Skip to content

Period pain is the pits

  • Most have experienced period pain – it’s a perfectly natural and normal symptom of menstruation.
  • It happens when the womb muscles contract, causing pain in the tummy area which can radiate into the back and thighs.
  • The severity and intensity of period pain can vary, from one month to another, as from one person to another.

If you have period pain, you’re not alone! Most women have experienced period pain. In fact, this is the most commonly reported menstrual problem. Those who get period pain usually find it starts during their teenage years, soon after they start having menstrual periods.

Period pain can impact your ability to carry out normal daily activities, including going to school or work. It’s usually worst when it starts (when the period starts or earlier), and tends to go away over the next 2 to 3 days.

What causes period pain?

Period pain is caused by natural chemicals called prostaglandins that are released in the uterus (womb) during your period. Some women have higher levels of prostaglandins than others (although it’s not clear why) and are more likely to get period pain. Prostaglandins cause the muscles in the wall of the uterus to contract, which can be felt as a cramping pain. The levels are highest just before your period starts, which is also when period pain is most common and at its worst. After a day or two, the levels of prostaglandins fall, and the pain usually subsides.

Relieving period pain

There are things you can do to relieve period pain:

  • Exercise: Regular exercise is a good idea, as well as paying attention to your overall fitness
  • Pain-relieving medication: Pain relievers that reduce the effects of prostaglandins are very effective for period pain. These pain relievers are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs for short) and include ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Nurofen
  • Relax and take care of yourself: Relaxation techniques, bed rest, and simple measures like using a hot water bottle or heat pack can be very effective

Always rely on your doctor for diagnosis and seek his or her advice if your or your child’s symptoms persist. 


This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional. 

This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.