When you are due to set off on your holidays, the last thing you want to be thinking about is whether or not your ‘time of the month’ is going to affect your time away.
You want to be able to relax and feel good in your clothes, and instead, you are left worrying about whether you will be able to pack enough painkillers to overcome your discomfort as well as fighting the overriding angst which goes hand in hand with so many women’s experience of their periods.
These anxieties can ruin even the most relaxing break away; from stressing over whether you look bloated in your dress and unable to escape how much pain you are in, to worrying about whether or not you will be able to ‘get away’ with wearing a bikini or white skirt.
But what causes this pain and discomfort? The experts at Mayo Clinic, an international organization which works with over four thousand five hundred scientists, physicians and researchers in every medical speciality, explain it in this way:
A hormone-like substance known as prostaglandins causes the contractions of the uterus during your period. This contracting movement helps to expel the womb lining which is the blood you release, but it is because of these prostaglandins that women experience pain during their monthly cycle, and unfortunately the higher the levels of prostaglandins, the worse the pain.
The NHS explains that as these contractions occur, the blood vessels within the womb lining are compressed. This means that the blood supply to the womb is briefly and repeatedly cut off which results in another pain triggering chemical, alongside the prostaglandins, being released.
With one in ten women living with bouts of moderate to severe pain and cramping each month as part of their natural cycle, it is unsurprising that they have discovered and shared many natural remedies over the years. But thankfully, science has also stepped in and found methods to ease and even delay your period, which could help you overcome menstrual pain when on holiday entirely! There are also tablets to stop periods. Read on to learn more.
Ease The Pain Naturally
Even though you are most likely on holiday to relax, you may be surprised to hear that exercise can help to ease your pain. As with any ache or pain, we can release a chemical in our brain which works as natural pain relief.
They are known as endorphins, and when partaking in any aerobic exercise, the additional pumping of blood around your body helps to release them. They are known to counteract against the uncomfortable result of the aforementioned prostaglandins positively.
Any movement which gets your blood pumping faster around your body is fine, from a brisk swim or walk, to a light aerobic session on the beach, or even a few star jumps and lunges, depending on your current fitness level.
Reduce Monthly Worries
If you tend to book your holiday a year in advance and you have several months to prepare before you go away, then you could consider trying the combined contraceptive pill.
One result of this pill is that, over time, you will have lighter periods as the hormones in it thin the lining of the womb. This leads to fewer contractions of the womb itself being required to shed each month and a lower amount of prostaglandin hormone being released.
It can be a highly effective way to learn to manage your monthly cycle before going away, and if the daily pill does not suit you or it feels like a significant responsibility to remember to take it each day, then, the contraceptive implant or injection may be a preferable option.
Pain Relief For Management
Depending on how badly you suffer from your monthly pain, over the counter pain relief options such as ibuprofen could help you to manage it over the week of your period, though they should not be taken if you suffer from kidney, stomach or liver issues, or asthma.
In this case, you could try paracetamol though this is has been shown to be less effective in reducing pain. If you require stronger relief, your doctor may prescribe higher strength painkillers such as codeine.
If you prefer, you can speak directly to the experts at Click Pharmacy on Skype or email. They can advise you on some recommended next-steps such as which prescriptions or medications may be most beneficial to your monthly pain levels. If in any doubt contact your GP.
A Warming Sensation
Since your muscles are contracting during your period, which is a form of squeezing and tightening, then it makes sense to try to relax them. As such, applying heat to the area in the form of a hot bath, a hot water bottle, heat patches, or even warm water in a store-bought plastic drinking bottle can relax the squeezing, cramping pain which so many women suffer from. Keep the heat on the area for as long as you feel it is helping you, or until the pain eases.
Delay Your Period
If you find that you are genuinely concerned about the pain you may experience from your period during your holiday then you could consider trying a prescription of Norethisterone, tablets to stop periods.
This medication, which you must start to take three days before jetting off, contains progesterone which causes the lining of the womb to be sustained until you stop taking the pills. This means that your period will not begin until the additional progesterone has left your body, and you can use it for anywhere up to 17 days.
This kind of period control management could be the difference between you feeling uncomfortable and stressed out on your holiday and coming home feeling worse than when you left, and being able to let go and enjoy yourself.
To discuss trying Norethisterone before your next holiday, or to address any other pre-travel concerns about your period, ask your pharmacist who can help answer any questions you may have and give you the best advice on what to take to ease your pain.
If your tween or teen suffers from painful periods you will need to consult a GP for advice.