Do you take painkillers for period pains every month? Doctors warn of risky consequences

Once a month, the vast majority of women suffer menstrual cramps.

The intensity varies – for one in five, it can be as painful as a heart attack.

Consequently, most women resort to popping a few doses of over-the-counter painkillers, sometimes up to seven days every month, in order to dispel the pain and keep working as normal.

It makes sense: other natural options – like an ancient Chinese massage or hot compresses – are less practical in, for example, an office context.

However, Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr Sahil Khanna warns overdoing this regular pill-popping could set you up for some uncomfortable health issues down the line, including stomach ulcers, acid reflux and digestive problems.

UCLA gynecologist Aparna Sridhar, MD, insists it is not a black and white situation – pain management is incredibly individualized, and women who have unbearable cramps can often see results using a combination of natural methods and painkillers.

Here, we run through the risks of painkillers and the alternative methods that women could try.


According to Dr Khanna, anything more than two is risky, especially if it’s repeated day after day, month after month.

‘We [gastroenterologists] like to avoid Advil-like medicines as much as possible,’ he told Daily Mail Online.

‘The maximum is four 250mgs a day – three is better, two is even better.

‘Taking them so much can have serious gastrointestinal side effects.

‘It is particularly risky for patients who are also taking aspirin or ibuprofen, or they smoke or drink alcohol.’

Common side effects include acid reflux, constipation and diarrhea – though patients may not realize it is stemming from their painkiller use.

The biggest thing to be concerned about, though, is an ulcer on the stomach or small intestines, which can be incredibly painful, Dr Khanna warns.

Ulcers can go unnoticed for months or years. If they don’t heal of their own accord, they can bleed through the intestines into the patient’s stool, which can be alarming, dangerous and, again, painful.

Over time, regularly popping nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (known as NSAIDs, like Advil) can also dangerously lower blood pressure and hemoglobin levels, which, Dr Khanna warns, is not something to be easily ignored.


WOW! Indian Firm Lets Female Employees Take The First Day Of Their PERIOD Off Work

Ever had to call in sick with a headache or food poisoning because you felt too awkward – or embarrassed – to say you had terrible period pain?

One Mumbai-based company is now offering women an automatic paid day off on the first day of their period if they have severe cramps – or other menstrual pain – making being in the office unmanageable.

Culture Machine Media released a YouTube video featuring some of its 75 female employees to mark the policy launch, and created a petition on calling for First Day Of Period (FOP) Leave Policy to be implemented across India.


The company argues that women should not have to ‘keep periods hidden’, writing alongside the video: ‘It’s time we address that women menstruate and it is okay to take a day off to get through the discomfort.

The first day was chosen, the firm explained because it was when most women reported experiencing bad pain.

When the video – which has now been viewed more than 135,000 times – was shot, Culture Machine employees had no idea about the plan.

It shows female staff talking about how they feel on the first day of their periods and asking them if they have ever had to make up excuses to take time off to cope.

The responses varied, with some saying they experienced severe pain and others reporting mood swings. All said that they would like the option of taking the day off.

Some had previously felt too awkward to explain to a male boss why they couldn’t make it into the office.

Period-cramps-can-be-uncomfortable (1)

On discovering the policy would be implemented, one employee said: ‘I think it’s damn cool in the sense that it is saying: Hey! [Bad period pain] is a good enough reason for you not to come to work.’

While the company’s petition, launched in conjunction with female employees, has received 25,000 signatures within one week and interest is growing.

The company is not the first to launch ‘menstrual leave’ as a policy. Nike adopted it back in 2007 and being allowed time off for period pain is a federal legal requirement in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.


Read More: Daily Mail

DID YOU KNOW? Painful Periods Are a CLUE To What Giving Birth Will Be Like, Reveals Study

Most women experience period pain at some point in their lives.

For some, ‘time of the month’ causes little or no discomfort, while for others it can be excruciating. Most of us dismiss period pain as just ‘one of those things’ and get on with it.

However, it seems the level of discomfort you feel can be a warning sign of what level of pain to expect from childbirth.

‘The initial stages of labour are very similar to periods,’ explains Dr Dasha Fielder, an Australia GP who specialises in women’s health.

