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Managing Painful Periods


Dysmenorrhoea, the medical term for painful periods, causes pain and cramps in the lower abdomen.

Other symptoms can include headaches, nausea, constipation or diarrhoea and vomiting.

Painful periods tend to peak quite soon after puberty, so if your periods are getting increasingly painful as you get older, see your Pharmacist or doctor.

There are two categories of dysmenorrhoea. Primary dysmenorrhoea is the term used for painful periods that have no known cause. Symptoms tend to last one to two days. Secondary dysmenorrhoea can be caused by endometriosis, inflammation of the fallopian tubes, or fibroids (growths in the uterus).

If you have painful periods, see your doctor to discuss treatment.


  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac
  • Aspirin or paracetamol.
  • Contraception – some women find taking the combined pill helpful.
  • Mirena (an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) – which reduces pain and bleeding for most women.

Your local Life Pharmacist can talk to you in private about any of the above and discuss supplements like fish oil and vitamin B12 that may be helpful.

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Dysmenorrhoea, the medical term for painful periods, causes pain and cramps in the lower abdomen.


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