Menstrual cramps can be ‘as painful as a heart attack’

We all know that periods are a pain in the ass. But for a lot of women the menstrual cramps that come with their monthly cycle can be more than a slight niggle and inconvenience. In fact, Professor John Guillebaud at University College London revealed that research carried out in 2016 showed that period pain can be “as bad as having a heart attack“!

The Professor even goes so far as to say that men just don’t get it. Well, that’s one guy who gets it. Only a few billion to go, ladies!

It’s just nature, right

Maybe it’s the fact that we go through menstruation every damn month of our fertile years that the majority of men (and some women) just don’t get it. Something that is so regular, so not-out-of-the-ordinary couldn’t possibly be debilitating and painful, right? Those of us that suffer obviously know otherwise. Just as every woman experiences a different flow (yes, I said flow – get over it before I mention clots!), a woman’s menstruation can also change throughout her life. Early puberty may be met with vile period pains, which ease into adulthood, then things get very messy after giving birth a couple of times and the cramps return with a whole heap of new symptoms into pre-menopause.

What must be stressed is that extreme pain during menstruation is not normal. It may not be out of the ordinary but it deserves to be investigated by a sympathetic doctor to rule out any underlying causes. Finding a sympathetic doctor may just prove to be more of a pain than the cramp you’re trying to treat though.

Ways to alleviate period pains

There is no one cure-all for menstrual cramps – dysmenorrhea is the technical term. However, with a bit of trial and error you may just find something that either alleviates those period pains altogether or at least allows you to function semi-normally during the ‘bad days’!

  • A heat pack or hot water bottle placed on the lower abdomen
  • Exercise – some women find that working out can help to reduce cramping
  • Relaxation – just as much as exercise can help, so can taking it easy (find a happy medium!)
  • Pain relief including ibuprofen and paracetamol (always read the label)
  • Combined contraceptive pill – some women find this reduces the effects
  • Tranexamic acid can be prescribed by a doctor for those who experience heavy bleeding
  • Intrauterine Contraceptive Device – IUCD (known as Mirena or Jaydess) – speak to your doctor about how this could help
  • Acupuncture or acupressure have been known to be helpful for some
  • Homeopathy can offer various remedies

How do you deal with period pain?

See more:


  1. SarahBlair 03/01/2020 at 11:25 pm

    Sometimes I have very little discomfort but other months its so painful its difficult to walk as I have pain down my legs as well as very strong stomach cramps. I take panadol and try to get on with things, it only usually lasts for a day

  2. Alezandra 02/01/2020 at 11:45 am

    That’s me – I’ve had painful menstrual cramps since I was 11. It did reduce considerably after I gave birth and I’m grateful for that reduction of pain. I still have some bouts of pain from time to time but now it’s manageable. I try no to take pain killers but that’s my go to when I feel pain and surprisingly I also take choccies but I think this isn’t really good but more psychological. 🙂

  3. Shorrty4life1 27/12/2019 at 7:37 pm

    Wowee as painful as a heart attack thats crazy. I dealt with my menstrual pain with a hot water bottle on my lower belly and panadol and heaps of water. I used to get bad clotting and major pain it was terrible.

  4. Jen_Wiig 27/12/2019 at 12:37 pm

    I had the worse dehibilating cramps when I was younger and then they seemed to diminish until I became a mum, then after my massive miscarriage couple years back the cramps have now gon eback to where they were when I was young… Its awful and I’ve been physically sick a few times too… Went to a Dr who has referred me to a gynaecologist but wait list is looonngggg do these tips and tricks will be tried for sure… Ill often use a wheat bag and it’s deff helped in the past.

  5. Micht 23/12/2019 at 7:39 pm

    I never had menstrual cramps my whole life till after i had my second child…now i get them and they literally take my breath away when it hurts… now starts the coping cos i dont see it ending anytime…

  6. MuddledUpMolly 21/12/2019 at 11:04 am

    I’m very fortunate that I have never really experienced menstrual pains like so many others do. It is interesting to read that exercise can help, certainly not something I would have thought of as being helpful!

  7. dawnblyth 20/12/2019 at 7:40 pm

    I have had very irregular, heavy and painful periods. Almost two years ago now I was given the mirena IUD. It was nothing but troublesome for me. In the end I have just had, two months ago, a total hysterectomy. I am so happy to have had it all removed. The issues I had surrounding my period were becoming not only a physical but a mental toll on my body. I dealt with the pain with wheatpacks and panadol and ibuprofen, regularly. It did help a little.

Leave A Comment