John Bailey here from Hunter Women’s Health Centre.
One of the most common questions I get asked is around period pain and what the cause of it is. It’s very common for women to experience pain during their period and often younger women will experience the most pain as it often eases off as you get older.
I’m sure most of you wouldn’t know this but there are actually two types of period pain, we call it dysmenorrhoea and they are split up into primary and secondary pain.
Keep reading to find out what the difference between these are…
Primary Dysmenorrhoea is the most common type of period pain, more commonly experienced by teenagers and young women.
It is believed that the natural chemicals produced by the body – prostaglandins – collect in the lining of the uterus (womb) causing the pain. So women who are experiencing high levels of pain during their period may have higher levels of prostaglandins which results in painful contractions.
The most common symptom of Primary Dysmenorrhoea is cramps. Many women will actually experience these the day before their period starts and they generally last between 1 to 3 days but as everything, this varies depending on each woman.
The second type of period pain is referred to as Secondary Dysmenorrhoea. This pain is highly unlikely in women under 30 years old as it is caused by an underlying condition that affects the uterus.
Many women are not aware of any complications that could point to secondary dysmenorrhoea, however if you have noticed a change in your period pain i.e. lasting longer than usual, dramatically more painful, etc. you may be experiencing secondary dysmenorrhoea.
Common symptoms of Secondary Dysmenorrhoea can include irregular periods, period like pain in-between periods, pain during intercourse or bleeding in-between periods. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms I urge you to make an appointment as soon as possible.
What to do to reduce the pain of your period?
There are many ways you can help yourself to reduce the pain caused by your period. Committing to gentle exercise like cycling, walking or swimming is a great way to help ease the pain. Stretching exercises also help so activities like yoga and Pilates are great.
We also recommend applying a heat bag or hot water bottle where you are experiencing the most pain, as this will ease the pain. In some cases, women find relief from gently massaging the area as well.
If you are experiencing extreme pain during your periods and want to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact our clinic on (02) 4959-3883 and we can arrange an appointment for you.
That’s it from me today,