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The pain is caused by the intense contractions of the uterus, primarily due to the release of prostaglandins from the endometrium at the beginning of menses.
Certain diseases, such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, or uterine fibroids, cause pain. The pain symptoms are as same as primary dysmenorrhea.
People with painful periods have cramping in the lower belly, which can be mild or sour. You might also have pain in your back or thighs.
Some people also have the following:
- Extreme tiredness
Here are some tips for you to try:
According to related studies, applying heat to the lower abdomen effectively relieves dysmenorrhea. Heat had similar efficacy as ibuprofen and was more effective than paracetamol. You can put a heating pad on your belly area and massage it with lavender essential oils circularly and lightly for 15~20 minutes.
You can drink warm water, hot ginger tea, or hot chocolate to relieve your menstrual pain. Please avoid foods that may worsen your pain, such as alcohol, cool drinks, or fried foods.
If you’re standing or walking, try to find a chair to sit on or a comfortable bed to lie on. It is also good to do some yoga or meditation to relax your body’s tension and pressure.
If those home remedies can’t help you, the following medicines will relieve your pain immediately.
Ibuprofen is the first choice for most people. The standard dose is 400~600mg every 4~6 hours, and the maximum is 2400 mg/ day.
Mefenamic acid is another choice. The loading dose is 500mg, with 250 mg every six hours for three days. Due to the side effects of stomach issues, please take NSAIDs with food. If you have a history of ulcers, asthma, or an allergy to NSAIDs, it is recommended to use paracetamol or other medicines.
The standard dose is 325~650mgevery 4~6 hours, and the maximum is 4000mg/ day. There are extra tablets that contain caffeine making your pain relief faster.
A recent study provided valuable evidence on the effect and mechanism of phloroglucinol on dysmenorrhea. It can effectively inhibit the contraction of uterine smooth muscle and gastric circular muscle. You can take 160mg tablets when pain attacks, and do not take more than 480mg/ day.
For women concerned about the side effects of NSAIDs or who need to prevent pregnancy, estrogen-progestin hormonal contraceptive also represents an effective treatment for dysmenorrhea, which works by reducing both uterine bleeding flow and uterine contractions.
1. UpToDate: Dysmenorrhea in adult females: Clinical features and diagnosis
2. UpToDate: Dysmenorrhea in adult females: Treatment
3. UpToDate: Patient education: Painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea) (Beyond the Basics)
4. PubMed: Phloroglucinol inhibits oxytocin-induced contraction in rat gastric circular muscle and uterine smooth muscle