A Family Doctor Helps Adolescent Girls Manage Painful Menstruation

A family doctor provides healthcare for patients of all ages and medical treatment for a broad range of conditions. Parents of an adolescent daughter who is experiencing debilitating menstrual cramps and exceptionally heavy flow can trust their primary care physician to offer helpful advice. If necessary, the practitioner might prescribe medication to ease the cramping and decrease the flow.

About Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for painful periods. Some girls experience cramping so severe that they must miss a day or two of school. There may be nausea and fatigue as well. They might have to wear both a tampon and maxi pad at the same time and replace these products frequently. All of this feels upsetting and embarrassing. Having medical attention from a trusted family doctor is reassuring. 

Conservative Strategies

As a conservative measure, the family doctor may recommend keeping a hot water bottle or heating pad on the abdomen during cramping when possible. Another non-medicinal strategy is to exercise. Although exercise increases flow, it also tends to reduce the severity of cramps. 

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Taking an anti-inflammatory pain relief medication is an effective step for many young women dealing with this problem. Ibuprofen and naproxen are usually recommended. They can virtually eliminate pain from cramping and also significantly reduce menstrual flow. The drugs accomplish this by reducing inflammatory chemicals in the body known as prostaglandins. If the parents' health insurance covers prescriptions, the physician can provide a prescription for higher-strength forms of these medicines. 

Prescription Medicine

Smooth muscle relaxants known as antispasmodics also are helpful. Antispasmodics reduce contractions in the uterus so that cramping decreases.

When nothing else is effective enough, the doctor may recommend taking oral contraceptive medicine. This hormonal treatment is very useful for women experiencing these types of problems during menstruation.

The parents might be concerned about starting hormonal medication at such a young age. The doctor can provide reassurance that the treatment is indeed safe and a prevalent choice for those who really need it. Taking oral contraception means the period is lighter and of shorter duration. Cramping is minimized. Many adolescent girls feel considerable relief after beginning the therapy.

Concluding Thoughts

Fortunately, distressing menstrual symptoms typically lessen as women reach their 20s. If not, they can safely continue with oral contraceptives as long as they want to. This has the added advantage of protecting them against an unwanted pregnancy once they become sexually active.

To learn more, contact a primary doctor.