A woman standing with her hands on her stomach who is suffering from period pains

Period Pain Relief

Request treatments to put a stop to and relieve painful periods. Explore pills, patches and painkillers.

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    No face-to-face appointments, just discreet online consultations

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    Effective treatment to help you deal with period pain

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    Free delivery as standard

Available from £14.99
About this service

Order treatment to relieve period pain from a brand you can trust. You can choose between a hormonal contraceptive pill, or an anti-inflammatory painkiller called Mefenamic Acid.

You’ll need to complete a short questionnaire and choose which treatment you’d like to take. Once you’ve placed your order, our doctors will review your questionnaire and approve appropriate treatment.

If you’re not sure what the best treatment for you is, you can message one of our doctors for free advice. For a small fee, you can also arrange a telephone consultation with one of our doctors.

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How it Works

About Period Pain

Menstrual cramps

Period pain is, unfortunately, pretty common. It can vary in intensity from mild (bearable but uncomfortable) to severe (really difficult to put up with without treatment).

Over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen and paracetamol, can help to relieve mild menstrual cramps. For some women, these painkillers just aren’t enough though. Fortunately, dysmenorrhoea is pretty easy to treat, and there are plenty of different options that might be able to help you out!

There are two different types of period pain; primary dysmenorrhoea and secondary dysmenorrhoea. 

What is primary dysmenorrhoea?

The most common type of period pain is primary dysmenorrhoea, which are period pains that keep coming back but aren’t caused by other conditions or infections. 

Primary dysmenorrhoea happens when the regular contractions of your womb become painful. The lining of your womb is almost always contracting and releasing. These contractions are normally so mild that you wouldn’t feel them. During your period, chemicals called prostaglandins are released. These chemicals cause your contractions become more intense to help your womb get rid of its old lining. 

If your body releases too many of these chemicals, it can cause your contractions to become painful. The pain usually starts a few days before your period, and often lasts up to 72 hours (sometimes longer). On top of being in pain, you might also feel really tired, get headaches, and feel (or even be!) sick.

What is secondary dysmenorrhoea?

Secondary dysmenorrhoea is period pain that is caused by an underlying health issue, most commonly endometriosis. Other common causes of secondary dysmenorrhoea include pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids, and cervical stenosis.

With secondary dysmenorrhoea, you may also feel pain even when you’re not on your period. You usually won’t feel sick or tired, but you may have heavier and less regular periods, and an unusual discharge. If you have any of these symptoms, you should get in contact with your GP to get checked out ASAP. 

How can I stop period pains?

There are a lot of options you can try to help with your period pain, including different types of medication or even certain lifestyle changes. What works for someone else may not work for you, so it’s best to try different options until you find the treatment that works best for you.

Medical treatments that can help with period pain include:

  • Over-the-counter painkillers
  • Prescribed painkillers
  • The contraceptive pill
  • IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)

Alternative treatments that may help with period pain include:

  • At-home or natural remedies, like a tummy massage
  • Lifestyle changes, like cutting down on cigarettes

You can read more on these treatment options below.

What tablets help with period pain?

The two most common medications that are used to relieve period pain are hormonal contraceptives and painkillers.

Hormonal contraception

Hormonal contraceptives like the combined contraceptive pill can make your periods lighter. Period cramps are usually caused by chemicals in the womb called prostaglandins, which make the womb contract and squeeze. If your body produces too much of this chemical, it can make these normal contractions more intense and sometimes painful. Fewer prostaglandins are released when you have lighter periods, which can make your menstrual cramps less painful.

Contraceptive pills we offer for period pain include:

  • Levest
  • Microgynon 30
  • Ovranette
  • Rigevidon

If you’d prefer not to take the contraceptive pill, or if it isn’t suitable for you, there are other types of hormonal contraceptives that can help with period pain.

Alternative hormonal contraceptives include:


Painkillers can make it easier to deal with period pains, and different painkillers work in different ways. Some painkillers work by changing the way your body responds to pain, while others directly block pain signals that are sent to your brain. While painkillers won’t address the underlying cause of period pain, they can provide quick relief.

Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, can help you deal with mild period pain. If your period pain is really intense, a doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers such as mefenamic acid, naproxen, or codeine.

How else can I get rid of period pains?

Stop smoking – smoking tobacco can make your period pain worse. Studies into the link between smoking and period pain showed that current smokers were 41% more likely to have long-lasting period pain than non-smokers. Cutting down on the amount that you smoke, or stopping altogether, could make your period pain easier to deal with.

Deep breaths and de-stress – while there aren’t many studies on the relationship between stress and period pain symptoms, it’s thought that stress can be a trigger for painful periods. Meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques that reduce your stress levels can help take your mind off the pain, and may also improve your symptoms directly.

Do some light exercise – being active is likely the last thing you want to do when you have painful period cramps, but gentle-to-moderate exercises like jogging, cycling, or yoga can actually help to ease your symptoms and reduce period pain. When you exercise your body releases hormones called endorphins, which block pain signals - similar to how some painkillers work.

Relax with a massage – gentle stomach massages, using light and circular motions, can relax your muscles and reduce cramping. 

Get out the hot water bottle – applying heat is a well-known remedy to soothe aching muscles, because it improves blood flow and makes your muscles less stiff. Putting a hot water bottle (wrapped in a towel!) onto your stomach, or taking a nice long soak in a warm bath, can help you relax and ease your cramps. 

Changes to your diet – foods that are high in sugar, trans-fatty acids, or salt may make your menstrual cramps worse. Switching to healthier options that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D can reduce the risk of period pain. If you need help getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, you can also take supplements like fish oil tablets.

Are there natural remedies for period pain?

There are very few studies that suggest that herbal remedies can treat menstrual cramps effectively, but there are certain tips and tricks that some women swear by to make period pain more manageable.  

Herbal teas – herbal teas have been used in almost every culture throughout history to treat pains and illnesses. Different teas are thought to treat period pain in different ways, such as having anti-inflammatory effects to reduce cramping or soothing effects for relaxation. Chamomile and ginger are two of the most popular herbal teas used to ease period pain. 

Herbal medicines – capsules that contain extracts from certain roots or plants are thought to work in ways similar to herbal teas, with different extracts easing menstrual cramps in different ways. Popular herbal period pain medicines include fennel, cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric.

Is this the same as PMS treatment?

Not exactly. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms can include cramps, and other symptoms, but they usually come before a period. Treatment for PMS can include hormonal contraception, as well as mild antidepressants and painkillers for cramping.

Currently at Superdrug Online Doctor, we can only offer the contraceptive pill for painful periods. If you’re having problems with PMS, they may be improved after you start painful period treatment but if you want extra advice or options then see your GP.

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