Painful Periods

Painful periods are often seen as a normal part of the menstrual process. Far too many women, far too often, suffer in silence, unaware that help is available and there are effective solutions.

In fact, periods needn’t be painful, and if you’re suffering with persistent pain, it’s always advisable to see your GP or a gynaecologist who can investigate the cause of your symptoms. It’s important that conditions like endometriosis and adenomyosis are ruled out where possible.

Altered hormone levels and stress are cited as some of the most common catalysts for menstrual pain, but the causes are often a little more nuanced than that.

Studies have shown that persistent menstrual pain is often associated with tension in the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. These muscles tighten partly in response to uterine contractions, but in doing so, create additional tension around the pelvis that can lead to pain and abdominal cramping.

25% of women report that period pain affects their ability to work and 4% have taken time off as a result. Many women will cancel social activities and avoid exercise during their period – either because they fear it may increase their pain, or the pain itself can make them feel lethargic and demotivated.

In fact, for most women exercise should be embraced rather than avoided during a painful period. Tailoring exercise to your specific needs during your period is a great way of alleviating tension in the abdomen and pelvic floor and has a natural analgesic effect. For some, this means doing rigorous cardiovascular exercise, for others it means doing more gentle mobility work and stretches such as Pilates or Yoga. Every person is different and trial and error, as well as listening to your body, are some of the best ways of finding out what works for you.

If you do suffer from painful periods, it’s not something you should have to put up with. A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist can help to establish the root cause of the abdominal and pelvic floor issue, and work with you to resolve the problem.

Quite often, weakness or persistent tension in the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles can exacerbate menstrual pain and lead to unnecessary suffering. Your Physio can prescribe a treatment plan along with specific exercises to ease and often resolve the problem . They can also teach you ways of alleviating period pain when it occurs. Pelvic floor stretches and relaxation techniques, manual treatment, pelvic floor and abdominal strengthening and exercise prescription are just some of the techniques used. Your Physio may also discuss stress management strategies and strategies to help balance your hormones..

Education and finding the right strategy for you is integral to managing and alleviating period pain.

If you’d like to speak to one of our specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapists, please complete the following enquiry form and we’ll contact you to arrange a convenient time.

Self-paid pelvic floor consultations can also be booked online.

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