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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I stop my extreme menustration pain?

    Why is my period pain so extreme? I have to take panadeine forte for it.
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    Nikki Warren

    Naturopath

    Nikki Warren is committed to preconception care, natural fertility, and pregnancy through to postnatal care. Nikki is a degree qualified Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Doula and … View Profile

    Have you spoken to your GP about this?  You could have an underlying condition such as endometriosis which is causing your extreme pain.

    If you have had the all-clear by your GP, then there are a few things you can do naturally.

    Primary dysmenorrhoea is period pain which is not due to a secondary factor and is caused by a high level of prostaglandins in the menstrual fluid.  There are over-the-counter drugs you can take which possibly have an anti-prostaglandin action - mefenamic acid is usually effective.

    As far as natural treatment goes, I assume you already use a hot wheat bag or hot baths? Also, adequate rest, sleep and regular exercise are a good starting point.  Ginger has been found to be as effective as mefenamic acid in a clinical trial 250mg four times daily for 3 days from the start of your period.  Another trial found vitamin B1 to be effective if taken for at least 3 consecutive months - 100mg daily.  Vitamin E and magnesium may also help.

    Another interesting fact is that vegetarians have a lower incidence of period pain.  This is most likely due to the fatty acid pathways and how it affects prostaglandins.

  • Dr Joseph Jabbour

    Gynaecologist, Gynaecologist - Infertility (IVF) Specialist, Obstetrician

    Dr Joseph Jabbour is a specialist Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist with Monash IVF situated in Sunnybank (Brisbane Southside). Dr Jabbour has had the … View Profile

    It is not normal to have severe period pains (dysmenorrhea), especially those that require strong pain relief like panadeine forte.

    I would advise you to see your GP and get a referral to a gynaecologist to discuss the possibility of endometriosis and discuss management of this condition. They would also ask about other associated symptoms and you would have a pelvic examination and a pelvic ultrasound scan. 

    The first line of treatment is Ponstan (mefenamic acid) or another Nonsteroidal antiflammatory in combination with paracetamol. The more successful treatments rely on suppression of ovulation, or controlling your periods. This would involve the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill, or the Mirena Intrauterine Device. Alternatively, you may require laparoscopic surgery (keyhole) to treat the endometriosis. Your doctor would discuss all those options with you and you can decide what would work best for you. 

    Alternative treatments do help in combination with established therapies. A diet low in red meat and reduction of alcohol can help as well as increasing your vegetables and fruits intake. There was one study that showed that acupuncture helps as well. That being said, the most effective treatments are the medical ones mentioned above.

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