‘Except with periods the pain stays about the same, whereas with labour it continues to increase and get worse until the baby is born.’


The reason behind the thinking is that period and childbirth pain are similar as they both originate from the cervix opening. As with childbirth, menstruating also involves contractions.

Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb contracts to encourage the womb lining to shed away as part of your monthly period.

During the heaviest days of our period, the cervix open ups to around one cms to allow the uterine lining to pass.

The continual contractions are usually so mild that most women can’t feel them. but for some, this process involves cramping and intense bursts of pain.


During labour, the cervix needs to open not one cm but around 10 to allow the baby to be born.

‘The initial stages of labour, when the cervix goes from around zero to five centimetres in diameter, are very, very similar to period cramps,’ Fielder tells Mamamia.

‘It tends to be in a cyclical fashion and the contractions come usually every half an hour or every 20 minutes, and it does feel exactly like period pain.

‘I have tested it three times with my children, so I can tell you as a doctor and a mother it’s exactly right.’ She explained the pain comes from the many nerve fibres within the cervix.

Here’s A Guide To Dealing With The Menstrual Cycle

Monthly periods come with moods, irritability, lack of appetite , cravings etc. It’s enough for one not to be pregnant bu another thing to act like you are.

Many  women are usually unhappy during this time but that shouldn’t be the case, as this is a manageable thing.

Here is a guide to help you during your menses. 

To help prevent those  symptoms of PMS, like irritability, intense cramping, constipation and headaches, avoid sour salty and pungent-tasting foods. Examples of these include chili peppers, garlic, onions, ginger, excess salt, lemons, limes, sea vegetables and nuts.

Instead  try the sweeter options  such as lentils, carrots, beets, bananas, mangoes, spinach, kale, green cabbage, turmeric, zucchini, cranberries, pomegranates, pears, broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus.

You might also want to ditch the alcohol and caffeine as they will dehydrate you more. Instead take in more water to keep your body hydrated. This might work differently as for others caffeine works just fine and infact reduces lethargy.

Avoid stressful situations as much as you can because chances are you might make a wrong decision because of bad moods.

Eat small portions spread over the day as bloating is likely to occur if you over eat plus if you’re nauseous you might vomit.

If you have cravings for meat regularly, it might be an indication of anaemia so you might want a doctor to advice.

If you have cramps, keeping warm will help. You can use  Ointment and rub on your tummy, then place a hot water bottle and cover up.

You may also take pain killers, but remember to keep warm especially in cold seasons because the muscles in the uterus contract hence the cramps. Keeping warms makes the contractions less painful.

Keep lemon water on standby if you suffer from nausea.



Facts you should know before using a menstrual cup

During the monthly cycle different women use different products to help with the flow, these range from sanitary pads, tampons, cotton wool to the menstrual cup.

The cup is inserted  into the vagina and collects the blood. It can take up to 8 or 9 hours to become full depending on how heavy your flow is, sometimes much less than that. Once it is full you take it out, dump the blood, rinse it off, and put it back in.

The usage of the cup isn’t as common as that of the sanitary pads, however for the few who use it or for those who would like to use them, there are a few things that one should know before hand:

1. Water – You will need to bring  with you a bottle of water everywhere you go. Most public restrooms do not have water in the stall other than a toilet and you don’t want to be rinsing your cup out in the open. Make sure that you have a bottle of water on hand every time you need to empty the cup.

2. Measurements- If you have problems with your cycle or are trying to watch it for tracking purposes, the cup makes a great measuring tool. You will be able to get a much better idea of how much blood you are actually losing as opposed to trying to guess based on the number of pads you have used. Pads absorb different amounts so that makes it harder to measure.

3. Customization – There is a small tab on the bottom of the cup that helps you to remove it when it is time. Some women state that they can feel this while walking and it makes things very uncomfortable. You can customize it however and cut this tab to a length that will make it seem like it’s not even there, much like a tampon string. There are also different colors that you can choose from.

4. Environment – These cups are environmentally friendly. They are reusable and do not create a bunch of paper waste. They are made of medical silicone so that you can use them over and over. There are also no chemicals or scents like you find in pads so the chance of irritation is much lower.

5. Time – You do not have to worry as much about changing the cup. You can go far longer with one in than a tampon or wearing a pad. You may want to wear a panty-liner just in case of a leak but you should be able to go at least half a day depending on your flow.



