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Period Pain? Here's What Women Should Know

  • If you have period pain, you’re not alone! Most women have experienced period pain. In fact, this is the most commonly reported menstrual problem.
  • Those who get period pain usually find it starts and is most prevalent during their teenage years, soon after they start having menstrual periods.
  • Period pain can impact your ability to carry out normal daily activities, including going to school or work. It usually starts just before or after your period begins, peaking when the flow is heaviest and tending to last 2 to 3 days.

What causes period pain?

Period pain is caused by natural chemicals called prostaglandins that are released in the uterus (womb) during your period. Some women have higher levels of prostaglandins than others (although it’s not clear why) and are more likely to get period pain. Prostaglandins cause the muscles in the wall of the uterus to contract, resulting in feelings of cramping pain. The pain and discomfort are usually most severe for the first day or two of your period. Other than pain and cramps in your lower abdomen, you may also experience other symptoms such as headaches, nausea or diarrhoea.

Relieving period pain

There are a few things you can do at home to help relieve period pain:

  • Heat therapy such as placing a heat pack or hot water bottle on your lower abdomen can help
  • Pain relievers that reduce the effects of prostaglandins are very effective for period pain.
  • These pain relievers are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs for short) and include ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Nurofen
  • Relaxation and exercise may also be helpful

Is period pain anything to be concerned about?

Period pain is common and will usually only last a few days. However, if your periods are getting increasingly painful or if you are concerned in any way, it’s best to see your doctor. They will be able to check if there is any underlying cause and discuss the best treatment options for you.


This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.


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