the pain

Having a hot bath or shower to help you relax

Stopping smoking, as smoking is thought to increase the risk of pain

Lightly massaging your lower abdomen

Relaxation techniques such as yoga or Pilates[7]

Medication is also available to help effectively ease the pain you experience while on your period. Mefenamic acid works by reducing inflammation, therefore lowering pain levels.

Discover safe and effective period pain medication like mefenamic acid right here at Express Pharmacy. If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Period pain. 2016

[2] Women’s Health Concern. Period Pain. 2017

[3] Gollenburg, A.L. et al. Perceived Stress and Severity of Perimenstrual Symptoms: The BioCycle Study. Journal of Women’s Health. 2010

[4] Nauert, R. PhD. Stress Exacerbates Menstrual Symptoms. PsychCentral. 2019

[5] Barnes, Z. 8 Habits That Are Making Your Periods Even Worse. SELF. 2016

[6] Nillni, Y.I. et al. Anxiety Sensitivity, the Menstrual Cycle and Panic Disorder: A Putative Neuroendocrine and Psychological Interaction. Clinical Psychology Review. 2011

[7] NHS UK. Period pain. 2016

Tags: Period Pain

A New Study on Period Shame Reveals Some Startling Figures

Posted Friday 27 April 2018 14:53 by in Period Pain Medication by Tim Deakin

According to Plan International UK, young women are not seeking guidance for their period concerns

Plan International UK is an organisation aiming to remove the taboos surrounding periods and menstruation, and with good reason. Their latest research has revealed that an alarming number of young women in the UK are not seeking medical help for their period concerns because they are too embarrassed.

In the report, Plan International UK calls for improved teaching materials and education which highlights the fact that periods are different for everyone and can include emotional, social and physical aspects which should be addressed. Other issues they touch upon are the problems some women have affording sanitary products.

Chief executive of Plan International UK, Tanya Barron, said:

“The stigma and taboo around periods is creating a wall of silence, with girls struggling to understand their own bodies, and feeling too ashamed to speak out when they think there is a problem.”

Barron says that better education for both girls and boys is needed to eradicate taboos and “make sure girls know when the symptoms they have are healthy and normal or when they need to seek medical advice.”

Period shame, in numbers

Over 1,000 girls and women aged between 14 and 21 were contacted by Plan International UK to take part in their survey. The results were eye-opening. Regarding the way girls and young women feel about seeking medical advice and treatment for their period concerns, the results found that:

- 79% of girls and young women have experienced period symptoms which have worried them, but haven’t sought medical advice or treatment

- Over a quarter (27%) of girls and young women said they haven’t seen a doctor because they felt too embarrassed

- 8% of girls and young women said they didn’t seek advice because there was only a male doctor available and they didn’t feel comfortable talking to them

Regarding the girls’ and young women’s experience of having periods, the results revealed that:

- 29% of girls and young women said they have experienced heavy bleeding

- 38% of girls and young women have experienced severe period pain

- A quarter (25%) of girls and young women have experienced periods that are heavier than usual

- Almost one third (32%) of girls and young women have had irregular periods

- 23% of girls and young women have been concerned about missing periods

- Almost one fifth (19%) of girls and young women said they have felt depressed

The NHS recommends that, should any of the above symptoms arise, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible. However, Plan International UK’s survey revealed that more than half (54%) of the girls and young women did not seek medical advice because they believed their symptoms were normal at the time. 13% of girls and young women also said people had told them they were exaggerating about their symptoms.

Never let embarrassment stand in the way of effective treatment

It’s clear from these findings that more needs to be done to normalise the perfectly normal processes of the female body. At Express Pharmacy, we believe that no one should ever feel embarrassed about their health concerns. However, you should also never let embarrassment stand in between you and effective treatment.

Online pharmacies allow girls and women to seek advice and treatment for their period concerns whilst maintaining discretion. For conditions like period pain and period delay, effective medication is available from Express Pharmacy. You can also use our live chat service to speak to one of our NHS-approved pharmacists about your concerns.

Both Mefenamic Acid (for period pain) and Norethisterone (for period delay) are available from Express Pharmacy. Contact the team today by using our discreet live chat or calling 0208 123 07 03.