How To Deal With Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhoea)


Painful menstruation, called ‘dysmenorrhoea’ in medical science, is a distressing issue for those who suffer from it. It may be severe enough to disturb the quality of life and may cause problems leading to lack of productivity at work. A study carried out by Nishtar hospital, Multan, found that dysmenorrhoea is present in 64.4% of the subjects. Among those, the majority (almost 85 %) suffered dysmenorrhoea for 1st and 2nd day of the cycle. (Ref: Professional Medical journal, Oct-Dec 2006)

Primary and Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

There are two types of dysmenorrhoea – primary and secondary. The former occurs in young girls, especially teens. The cause is largely unknown and the problem usually settles with time. The pain is typically worst on day one of the menses and substantially improves as the days pass by. Painkillers can provide relief if used with doctor’s advice. Your doctor will monitor you and prescribe the right painkillers for you. Oral contraceptive pills may be prescribed in selected cases. Various studies report successful pain relief with these medications in 64% to 100% of subjects. Hot water packs and resting also helps in milder cases.

Secondary dysmenorrhoea indicates some gynecological problem (pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis, for instance) and should be addressed immediately.

Symptoms of Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

Unlike primary dysmenorrhoea, secondary dysmenorrhoea is something quite serious.

You may be suffering from it, if you experience either of these:

  • You used to have painless periods for quite some years  and now you’re suffering from pain during your menstruation days
  • Pain is not settled by use of typical pain-killer medications
  • Dysmenorrhoea beginning after 25 years of age can also be a symptom for secondary dysmenorrhoea
  • Pain sets in 2-3 days before the onset of cycle and immediately improves once  the menstruation starts
  • Pain  starts on day one but the severity increases as the days pass by. If this pain becomes severe by the end of the cycle, it’s probably time to consult your doctor.


Comfort foods for dysmenorrhoea

A research shows that Vitamin B1 is an effective treatment for dysmenorrhoea, if taken at a dose of 100 mg daily. Common Pakistani food items rich in vitamin B1 are sesame seeds (Till), Coriander seeds (Khushk dhaniya), pine nuts (chilghoza), and almonds and peanuts. Taking 1 Tbsp of roasted sesame seeds daily with breakfast is a convenient way to meet much of the daily requirement of vitamin B1.

shutterstock 118659631 300x226 How To Deal With Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhoea)

Among minerals, magnesium seems to be a promising treatment for dysmenorrhoea. However, studies are still lacking facts to prove its efficacy.

A study carried out by Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran,  proved ginger (Adrak)  to be as effective as the conventional pain killers in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhoea. Ginger can be easily brewed up into a delightful cup of tea.


You can use the following quick recipe to prepare healthy ginger tea to relieve menstrual pain.INGREDIENTS :• Water, 4 cups

• 2-inch piece of fresh Ginger

• Optional: Honey and Lemon slice


Peel the ginger and slice it. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the ginger. Cover it and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste. 

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