How to eliminate your period pain quickly and effectively isn’t a question you’re likely to ask casually. While you’re curled up around a hot water bottle of pain, with an empty blister pack of Nurofen next to you, you’ll do almost anything to get relief. Here’s what a doctor recommends.
Periods look and feel different for everyone who has them. Some unlucky uterus owners experience a painful monthly booster for days before bleeding, while others are lucky to have only experienced stomach cramps after an intense ab workout.
Period pain is difficult to pin down in a single description. It can be all-consuming, sporadic, or an imperceptible flicker on the spectrum of PMS symptoms. It is also a subject that is very misunderstood, even contested, by half of the world’s population who are lucky enough to never really experience it.
To explain exactly how we can effectively treat period pain, Healthy-ish and Extra Healthy-ish host Felicity Harley consults an expert.
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Dr. Peta Wright is a gynecologist and author. On the back of his new book, Healing Pelvic PainDr. Wright discusses the many layers that can contribute to pelvic pain in girls and women, and shares some tips on how we can all better cope with it.
So, is period pain normal?
With studies showing that 93% of girls and women who menstruate experience discomfort or pain, the need for further analysis of pain management and treatment is paramount to well-being collective of Australian women from around the world.
But to better understand how to treat and avoid period pain, Dr. Wright says it’s important to truly understand what period pain is and what it can mean for our bodies.
“Periods are obviously a completely normal physiological thing that happens in the body of someone who has a uterus and ovaries,” says Dr. Wright. “But there are many things in our bodies that can make things worse for some women.”
The gynecologist says that factors that can contribute to higher levels of discomfort during a period are things such as a higher inflammation load in our body, a nervous system on high alert, increased stress or fear and even intestinal problems.
“There are a lot of things that overlap with the normal inflammatory response that can cause period pain to increase or decrease,” she says. “It’s not a dangerous event, but if you’re experiencing more than moderate pain, there’s something else going on in the rest of your body that may need attention.”
Taking painkillers is not the only answer
Although some period pain can make us want to crawl under the covers and hibernate, the gynecologist says a sedimentary routine can actually make things worse, encouraging us to keep moving throughout the day.
“Don’t stay bedridden, because that really tightens everything up,” says Dr. Wright, recommending slow movements like walks, gentle yoga, and stretching during this time.
“Anti-inflammatory supplements like ginger can be very effective,” adds Dr. Wright, as well as fish oil, magnesium, and zinc supplements.
The women’s health expert’s other tips for self-care during periods include taking time to slow things down when we’re feeling discomfort and remembering that we’re experiencing a normal, temporary part of life.
Preventing and relieving pain through our lifestyle
While the importance of a healthy diet to our health goes without saying, the women’s health expert reiterates the role our eating habits and choices can play in our menstrual experience.
“What we eat can affect our gut microbiome,” says Dr. Wright. “We want a very diverse gut biome because it helps us metabolize hormones, digest healthily, and reduce inflammation. »
The gynecologist says that some studies have shown that women who see improvements in their gut microbiome consequently notice a decrease in the prevalence of menstrual pain. She says an anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet has been associated with significant improvements. The expert attributes diet pillars, such as healthy fats, high fiber, and low levels of processed foods, to many health benefits.
So instead of gorging on a tub of ice cream every time you get your period, maybe opt for a fresh Mediterranean spread.
Want to hear more helpful information from Dr. Wright? Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts.
Originally published as Tips to Relieve Your Period Pain, According to a Doctor