Managing period cramps with painkillers can be harmful! An expert reveals how

Is it okay to consume painkillers during periods? Maybe not! An expert explains why it can be harmful for your health.

If the first thing you reach for is ibuprofen when your period cramps haunt you, it may not be the best idea. We get it that sometimes period pains, also known as dysmenorrhea, can be uncontrollable and you would want to do anything to make them stop. But here’s a word of caution – painkillers for menstrual cramps must be used for dire situations only vis-a-vis to mitigate manageable pain.

Wonder why? Well, painkillers come with a plethora of side effects, especially in the long run.

When HealthShots reached out to Dr Pratima Thamke, consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Mumbai, she told HealthShots, “You need to avoid painkillers as much as possible, because it can lead to side effects that could flare up if used for a longer period of time. Having an aspirin/ ibuprofen/ paracetamol tablet per day may not cause as much harm as having it 4 times does. So, a dosage not exceeding 250 gms per day of the medication is a good idea.”

painkillers for period
You need to speak with a doctor if you’re experiencing severe pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Not just you, but several women reach for painkillers to try and banish the agonising cramps. But relying on some drugs each month could actually be putting you at risk of some health problems.

Dr Thamke explains the many side effects of taking painkillers for period pain:
1. Constipation

You may be already having a tough time due to period cramps. Now you will have to tackle constipation too if you take painkillers regularly during the periods.

2. Acid reflux

This is the other unpleasant side-effect of taking painkillers to deal with along with painful periods.

3. Nausea and vomiting

You will feel pukish and may throw up after you take the medication.

4. Stomach pain

It is commonly seen due to popping pills.

5. Irregular heartbeat and chest tightening

This can be often seen after having a pill.

6. Dizziness

You will feel dizzy after having a pill while on your period. This will make it difficult for you to focus on the work.

7. Diarrhoea

This is another issue commonly seen after popping a pill.

painkillers for period
Healthy gut means healthy you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
8. Stomach ulcer

You will be shocked to know that even an ulcer can be formed on a stomach or small intestine that can be immensely painful. It can bleed and be dangerous. In severe cases, one may have to be admitted to the hospital.

Hence, it is better to avoid taking painkillers and go for natural options to get that much-needed relief.

So here are the home remedies for you:
1. Hot compress

Placing something warm on the pelvic area can ease abdominal cramping and pain.

2. Stay hydrated

Dr Thamke says, “Bloating can worsen menstrual cramps. Thus, staying hydrated can alleviate pain. Moreover, having hot water can help to increase blood flow in the body and relax your muscles. This can lessen the cramps that are caused by uterine contractions.”

painkillers for period
Stay hydrated to stay fit. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. exercise

You will not even think of exercising while you are on your periods. Yes, that will be the last thing on my mind. But exercise can release endorphins, helping you in relaxing the tense muscles.

4. Massage

Having a good massage can increase blood flow in the body, and help you tackle pain.

5. Herbal teas

“Try options like fennel or ginger tea to naturally manage period pain. Fennel and ginger contain anti-inflammatory properties and antispasmodic compounds that help in dealing with the muscle spasms in the uterus that lead to cramping,” says Dr Thamke.

So ladies, before you pop painkillers for period pain relief, try these home remedies first.

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