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Heavy menstrual pain: what to do?

28.04.21 5 min. read

At a glance: Strong period pain - what to do?

  1. Do you suddenly have severe menstrual pain?
  2. What helps against menstrual pain?
  3. Tips for menstrual pain: Home Remedies
  4. Acupressure for menstrual pain
  5. How to deal with menstrual pain?
  6. Sources

 

Did you know that the pain during your period could be as severe as that of a heart attack? A professor at University College London caused a stir with this exact comparison in 2016 [1].

Of course, it's clear that every period can feel different for every woman. And yet, one in three women regularly needs painkillers to cope with their daily lives because of period pain [2]. A serious impairment, then, that affects not only our health but also our quality of life and productivity [3].

At the same time, there is evidence that pain may be taken less seriously in women than in men [4] - a development that may begin in childhood [5].

However, the times when we tried to cover up the pain and grit our teeth are over: We'll tell you about the different triggers for period pain and what could help you.

 

Do you suddenly have severe menstrual pain?

To combat the pain, it can be important to know the trigger. Basically, we distinguish between primary and secondary period pain, also called primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.

The good news at the outset is that we could be spared primary period pain more and more often as the years go by - while women are most frequently affected by it between the ages of 20 and 24, the risk decreases thereafter [6].

The situation is somewhat different for secondary period pains. This can occur if you have been largely pain-free through your period and the symptoms do not appear until later. This is usually the case after the age of 30. Possible triggers can be diseases such as endometriosis, but also other factors such as the insertion of an IUD.

What helps against menstrual pain?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been shown to be very effective for period pain. These include the active ingredients acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen. They block prostaglandin production, which is considered a trigger for the cramps [7].

While they can provide us with valuable relief in acute cases, the potential side effects of NSAIDs are not entirely insignificant [8]. Moreover, according to one study, 18 percent of women with abdominal pain do not respond to them [9].

Tips for menstrual pain: Home Remedies

That the good old hot water bottle is supposed to help with menstrual pain could be more than just an old wives' tale: studies suggest that local heat of 40 to 45 degrees Celsius can relax muscles during menstrual pain. While possible efficacy needs further study, this method at least carries virtually no side effects [10].

Anyone who has ever had ginger tea knows that it can also heat us up quite a bit. And in fact, it could be that ginger is effective for primary dysmenorrhea [11].

In one study, participants took a capsule containing 250 mg of ginger root powder four times a day for three days from the start of their period. According to researchers, this proved to be similarly effective against period pain as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen - both of which are NSAIDs [12]. So in addition to your hot water bottle, perhaps a warm cup of fresh ginger tea might do you some good.

Ginger is by no means the only natural remedy that could provide us with relief: Among medicinal herbs, monk's pepper and St. John's wort are considered potentially effective against period pain - the latter mainly due to its warming and decongestant properties. And also CBD, like our CBD creams, could possibly help us relieve pain.

Whether you prefer to take it easy during your days or prefer exercise depends entirely on your personal condition. In the medium term, however, regular exercise three times a week could help to relieve pain. According to one study, there is significant relief from period pain after only 8 weeks [13].

 

Acupressure for menstrual pain

We've probably all heard of acupressure as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - but would you have thought that a point above your ankle could relieve your period pain? The point in question is the so-called SP6 meridian. It's also known as the Sanyinjiao point and is located on the inside of your lower leg, four finger widths above your ankle.

Studies suggest that applying light pressure or massaging this meridian could lead to significant improvements in period pain [14][15][16]. Two of the three studies also found relief when participants applied acupressure to themselves after initial professional treatments.

 

How to deal with menstrual pain?

The treatment of period pain depends not least on the severity of the symptoms and the cause. If you suspect that you are suffering from secondary dysmenorrhea, you should have this clarified by a doctor in order to address the trigger as well as the symptoms.

In the long run, regular exercise may make you feel less pain during your period.

Short-term relief may come from ginger, external heat and, in acute cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Acupressure, in addition to a potential immediate effect, may also have a longer-lasting positive effect after being used for three months [16].

Whichever is your path toward greater well-being during your period: The focus is always on checking in with yourself. Connecting with your body regularly can make you even more attentive to your body's needs: This is especially true in the days leading up to and during your period.

A ritual that you maintain all to yourself can support you in this. Thanks to hemp extract, a massage with The Hug could be just such a routine for you - and as an embrace for body and mind, possibly so much more than that.

Sources:

[1] Doctors finally confirm period pain can be as painful as a heart attack

https : //www.ucl.ac.uk/news/headlines/2018/mar/doctors-finally-confirm-period-pain-can-be-painful-heart-attack

[2] dysmenorrhea has many causes
https: //www.pharmazeutische-zeitung. de / dysmenorrhea-has-many causes /

[3] Productivity loss due to menstruation-related symptoms: a nationwide Cross-sectional survey among 32,748 women

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31248919/

[4] The Girl Who Cried Pain: A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-law-medicine-and-ethics/article/abs/girl-who-cried-pain-a-bias-against-women-in-the-treatment-of-pain/024AC6795D2AC4730D845F12790909CE

[5] Featured Article: Gender Bias in Pediatric Pain Assessment

https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsy104

[6] Comparison of lifestyles of young women with and without primary dysmenorrhea

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4844476/

[7] Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for dysmenorrhoea

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26224322/

[8] Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in comparison: risk of upper GI complications, heart attack and stroke (UAW-News International)

https://www.akdae.de/Arzneimittelsicherheit/Bekanntgaben/Archiv/2013/20130722 .html code

[9] NSAID resistance in dysmenorrhea: epidemiology, causes, and treatment

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839921/

[10] Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6214933/

[11] Efficacy of Ginger for Alleviating the Symptoms of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26177393/

[12] Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19216660/

[13] The Effect of aerobic exercise on primary dysmenorrhea: A clinical trial study

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29417063/

[14] Effects of SP6 acupressure on pain and menstrual distress in young women with dysmenorrhea

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20347835/

[15] Effects of acupressure at the Sanyinjiao point on primary dysmenorrhoea

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15500532/

[16] Effect of acupressure on dysmenorrhea among adolescents

https://www.jmsr.eg.net/article.asp?issn=2537-091X;year=2019;volume=2;issue=1;spage=24;epage=28;aulast=Othman n

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