What usually causes painful periods?

Can painful periods affect my fertility?

What’s normal for period pain?

How can I ease the pain of periods?

Can I take medication for the pain if I’m trying for a baby?

Will having a baby make my periods less painful?

What usually causes painful periods?

Painful periods are very common. The pain at this time of the month is caused by your womb (uterus) doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s shedding its lining to get ready for your next menstrual cycle.

During your period, the muscular wall of your womb contracts, causing the lining to shed by blocking off tiny blood vessels. This sends pain messages to your brain. At the same time, your body releases prostaglandins to make your womb contract even more, so you get more pain.

Painful periods without a medical cause are known as primary dysmenorrhoea (pronounced dis-men-o-reea).

Can painful periods affect my fertility?

This depends on what’s causing your pain. If you used to have pain-free periods but now they are painful, the pain may be caused by a medical condition. This is known as secondary dysmenorrhoea.

Secondary dysmenorrhoea is much less common than primary dysmenorrhoea. It’s also more likely to affect you if you’re between the ages of 30 and 45.

Whatever is causing your secondary dysmenorrhoea may affect your fertility. Some conditions can damage your fallopian tubes, such as:

Endometriosis. This happens when tissue similar to the lining of your womb grows outside your womb and bleeds monthly. You may have constant pain or cyclical pain, which is worse before you start your period. You may also feel deep pain when you have sex.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is caused by long-standing infection in your pelvis, such as chlamydia. You may have other symptoms, such as pain when you have sex and an unusual vaginal discharge.

Endometriosis and PID can cause scarring and tissue build-up within your pelvis. This can make it harder for your partner’s sperm to reach your egg.

Other conditions associated with secondary dysmenorrhoea can affect your womb, such as:

Fibroids. These are non-cancerous growths within, on, or pushing out from the wall of the womb. These often cause pain and very heavy bleeding.

Adenomyosis. This is a growth of the womb lining into the wall of the womb, which results in thickening of the muscle of the womb. You may have pain and heavy bleeding. This condition is associated with endometriosis and is more likely to affect you if you’ve already had a baby.

An intrauterine device (IUD), also called a contraceptive coil, can sometimes cause period pain after you’ve had it fitted. But this is usually temporary and should ease after the first few months. An IUD should not affect your fertility in any way if you later decide to try for a baby.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your painful periods. He/She can refer you to a specialist for further investigation and treatment.

What’s normal for period pain?

It’s hard to say exactly what’s normal, as period pain can involve such a wide range of symptoms. However, if you notice a marked change to what is normal for you, such as an increase in your pain, pain in your rectum or unexpected bleeding between periods, see your Gynae

Usually, period pain begins just before you start bleeding and can last for up to three days. You may experience some or all of the following:

Feeling tired to the point of exhaustion, and generally unwell.

Pain that’s crampy, or constant, or both, and is usually worse when your bleeding is heaviest.

Pain in your tummy, lower back or down the inside of the thighs.

Pain in your vagina.

Headache, diarrhoea, and nausea.

Feeling faint or dizzy.

How can I ease the pain of periods?

If you have painful periods, you probably dread the time of the month when you know it’s going to start all over again. However, you can make lifestyle changes to improve your health in general and these may also help to ease your pain:

Stress can make pain worse, so try using different relaxation methods or pain-management techniques. Try not to focus on all the things you feel you should be doing.

Taking regular exercise may help. Aim for three 30-minute workouts a week, swimming, cycling, or brisk walking. Whatever appeals to you most.

Painful periods are more common and severe for smokers, and also if you’re overweight. This, along with all the other health benefits of being a non-smoker, is a great reason to stop smoking and lose any excess weight.

When the pain is bad, try to rest and hold a covered hot water bottle or heated wheat bag against your tummy or in the small of your back.

Can I take medication for the pain if I’m trying for a baby?

If you’re trying for a baby it’s best not to take any medication for period pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or mefenamic acid are effective for easing period pain. However, doctors advise against taking NSAIDs in pregnancy.

Bear in mind that you may be expecting your period to arrive, without realising you’re already pregnant. Some early pregnancy symptoms, such as tender breasts, are similar to premenstrual symptoms. You can even have some bleeding around the time of your expected period and be pregnant.

So if you’re trying for a baby, you may prefer to stick to paracetamol. Although it’s not always as effective for period pain, you can take it in early pregnancy if you really need to.

Some women find that a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) patch helps to reduce period pain.

You could try acupuncture or acupressure to relieve your painful periods. There’s no strong evidence that they’re effective, though.

Some women find that ginger helps to ease period paid. Numerous other herbal remedies and dietary supplements are also suggested to be helpful, including calcium, magnesium, thiamine, and fish oil supplements. However there’s no firm evidence that any of them actually work.

Will having a baby make my periods less painful?

It could do, but it depends on the cause. Primary dysmenorrhoea does tend to improve as you get older and after childbirth.

……..there shall be no barren in the land IJN

For more information or second opinion on this topic or  your fertility concerns visit or call us to book for appointment  at Southend Fertility Clinic

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