What To Do If You Get Bad Periods

Got mega cramps and a foul mood? We found out how to tell PMS to p*ss off.

woman in pjs

Did you catch our feature in the current issue of the magazine on Period Dramas? It’s a subject us woman can be surprisingly quiet about, which is kinda amazing when you think about it, and we don’t think there should be that culture of silence about something we all go through. Pick up the April issue for an in-depth look at why we don’t talk about periods, and to find out about how three readers feel about theirs.

Right now though, let’s talk about PMS, baby. You know it’s coming: it’s almost that time of the month again. You’re feeling cranky as hell and your tummy is bloated and sore. #ugh. The good news is, if you get heavy, painful periods and a major case of crankiness once a month, you don’t have to suffer, cos there’s plenty you can do about it.

Other than the typical at home remedies, like hot water bottles and um, four blocks of Dairy Milk, “the oral contraceptive pill will sort out a lot of problems with periods,” recommends GP Dr Naomi Mackle. That’s because if you’re taking an oral contraceptive, you won’t get a proper period. Instead you’ll have a withdrawal bleed, which means a lighter flow and little or no cramping – huzzah! It’ll also help to steady your hormones, which means you’re less likely to throw a wobbly or get all teary-eyed at the latest episode of Girls. Your GP will know which one is right for you, but what if the pill’s not an option?

If you’re taking an oral contraceptive, you won’t get a proper period. Instead you’ll have a withdrawal bleed.

Naomi suggests you ask your doc for a different prescription. “Ponstan and Cyklokapron will work for heavy, painful periods and reduce abnormal bleeding by up to 90%,” she recommends. Used as a combo, Cyklokapron will reduce heavy blood flow, while Ponstan is an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, which will help to nix those nasty cramps.

Without a prescription, “evening primrose is also effective,” says Naomi. Just three grammes a day can help banish PMS-related depression, irritability and fluid retention, while over-the-counter pain relief, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can be pretty powerful stuff when it comes to ending those horrible cramps.

As for diet, recent studies suggest that eating steak can help to cure PMS, due to the dip in iron you experience when the, um, painters and decorators are in. Even a little chocolate and ice-cream have their benefits as they help to counteract a drop in your magnesium and calcium levels, and temporarily lift your mood.

Still in PMS-related hell? You don’t have to suffer in silence. Ask to speak to a specialist who will assess if you’re suffering from advanced premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. They may offer you a longer term fix, such as prescription progesterone.

Pic credit: BHS