Period pain ranges from mild to excruciating and is a normal part of the menstrual cycle. Womb cramps and contractions cause the pain because they reduce the blood flow to the uterus. They are very similar to labour pains and doctors consider the pain to be as intense as a heart attack. Conditions like endometriosis and fibroids cause severe period pains that require medical intervention. Most of the time over the counter painkillers, a hot water bottle and lots of chocolate help to relieve the pain.
Many women start their periods at twelve years old and have approximately 450 periods throughout their lifetime. Pregnancy and deliberate period delay are the only reasons healthy women miss their periods. The menstrual cycle ceases at around 47 - 50 years old due to the menopause. Our menstrual cycle changes as we age. Irregular in our teens, predictable in our 20s and 30s and unreliable again in our 40s. The flow of blood may fluctuate and pain levels vary.
We also call regular period pain dysmenorrhea which means that the cause of pain is down to ordinary cramping. Changing and increasing period pain may indicate that you have an underlying health condition. It is important that you visit your doctor to determine the cause of your pain and find the appropriate treatment.
Causes Of Intense Period Pain
Sometimes increasingly intense period pain indicates that you have an underlying health condition causing the discomfort. You must visit your doctor if your period pain is intolerable or last for a considerable amount of time.
Endometriosis is an interesting condition where uterine tissue forms outside the womb on the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is very painful when the lining sheds and, may affect other organs in your body. Symptoms include; pelvic pain, intense period pain, painful sex, painful bowel movements, feeling sick and fertility issues. The extreme symptoms cause low mood and depression in sufferers.
Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours consisting of fibrous tissue and muscle. Most women are unaware they have them until they experience complications in pregnancy or fertility issues. Extreme period pain and an urgency to go to the toilet are two main symptoms. Women discover they have this condition during a routine gynaecological examination.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a series of bacterial infections in the pelvic area. Many women experience mild symptoms including; pelvic pain, uncomfortable sex, bleeding during sex, period pain and vaginal discharge. Some women may experience vomiting as a result of the infection. Immediate treatment is important as the condition leads to infertility. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
IUD (Copper Coil)
An IUD is a form of contraception that sits neatly in the womb. It is almost 99% effective and doesn’t require hormones. It is possible for it to infect the womb within the first 20 days of insertion. Rarely the womb rejects the coil causing pain or it causes womb damage. Periods may become heavier and more painful. The coil rarely causes ectopic pregnancies which is where the baby starts to grow in the fallopian tube. Complications from the coil are very rare so you are unlikely to suffer these side effects.
If your period pain is too much to bear please consult your doctor. To review and purchase treatment for period pain please click here.