Do you have painful periods? If so, you’re not alone. More than half of all menstruating women experience period pain for a day or two each month, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
But just because period pain – also known as dysmenorrhea – is common doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. A variety of strategies can help relieve menstrual discomfort.
At Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology, our care providers work with you to identify pain-relief methods that help take menstrual discomfort off your monthly calendar.
Here are 6 of our best tips for easing your period pain.
Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can help reduce pain for many women. These pain relievers tend to work most effectively on menstrual pain if you take them when your period first begins, rather than waiting until the pain is intense.
Keep in mind that women with certain conditions, such as bleeding disorders or ulcers, should not take NSAIDs unless advised to do so by their doctors.
Although you might just feel like lying around when period pain strikes, moderate aerobic exercise may actually help alleviate your discomfort. Walking, jogging, swimming, and other types of activity that raise your heart rate can trigger the release of your body’s own pain-relieving endorphins.
Gentle heat may help reduce menstrual pain by relaxing the muscles in your pelvic area. Use a heating pad or relax in a warm bath.
Some women find that stress can make period pain worse. Protect yourself by avoiding stressful situations when possible, and by practicing meditation, mindfulness, and other stress-management techniques throughout your cycle.
In some cases, hormone-containing birth control methods, such as contraceptive pills, patches, vaginal rings, hormonal IUDs, and contraceptive injections and implants may reduce menstrual pain. The hormones in these birth control methods may also have an impact on other menstrual issues, such as excessive bleeding.
Menstrual discomfort and pelvic pain may be a sign of endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, uterine fibroids, or other treatable medical conditions. Our providers have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a full range of gynecological conditions.
The doctors, nurse practitioners, and midwives at our practice in Albany, New York, are here to help you with all of your obstetrics and gynecology health needs. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, call our office at 518-516-6726 or use our contact form to reach us.