What you need to know about periods.

Period pains

Are normal and extremely common in a woman’s menstrual cycle. This pain is often felt in the Belly but can also be felt in thighs and sometimes in the lower back.

Period pain can vary from person to person and can vary from each period. In some case a women may feel truly little or even no discomfort at all. Of course, this can also be reversed and a women may feel extremely painful periods.

This pain can come in intense spasms or the pain maybe constant and dull. A person may even feel pain in their pelvic even if they are not on their Period.


Before I talk about period pain caused by contraceptive device and medical conditions, let us talk briefly about what causes period pains.

(I will be doing an endocrine write up soon) which involves the hormones such as prostaglandin, insulin, adrenaline, oestrogen etc.

The womb has a muscular wall which contracts. Part of the process is stopping the blood and oxygen supplies.

Without an oxygen supply the tissue in-the womb releases a chemical which causes pain now a women can have mild contraction throughout, yet they are so mild are not noticed.

During a woman’s period the muscular walls of the womb will contract more rapidly, this helps the womb shed its lining.

When this is happening, and the oxygen and blood supply is being cut off and the body is releasing those pain triggering chemicals it will also be making prostaglandins.


These are compounds in the body made of fats that have hormone-like effects. I find these really fascinating, as they can have different effects depending on the receptors where they attach.

Some known effects include uterine cramping and increased sensitivity to pain.

Researchers have even created artificial prostaglandins for use in medication to induce labour. There are many interesting facts about prostaglandins another one would be that different ones have different effects. And often these effects are exact opposites. Examples include:

  • constriction or dilation of blood vessels
  • forming platelets into a cluster or breaking them up
  • opening or closing up airways
  • contracting or relaxing smooth muscle in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • causing uterine contractions in pregnancy and when not pregnant

Prostaglandin receptors are present in the uterus whether you are pregnant or not. Doctors think that prostaglandins may be responsible for uterine cramping that can cause painful periods.

Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, blocks prostaglandins and may help reduce menstrual pain.

Some Women may experience more period pain then others and this may be because some women have a build-up of prostaglandins, which means they experience stronger contractions.

Other medical conditions

There can be an underlying medical condition although they are not particularly common but can include fibroids, this is a non-cancerous tumour that can grow around or even in the womb, this can make a woman’s periods very painful and heavy. Pelvic inflammatory disease is where the women’s womb, Fallopian tubes and ovaries are infected by a bacteria causing inflammation and swelling. Endometriosis, this is where the cells from inside the womb grow on other places such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries this can cause extreme pain when they shed.

Adenomyosis this can become very painful as the tissue which is normally lining the womb grows within the muscular walls of the womb. Period pain caused by a medical condition tends to be less common again and tends to be in women aged 30 to 45 years of age.


Which is an intrauterine device, is a form of contraception which is made from plastic and copper it fits just inside the womb. This can cause period pains especially within the frost couple of months of been inserted. You may get irregular periods, bleeding between periods, a thick or foul discharge, pain during sex. There could be changes on the pattern of your period pain which can also be linked to IUD-contraceptive or if it were due to a medical condition.


What a lengthy period pain lasts

Although some women can have period pains days before their periods starts, period pain normally starts when the bleeding starts. The pain can last 48 hours up to 72 hours and sometimes longer and the pain will normally be at its worse when the bleeding is at its heaviest. Many women who have normal periods so not medical condition often improves after childbirth, and periods will improve as they age.


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By Aaron Christopher Slade

A.C.S Nutritional Therapist and weight loss specialist. A registered nutritional therapist.

A.C.S Nutritional Therapist and weight loss specialist.
A registered nutritional therapist.