What Causes Period Pain
What Causes Period Pain?
Scientists think that period pains are related to prostaglandins – a substance your uterus (womb) makes – that causes the uterus to contract. The cramping feeling is your uterus contracting.
At the start of your period, there are high levels of prostaglandin, which is natural messenger molecules in your body that have hormone-like effects. They make the uterus (womb) contract so that it pushes the lining of the uterus. And as you start to menstruate, the levels decrease.
Period pain is draining. We know!
There are few redeeming qualities about being in pain for a week out of every month. (Maybe the excuse to eat chocolate ice cream? Staying cuddled under the duvet with a hot water bottle? Trying to look on the bright side here…)
But what’s actually happening to you? Well, let’s answer that question.
What is and what causes period pain?
What Is Period Pain?
First things first. Period pain is the discomfort you may feel a day or two before your period starts, which often continues into the first few days of your actual period.
Period pain symptoms include that dull ache you feel in your lower abdomen, lower back, and even upper thighs a day or two before your period starts.
What causes period pain?
Natural messenger molecules in your body called prostaglandins are ultimately what cause period pain. Prostaglandins make your uterus (womb) contract so that it pushes out the lining of your uterus (the endometrium). The lining leaves as a reddish fluid through your vagina – i.e. your period.
These contractions are felt as period cramps and are the cause of painful periods. Prostaglandins can also make you feel nauseous or give you diarrhoea. Fun times.
Having a particularly heavy flow can be a reason for a painful period. If you think about what causes menstrual pain, this makes sense. If your body has more period blood to expel, it needs to work (i.e. contract) harder, causing you to feel more intense period pain symptoms.
The good news is that not all periods are the same. One month may be heavier, the next lighter, or vice versa. Hope springs eternal.
How to relieve period pain?
Understanding the causes of painful periods can help you find solutions to ease your discomfort. As one of the key reasons for painful periods is contracting muscles, focus on activities that help your muscles relax and lengthen.
Taking a hot bath, cuddling up with a hot water bottle, and even exercising can help alleviate period pain.
If you have particularly bad period cramps, you may want to ask your parents about taking over-the-counter pain medication to help ease the pain.
Getting ready for your period
On the bright side, experiencing period pain symptoms before your period starts is a big clue that you should prepare yourself for getting your period in just a few days.
Be sure you’ve got enough Always Pads in your cupboard for up to 100% leakage protection during your period. And don’t forget to stock up on fun movies to watch curled up on the couch in your sweats for some feel-good girlie time.
So now you know what causes period pain and how to alleviate it – we hope getting your period feels less concerning. Why not tell a friend what causes period pain – and help alleviate their worry too!