You may know that you spend about a third of your life sleeping – but did you know that you’ll spend nearly a decade on your period?
These days, most girls get their first period around age 12. Though it sometimes feels like a bit of a nuisance, your period is actually quite an amazing thing, really. Your body is preparing your uterus to create the right environment to nurture a possible pregnancy.
For most women, this happens on a roughly 28-day cycle from menarche (your first period) to menopause (when they stop for good). Your period itself may last 2-7 days. You don’t lose as much blood as you might think – usually around 20-90 ml or 1-5 tablespoons.
That said, some women have much heavier periods. If that’s you, your period may be longer than 7 days with heavier bleeding. You’ll probably need to change your pad or tampon frequently, may need to double-up your sanitary protection (using a pad and a tampon) and may find that you sometimes bleed onto your clothes or sheets.
Then there’s period pain.
Period pain (or dysmenorrhoea to give it its proper name) is very common. It’s also quite varied, ranging from mildly annoying to quite significant.
In 2012, Italian researchers reported that 84% of the 408 female university students they surveyed had experienced period pain with 43% experiencing it every month. At least 1 in 4 women experienced a distressing level of period pain that required medication or absence from study or social activities.
A study of Canberra teenagers found that “Typical menstruation in adolescence includes pain (93%), cramping (71%), premenstrual symptoms (96%) and mood disturbance (73%).”
The monthly experience for about 25% of those girls was marked by severe pain, school absence and 5 or more symptoms.
So, period pain is regular, debilitating and yet you usually have to push through it (somehow) because you can’t really take time off work or school on a monthly basis. What’s going on and what can you do about it?
What causes period pain?
Most period pain is due to prostaglandins, compounds that perform many functions in your body, including making your uterus contract. That process of tensing and relaxing causes your uterus to expel its thick and bloody lining each month, which becomes your period.
Women who experience period pain tend to have higher levels of prostaglandins creating more powerful contractions.
How to treat period pain
The women in your family may already have their own home remedies for period pain.
Maybe your mum likes chamomile tea (known to relax nerves and ease muscle spasms) or perhaps your auntie swears by ginger.
Here’s what else you can do.
Apply some heat
You’ve probably already discovered that curling up on the couch and holding a heat pack to your belly feels good when you’ve got period pain.
A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis found that heat therapy was associated with a decrease in period pain with the added bonus of no side effects.
But, you can’t spend up to a week a month nursing your hot water bottle or wheat sack. You’ve got to go to work or school and you’d quite like to maintain a decent social life too.
That’s why you should consider a Deep Heat Period Pain Heat Patch. Apply a thin, odourless, oval-shaped patch to your tummy or lower back (on top of clothing) for sustained, day-long relief for up to 12 hours. The patches start to activate from 60 seconds and you’ll start to feel them working in just 5 minutes.
A 2019 Cochrane Review examined all the evidence on exercise and period pain. The review found that both low-intensity exercise like yoga and high-intensity exercise like aerobics reduced menstrual pain compared to not exercising.
So, even though you probably won’t feel like it, do try to make yourself move while you’re on your period. You don’t have to turn in a personal best but even a light workout or a short walk may ease your period pain and improve your mood.
Naproxen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, the main type of oral pain relief recommended for menstrual pain. Naproxen reduces the amount of prostaglandin you produce, which eases period pain.
Pain Relief Naproxen Liquid Capsules from the makers of Deep Heat provide fast relief from pain and last for up to 12 hours, helping you to get on with your day.
See your doctor
If you’re experiencing regular period pain or heavy menstrual bleeding, please don’t suffer in silence. Those days are long gone.
Find a supportive GP. After listening to your symptoms and examining you, your doctor may prescribe medication such as the contraceptive pill or refer you to a gynaecologist to investigate any underlying condition that may be contributing to your period pain.
Choosing the right period pain treatment
The right treatment choice for period pain depends on your symptoms and your preferences.
You’ll find Deep Heat’s period pain range available at Chemist Warehouse and other leading pharmacies.
If your pain is localised to your abdomen or lower back, then a Deep Heat Period Pain Heat Patch could be great. If, on the other hand, your period pain extends to more widespread muscle aches and headaches, then Pain Relief Naproxen Liquid Capsules may suit you because you can treat all your symptoms at once.
It may take some trial and error but you get 12 chances a year to find out what works for you, right?
All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. INCORRECT USE COULD BE HARMFUL.