Hormones in women might trigger asthma attacks

Asthma – is a respiratory disease  that makes airways become inflamed when in contact with a trigger, causing characteristic symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing.

Typically, pollen, dust and pet hair have been identified as common triggers – but, increasingly, evidence suggests that hormones can be a significant trigger in women.

‘It’s thought that 25 to 40 per cent of female asthmatics may have pre-menstrual associated asthma symptoms, with 4 to 5 per cent having a more severe deterioration, which may lead to an attack,’ says Dr Adrian Draper, a consultant respiratory physician, in London.

A study  on women showed that  at the results of daily peak flow meter tests, which are used to measure how quickly you can exhale air and indicate your lung function, show that the levels of airflow dropped about a week before one’s period.

This would become critical about two days before and improving a few days after a period ended.

The study which is still under-way is trying to see if there is a correlation between hormones and asthma in women.


Sport’s last taboo – period pains

There are few taboos left in sport but how women “suffer in silence” through their period pains is one that needs to be acknowledged, according to former British number one Annabel Croft.

She made the comments after current British number one Heather Watson was knocked out of the Australian Open after admitting she felt unwell.

“I think it’s just one of these things that I have, girl things,” Watson told reporters.

The 22-year-old said she felt dizzy, sick and had low energy levels that were so bad she was forced to call a doctor towards the end of the first set in her 6-4, 6-0 first round loss to Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova.

She had come into the opening Grand Slam of the season in top form having won the lead-up Hobart International.

Croft told BBC radio that Watson’s comments were “brave” and that women would “identify completely” with her symptoms.

“Women’s monthly issues seems to be one of those subjects that gets swept under the carpet and is a big secret,” she said.

“Women dealing with these issues at any time is hard enough, but actually trying to go out there and trying to play top-level sport at one of the most crucial times in the calendar year. It is just really unlucky.

“I think women do suffer in silence on this subject. It has always been a taboo subject.”

Watson said not being able to play to her full ability due to “women issues” was “really frustrating”.

“But it happens and you’re dealt with different cards on different days and I should have dealt with it better. It’s a real shame and it sucks.”

Tara Moore, a tennis player friend of Watson and the current British number five, said she had complete sympathy with her menstrual cycle falling during major tournaments for the past six years.

“We have to deal with another element that no one speaks about really,” she told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, adding that she thinks the sport’s governing body should consider changing the rules about toilet breaks.

Currently players can only take a break once every set.

“That should be enough really but if it’s a long set it can be tough,” she said, adding that Wimbledon’s insistence that all players wear white was another issue for women going through the menstrual cycle.

Photo Credits : AFP

Ladies, painkiller diclofenac is not an over the counter drug for menstrual cramps

The healthcare regulator has reclassified diclofenac tablets, ending over-the-counter sales of the drug. The medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it was associated with a “small but increased” risk of heart problems.

The change means patients using diclofenac will need a prescription from their doctor.

Dr Sarah Branch, the mHRA’s Vigilance and Risk management of medicines Deputy Director, said: “If patients have recently bought diclofenac tablets from their pharmacy and continue to need pain relief they should talk to their pharmacist about suitable alternative treatments.

“However there is no problem if they wish to stop taking diclofenac in the meantime.”

She added that those who have been prescribed diclofenac by a doctor should continue to take their medicine as instructed, as their medical history and any tests will already have been assessed.



Ruby cup: The amazing menstrual cup keeping girls in school

(Directions on how to use the ruby cup)

According to global hand organisation about 65% of women and girls in Kenya cannot afford sanitary pads and hence the need to find a permanent solution for save women the stigma during menstruation. The ruby cup serves the perfect solution to this women and school girls.

What is there to know about the Ruby cup? Ruby cup is a high quality, eco-friendly menstrual cup made out of 100% medical silicon. It can be reused up-to 10 years. The size fits comfortably even in women who have given birth. It costs 100sh which is equivalent to one packet of sanitary towels. You can go up-to 12 hours without emptying the cup. According to the ruby website the material is easy to clean and because it is smooth it enables for soft insertion and removal. It is a viable option for women without access to sanitary towels.