Your gynaecologist may prescribe medication for the treatment of your painful periods or dysmenorrhoea such as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), such as mefenamic acid, ibuprofen or naproxen. NSAIDs block the production of chemicals in the body known as prostaglandins, which are involved in regulating pain signals to your brain. NSAIDs can be combined with paracetamol and/ or codeine.

Other treatments include

  • The combined oral contraceptive pill ('the pill'): this is an option if you also need contraception. Heavy periods are much less likely if you take 'the pill', and your periods would be much less frequent.
  • The intrauterine system (IUS) or mirena: the intrauterine contraceptive device called the IUS is an option if you also need long-term contraception. This device slowly releases a progestogen hormone called levonorgestrel which thins the lining of the uterus, thereby reducing the amount of bleeding and subsequent pain. Periods can become very light or disappear all together with the IUS.

Another practical option might be warmth. You may find it soothing to hold a hot water bottle against your lower abdomen, or to have a hot bath. The pain often does not last long, and this may be all that you need. A warm bath or shower may also help