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Are Periods Painful? & How to Relieve Period Symptoms

Period pain sucks, period. Nobody wants it, and yet a ton of us are reduced to grumbling messes 12 or so times a year. Periods are different for everyone, so let’s help you evaluate your period pain.

It’s not uncommon for periods to be painful. In fact, around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lives, be it as a teen or adult. And for some people, the pain is severe enough to make everyday tasks as tough as climbing a mountain! It truly calls into question what menstruation should feel like and how to identify concerning levels of pain. If you find yourself asking questions like; “Are periods painful?” or “What does period cramping feel like?” then this article is certainly for you.

Period pains but no period

On some occasions, you might experience period pains but no blood or period. There’s no need to panic as there are plenty of reasons why this might happen and they usually aren’t a cause for concern. In most cases, early period pain means you’ll start bleeding in a day or two. Plenty of people start to feel period bloating, pain and cramping beforehand. This is a common symptom of ovulation in which you might experience a sharp one-sided pain in the lower abdomen, typically about 14 days before your period.

We recommend consulting a healthcare professional for diagnosis if you’re experiencing period ‘like’ pains without a period for longer than a week. There are dozens of mild to severe conditions such as menopause, stress and pelvic inflammatory disease that could also result in ongoing abdominal/pelvic pain. 

Are painful periods a sign of good fertility?

Painful periods aren’t always directly linked to your fertility, but they can be a symptom of underlying health conditions. For example, endometriosis and PCOS are two common conditions that can result in severe period pain and infertility. Endometriosis is a disease where muscle tissue grows outside the uterus and causes pain. It affects about *10% of women and girls worldwide who are at reproductive age. PCOS is a hormonal condition that impacts how the ovaries work and it can often cause irregular periods and cramping pain.

The best way to determine if painful periods are affecting your fertility is to consult a doctor, gynaecologist or healthcare professional. You’ll want to be screened for conditions that can affect fertility as soon as possible, especially if you plan to fall pregnant and have children.

So, why are my periods so painful?

Whilst no one knows why some people’s periods are more painful than others, we do know that the muscles surrounding the uterus are continually contracting and for most of the time you will not even know this is happening. Just before and during your period these contractions can become more intense as they help shed the lining of the uterus. If you have a feeling that your pain exceeds the typical levels of discomfort, don’t shy away from taking action. You can start out with some home remedies such as cuddling a hot water bottle or getting more exercise to increase blood flow. But as soon as your period prevents you from showing up as the best version of yourself and having a productive day, give the doctor a call.

Lil-Lets pads and tampons make it a whole lot easier to manage your period. Benefit from absorbent and comfortable period products with a great fit. 

*https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis [Accessed: 23 November 2022]

Browse our range of absorbent and comfortable period products

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Frequently asked questions

Where do you get period pains?

Period pains are typically felt in the abdominal area, but it may vary each cycle. The pain can also be felt in the thighs and lower back, especially for those with severe period pain.

Are painful periods normal?

Painful periods are normal and common. It usually feels like cramping or bloating in the abdominal area. For some people, the pain is consistent while others get a sudden bout of pain. However, if you find that your period pain is debilitating, reach out to a medical professional. 

What are period cramps equivalent to?

Period cramps can be equivalent in pain to mild to moderate labour contractions. Women can experience a range of menstrual cramp severity, and various natural remedies such as massage, herbal teas, and magnesium supplements can help alleviate menstrual cramps.

What tea is good for menstrual cramps?

Peppermint and ginger tea are good options for menstrual cramps, as they can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Chamomile and lavender tea can also help to promote relaxation and reduce menstrual cramps.

Why are my periods getting more painful?

The more prostaglandin hormones you have in your body, the more painful your period might be. This means that as the hormones build up, your period could get more painful. There is also the possibility of having secondary dysmenorrhea (period pain)  — a medical condition that usually develops with age.

How long do menstrual cramps last?

Generally, menstrual cramps can last anywhere from one to three days, although some women may experience cramps for longer periods of time. The intensity of menstrual cramps can also vary and can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that affects daily activities.

Can period pain kill you?

Painful periods usually cannot kill you, unless there is an underlying life-threatening condition behind the painful periods. Severe menstrual pain can point to other conditions that might be serious. Consult a doctor if you often experience extreme period pain.

When do menstrual cramps start?

Menstrual cramps usually start a day or two before the onset of menstruation when the uterus begins to contract to shed its lining. However, some women may experience cramps several days before their period begins, while others may experience them during their period.

Which magnesium is best for menstrual cramps?

When it comes to menstrual cramps, magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide are two forms of magnesium that are commonly recommended. Magnesium citrate is more easily absorbed by the body than magnesium oxide, which can help to reduce muscle tension and alleviate menstrual cramps more effectively.

How painful are periods supposed to be?

There is no set threshold for how painful periods are supposed to be — everyone’s body is different. Ideally, you shouldn’t feel any pain at all. 

Are period pains contagious?

Period pains are not contagious. Contrary to widespread myths, it’s unlikely for an individual to affect another person’s current menstrual cycle by being in close proximity.

What are painful periods a sign of?

Painful periods can be a sign of conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and several other disorders that affect your hormones. If you are diagnosed with any of these conditions, treating them should play a role in reducing menstrual period pain.

Where does it hurt when you get your period?

It hurts when you get your period because the muscles around the wall of the uterus are contracting to shed its lining. This often puts stress on the body and results in throbbing and cramps in the lower abdomen.

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