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Can Period Pain Cause Death?

Nov 24, 2017 Period Pain

For many women, period pain is a common symptom of menstruation.  Throughout the month the womb builds up a lining in preparation for pregnancy.  If there is no fertilised egg to attach itself to the womb the lining is shed and a period occurs. The uterus contracts which causes the familiar period pains.  Pain varies from mild to severe and causes great discomfort.  Normal period pain is generally no cause for concern and can be treated with painkillers. Sometimes the pain isn’t period pain and is related to an underlying health condition.  It is important that you visit your doctor if your period pain is unbearable because they may be caused by a more serious condition.

Normal Period Pain

It is normal to feel pain during a period.  Other symptoms include; bloating, breast tenderness and low moods.  Period pain occurs when the uterus contracts to encourage the lining to shed.  This happens because a fertilised egg does not implant itself in the womb lining.  It is a natural part of the monthly cycle and no cause for concern. Over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are sufficient for some women while others require prescription painkillers such as Mefenamic acid.  Period pain can be excruciating and feel more serious than it actually is.  Although you feel that you are going to die because of the pain it is highly unlikely that you will. Period pain can be alleviated by taking painkillers, holding a hot water bottle on your abdomen or gentle exercise.  If you are concerned about the intensity of your pain you should visit your doctor just in case it is a symptom of a more serious condition.

Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are little sacs of fluid that form in and around your ovaries.  In most cases, you will not realise they are there because they are essentially painless.  The cysts normally disappear after a few months and you are none the wiser.  However, sometimes ovarian cysts cause a great deal of pain and require medical attention. The most common type of ovarian cyst occurs in the egg follicles.  An egg is released from the ovaries in a sac which breaks to release the egg.  If this does not happen the sac fills up with fluid and gets quite big.  Women taking medication to encourage ovulation tend to suffer from these types of cysts.  Follicle cysts are not cancerous and go away by themselves. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is caused by lots of little cysts in the ovaries.  This condition is very painful and causes a number of undesirable side effects such as weight gain, unwanted facial hair and fertility issues.  Period pain lasts longer and is more intense if you have this condition.  You will need to take advice from your doctor on how to deal with the condition. Most ovarian cysts are noncancerous and they can be avoided by taking the contraceptive pill which prevents ovulation.  If you have had the menopause and suffer from ovarian cysts they are likely to be more painful with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.  If your period pains are caused by cancerous cysts then you will have to undergo treatment to avoid death.


Endometriosis is an extremely painful condition where cells that are normally found in the womb occur in other parts of the abdomen.  Resulting in little bits of womb lining attaching itself to different organs including; fallopian tubes, bowel, bladder and stomach. The pain you feel last longer than a normal period and can leave you feeling quite unwell.  Symptoms include; period pain that cannot be treated with painkillers, heavy periods, painful sex and fatigue. Some women are lucky and have the condition with very little pain while others are deeply affected by it.  Treatment includes over the counter painkillers, the contraceptive pill and surgery to remove the endometriosis tissue from your body. Women who have gone through the menopause rarely suffer from endometriosis until then the condition is chronic and has a profound effect on sufferers’ lives.  Fertility can be affected and surgery by removing the offending cells doesn’t always guarantee that pregnancy will occur. Although endometriosis is not life threatening it can have a devastating effect on people's’ lives particularly if they desperately want to start a family.


Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours that are present inside the womb.  Often fibroids go unnoticed because they don’t cause any discernible pain.  One-third of women who have fibroids suffer symptoms which include; heavy painful periods, stomach pain, back pain and a frequent need to go to the toilet. Fertility and the ability to sustain a pregnancy are affected by fibroids because they are an obstacle to implantation.  There are two types of fibroids ones that develop inside the womb and ones that occur in the muscle wall. They are most common in women who have not yet gone through the menopause and medicine is available to treat them.  Surgery is used to remove fibroids in the worst cases.  Again this condition is not life-threatening just disheartening, painful and disappointing if it affects your ability to conceive.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

PID is caused by a bacterial infection in your womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries.  Women between the ages of 15 to 24 are most likely to be affected.  Often the condition is symptomless but if you do feel symptoms you are likely to encounter; pelvic pain, painful sex, discomfort when urinating, heavy and painful periods. Pelvic inflammatory disease normally occurs due to contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as; Chlamydia and gonorrhoea.  It is essential that you get it treated as soon as possible because there is a high chance that you will become infertile due to your fallopian tubes narrowing due to scars caused by the infection. If you do get pregnant there is a high chance that it will be an ectopic pregnancy (where the foetus forms in the fallopian tubes).  An ectopic pregnancy is life threatening and if your fallopian tubes rupture you could die. Treatment is a simple course of antibiotics which should get rid of the infection.  GUM clinics and chemists have free testing for PID and Chlamydia so if you have any concerns about contracting an STI you should take the test. Normal period pain itself will not lead to death but conditions that have similar symptoms may prove to be fatal.  If you are experiencing period pain that is more intense than usual you must visit your doctor to make sure that it is nothing more sinister.  To review and purchase treatment for period pain please click here.

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