This week my series on women’s health relates to Period Pain.
Dysmenorrhoea (Period related pain)
Dysmenorrhoea can be a debilitating problem in women of reproductive age. The condition can be separated into Primary and Secondary
Primary: no underlying condition causing symptoms. Any pain is generally related to a women’s monthly menstrual cycle and usually presents as recurring cramp like symptoms, or abdominal or pelvic pain once her flow starts.
Secondary: symptoms are caused by another condition and then perhaps aggravated by menstrual activity. It more likely to occur in women over 40 and causes may include endometriosis, fibroids, endometrial polyps, pelvic inflammatory disease, and use of an intrauterine contraceptive device.
Pain associated with primary dysmenorrhoea is caused by uterine contractions and ischaemia (restriction of blood supply) and appears to be related to excess production of endometrial prostaglandin. This can cause contraction of bronchial, bowel, and vascular smooth muscle, resulting in bronchoconstriction, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and high blood pressure.
Risk Factors (examples)
- Weight fluctuation – being underweight or overweight increases risk
- Women who started menstruation at a young age (11 or under) are at higher risk
- Smoking can increase risk by 50%
Basic analgesics like paracetamol are the traditional starting point for treatment. However, the most effective results come from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as ibuprofen, which offer a higher level of pain relief in 70% – 90% of cases. There are many effective over the counter solutions that the pharmacist can offer, depending on the individual. The pharmacist can also discuss the potential use of Oral Contraceptives as these can offer a double benefit in managing the condition and preventing pregnancy, so, may prove ideal for some.
Could Chinese Medicine Help?
Whelehans Pharmacy offer a acupuncture and Chinese medicine service with practitioner Eddie Dowd; Eddie has experience of treating dysmenorrhoea so this is an option which can compliment modern medical options. Call 04493 34591 to book
To be continued next week….I discuss osteoporosis
For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). Find us on Facebook.