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