Understanding Period Pain

Mar 04, 2022 Period Pain


What is Period Pain?

Many women experience period pain from menstruation. Throughout the menstrual cycle, the womb builds up a lining in preparation for pregnancy. Ovulation occurs when an egg is released if it's fertilised. However, if it isn't, then the womb lining sheds and a period occurs. The uterus contracts, which causes period pains and discomfort. 

Periods usually last for a week and are either classed as heavy or light. Normal period pain is generally no cause for concern and can be treated with painkillers. Women may experience other symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness and low moods. 

Types of Period Pain 

Primary Period Pain

Primary pain is caused by regular menstrual cramps, which can occur one or two days before a bleed. Bleeding can last for up to three days and subsides as the cycle ends. 

Secondary Period Pain

Secondary pain could be caused by an underlying health condition like endometriosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease. If you believe that your period pain is more severe, consult a doctor. They then will be able to refer you to a specialist who will organise a course of treatment for you, if required.

Period Pain Caused By Underlying Health Conditions

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is caused by lots of little cysts in the ovaries. Period pain can last longer and be more intense if you have this condition, so take advice from your doctor on how to deal with this condition. 


Endometriosis is when cells that normally line the womb grow on either the ovaries or fallopian tubes. It can be very painful when the lining sheds and falls away. 


Fibroids are non-cancerous tumours consisting of fibrous tissue and muscle. Some women experience painful periods and the need to go to the toilet more frequently. This condition can be discovered during a gynaecological examination, but we recommend consulting your doctor if you have concerns. 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is a series of bacterial infections in the pelvic area. Some women experience mild symptoms including pelvic pain, uncomfortable sex, bleeding during sex, period pain and vaginal discharge. It’s important to go to your GP if you have any concerns as if left untreated can lead to fertility issues. 

Period Pain Caused by Contraceptive Devices

An IUD coil is a type of contraception made from copper and plastic which is fitted inside the womb. This can sometimes cause period pain when it is first inserted.

Treatments for Period Pain

Over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can ease period pains. 


Some other treatments for period pain include: 

  • Putting a hot water bottle on the lower abdomen.

  • Gentle exercise like taking a walk or doing some yoga.

  • Taking a relaxing bath. 

  • Light, circular massage movements around your lower abdomen.

When to see a GP

We recommend seeing a GP if you have severe period pains or your normal pattern of periods changes. This could be if your periods become heavier or are more irregular than usual. 



Your GP could prescribe you the contraceptive pill as it can ease period pain. This is because it thins the womb lining and reduces the amount of prostaglandin your body releases. If the womb is thinner, this means the muscles don’t have to contract as much when it sheds, which can cause lighter periods. 


If the contraceptive pill isn’t suitable for you, the implant or the injection can be good alternatives.


Shop period pain treatment at SimplyMeds Online.

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