Periods and puberty are totally natural, but often totally confusing too. If you’re worried, curious, or questioning something in this area, we’ve got you. Nurse, midwife and all-around puberty expert Shelley is on hand to answer all your burning questions.
I’ve had my period about a year now, and I just find the cramps really uncomfortable. I know some people miss school and things because of pains, mine isn’t bad enough to stay in bed but are just really painful and uncomfortable. Do the pains get better after a few months or years, or will they always be this bad? Sam, 15
During your cycle, your body prepares for a pregnancy and then sheds the lining of the womb when a pregnancy does not occur. Your bleeding is when the lining is shed, and during this time, the womb contracts gently to ensure the entirety of the old lining leaves your body. Most people who menstruate will feel cramping pains in their lower back and abdomen due to this. Technically, it is a very mild form of labour! During your cycle, an egg is released, in anticipation of becoming pregnant, this egg release is called “ovulation” and some people who menstruate feel this too. Some just pop, but others may experience stomach pains too, which can be completely normal. Taking analgesia such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if pains become very bad is totally ok. Hot water bottles and hot showers can also really help. Be careful taking codeine, which some people may recommend to you for period pains; this is a very strong analgesic and should really only be taken under the instruction of a medical professional.
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