Just because period pain is common doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. Here are some tips for managing pain.

Countless women in New Zealand deal with period pain several days per month – sometimes more. Period pain can also come with other less-than-pleasant symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, constipation, backaches, and nausea. And, by Murphy’s Law, it often arrives at the worst possible time.

But, just because period pain is a fact of life for many, doesn’t mean you have to grin and bear it without support. There are ways to minimise the pain and make yourself more comfortable.

Whether you’re looking for support on behalf of yourself or a loved one, here are some tips for making period pain more bearable.

Tips for managing period pain

Please note: These are intended as ideas only, not medical advice. If your period pain is severe, debilitating, and ongoing, please consult a medical professional.

1. Try over-the-counter pain relief

One way to stay comfortable is with pain relief medication. There are several over-the-counter options available, such as Maxigesic®, a patented medication that combines paracetamol with ibuprofen for double-action pain relief.

2. Rest with a hot water bottle

Another idea is to curl up with a hot water bottle. Some people report that cuddling a hot water bottle relaxes the muscles in their abdomen and makes the cramps feel more bearable. It also offers a sense of comfort.

3. Soak in a warm bath

Similar to the hot water bottle method, a hot soak in the bath can also provide some heat-induced comfort for aches and pains. At the very least, it’s a chance to rest and reset.

4. Consider hormonal support

Some women report a decrease in period pain when they start taking the contraceptive pill or get a Mirena (Intrauterine Contraceptive Device, IUD). Both the pill and IUDs come with side effects so it’s important to discuss your options thoroughly with your GP.

5. Consider supplementation

There’s emerging evidence that supplements such as fish oil or vitamin B-12 might help with period pain, but more research is needed. Many people benefit from taking fish oil or vitamin B-12 for other health reasons, so it might be worth trying these supplements to see if they improve your periods, too. As always, it’s best to speak with your GP before taking anything new.

Period pain vs. discomfort

Some people experience discomfort rather than pain. While period pain is sore and intense, period discomfort is more like an annoyance or dull ache. One way to minimise discomfort is through taking care of yourself with gentle movement, a wholesome diet, and plenty of rest and relaxation.

  • Try gentle yoga to relax your muscles (and your mind).
  • Go for a walk or do other light exercise. Movement can distract you from the discomfort by providing endorphins – also known as ‘feel-good hormones’.
  • Drink more water to ensure dehydration doesn’t add to your discomfort.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks and high-sugar drinks, as these might make bloating worse.
  • Drink herbal tea, which can offer natural anti-inflammatories.

Certain strategies will feel heaven-sent to some and ineffective to others, so it’s all about finding what works for your body.

In summary

Dealing with periods is a monthly reality for many women, but there are tried and tested ways to manage pain and make your life more comfortable. Try different remedies to see what works best for you, including consulting your doctor if the pain begins to interfere with your day-to-day life.

Disclamer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not substitute advice from your healthcare professional. If symptoms persist or you require specialist advice, please consult your healthcare professional.