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Periods are an inevitable part of the month for every women in her childbearing years, but one in five women experiences a monthly hell.

Are you suffering from heavy, painful and prolonged periods, in the most literal sense of that word? You will want answers: you want to know why your period is such a nightmare, and you will want to know how to make it stop. 

Causes of heavy, painful and prolonged periods

Painful menstrual periods are also called dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a very real problem for a large number of women, and a common reason to take time off work. It may be quite hard to find people who are truly understanding and sympathetic if you have this problem many women get written off as simply being whiny, about something that is so normal. But make no mistake; dysmenorrhea is not the same as normal periods. Before you can make any attempt to find out what you can possibly do to remedy your painful, heavy and prolonged periods, you first have to find out what causes them. Consulting an OBGYN is a great first step. Some of the possible causes of dysmenorrhea are:

  • Endometriosis. This is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterine wall also grows in other reproductive organs like the fallopian tube and ovaries. Around 178 million girls and women suffer from endometriosis on a worldwide level. See: What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
  • Uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are another common problem. Not every woman who has fibroids will suffer hellish periods, but some do. Fibroids can also lead to bleeding between periods.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) or sexually transmitted infections are connected to another another, and can lead to painful and heavy periods as well as many other problems. Every sexually active person should get tested regularly as a matter of routine, even if they are monogamous and have no symptoms.
  • Premenstrual Syndrome is an actual medical condition, and not just the symptoms your average woman has. Heavy periods can be part of the picture.
  • Heavy stress either physical or mental can also lead to a hellish menstrual period or two, but the heavy and painful periods should be temporary in nature if this is the cause.

Managing nightmarish menstrual periods

I believe that any woman who has trouble going about her daily activities during her menstruation has every reason to see a doctor. Heavy, painful and prolonged periods can certainly as you saw from the list above indicate serious medical problems that need treatment. Still, the pain is quite enough to trigger you to do something about your periods. No woman should have to suffer like that every month. Some women feel better with home remedies.

You could take painkillers, put a hot pad on your pelvic area, or even try switching to using a Diva Cup instead of tampons (this helped me enormously!). You could also take hot showers, start taking a B6 supplement, or lose weight where applicable. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is something that can additionally really influence your periods. Whatever self-help tactic you may choose to apply, you should also consult your doctor. In many cases, you will need medical treatment to remedy your intolerable periods, and such treatments are available.

You will be happy that you took the step to see the doctor even if it turns out that you only need lifestyle changes. In some cases, however, more drastic treatment is needed to get rid of heavy and painful periods. Using the contraceptive pill works for some, for example. Others will need antibiotics for an infection, and yet others will benefit from endometrial ablation to destroy an overgrowth of uterine lining. Unless you decide to go to the doctor, you will never know with certainty what the causes of your horrible menstrual periods is. Your life may drastically change for the better once you are aware what the underlying reasons are, and you have the chance to get treatment. Do you suffer from heavy and painful periods too? Please leave a comment to share your story or ask a question. If you have had successful treatment, other readers would love to hear what helped for you and how your life changed.

  • Infographic by SteadyHealth.com
  • Infographic by SteadyHealth.com