Let’s be honest – your period can be painful and painkillers can be a real lifesaver, especially if you have to leave the house and exist in the real world. However, as with any medication or supplement, it’s always a good idea to discuss its use with your doctor to be sure you’re making a choice that’s right for you. Here’s everything you’ve been dying to know about using painkillers on your period.
1. They Might Slow Your Blood Flow
The evidence here is mixed, but many health professionals acknowledge the blood flow reduction that can occur when you take ibuprofen. You’re going to lose all the blood anyway, but slowing it down can make you more comfortable and lengthen the time between trips to the bathroom. Ibuprofen can also help with cramps at the same time.
2. They Can Alleviate Cramps
As I said above, some painkillers can help control the cramps that go with having your period. Though all of them won’t work for every person, chances are there’s one out there that can help you. If your cramps are really bad, you might need to discuss a prescription painkiller with your doctor. Keep in mind that they are often addictive, so use them as a last resort.
3. They Can’t Target Period Pain
You’ve probably seen the specific painkillers for certain areas of your body – back, migraine, etc. However, many experts say that painkillers can’t be used to target certain types of pain. So, instead of hunting down a painkiller that is specific for menstrual pain, just pop a couple of Tylenol or Advil and you should be good to go.
4. They Can Worsen Pain
If you only pop a couple of painkillers now and then for period pain, it’s likely that you’ll get the results you want. However, some research suggests that overusing painkillers can actually be counterintuitive. As your body adjusts to their effects, you may need more to get the same results. This can increase your perception of pain and leave you taking more pills than is healthy. Try other methods first, such as a hot pad or a warm bath.
5. Long Term Risks
If you find yourself eating painkillers like candy during your period, you may be setting yourself up for health issues down the road. New research reports that overusing certain over the counter painkillers increases the risk of kidney, liver and heart problems. This is due to cumulative use, so don’t worry if a particularly painful month means you take more than usual. As a general rule, however, watch your use of painkillers so you don’t have worry about other issues.
6. There Are Other Options
If your period pain is just too much to bear, there is hope in forms other than painkillers. If you’ve decided that drugs aren’t the answer for you, talk to your doctor about other things you can try. Acupuncture, relaxation and yoga are some alternative treatments that bring relief to many women.
7. Ibuprofen is Best
According to a Mintel market research report, ibuprofen is your best bet for treating period cramps. It is said to interfere with hormone substances, which is why it can block the pain during menstruation. Follow the package directions very carefully and don’t ever take more than is recommended.
How do you take care of your period pain? I find that a nice long nap is just the answer. Which painkillers work best for you?