Treatment For Painful PeriodsPosted on 2013-03-28 00:00:33
The treatment of dysmenorrhea is generally guided by the severity of the pain and the level of disruption of daily activity during menstruation. In mild cases, non-medicinal approaches can be used alone or in combination with mild pain relievers. In more severe cases, the use of multiple medications may be necessary to control the pain. However, there is no single simple easy to use and entirely safe method of treating dysmenorrhea in all women. Non-medicinal approaches These methods provide easy to implement home remedies that can be used in all stages of dysmenorrhea. Their effectiveness is not uniform for all women, with some swearing by them and others reporting no relief. They various approaches include:
- Engaging in various forms of exercise for example walking, abdominal exercises and stretch exercises. This should be started before the onset of the period for the benefits to be felt during menses.
- Abdominal massage or lower back massage helps relieve the discomfort, though this is not the case for all women.
- Taking hot baths has been reported as soothing.
- Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the lower abdomen or the lower back.
- Engaging in relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises.
- Getting adequate and regular sleep.
- Maintaining a healthy balanced diet. Some women have reported relief by adopting a low-fat diet or intake of fish-oil supplements.
- Pain relievers – The most common pain relievers used are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). There are several NSAID’s that have been used with varying effectiveness in relieving dysmenorrhea. These include drugs such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac, mefenamic acid and so on. These are preferably taken a few days before or at the onset of menses. Though they are readily available over the counter, it is advisable to consult a doctor before starting any particular NSAID to assess the safety. They should not be taken by those with peptic ulcer disease, kidney insufficiency or bleeding disorders.
- Hormonal oral contraceptives are also used to control dysmenorrhea. These drugs eventually inhibit ovulation, which reduces the amount of blood flow and the prostaglandins produced during menses. These two effects result in significant reduction of pain associated with menses. These are ofcourse useful in those not willing to conceive. The oral contraceptives can be used alone but are more often used in combination with the NSAIDs described above.
- The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) also referred to as the coil, which releases hormones (levonorgestrel) has also been reported to reduce the pain associated with dysmenorrhea. The basic copper-based IUCD without hormones has no effect on dysmenorrhea and in some instances has been reported to worsen dysmenorrhea.
- DepoProvera is an injectable hormonal contraceptive that can also be used to relieve dysmenorrhea.
- Acupuncture and acupressure have also been used to relieve dysmenorrhea.
- Vitamin supplements have been reported to provide relief of dysmenorrhea. These include vitamin B1, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids and magnesium.
- Various herbal treatments have also been used to relieve dysmenorrhea.
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