Is Birth Control Pill Best or Only Treatment for Teen with Painful Periods

Question

My friend has a daughter age 15 who was considering putting her on birth control because of extreme pain/cramps during her cycle. I told her she might look into alternative ways to help alleviate the cramps/pain/heaviness of bleeding through diet versus birth control. She said she’d be interested in more information regarding this and so when I came to this website I wondered if this would help her out.
Are there alternative ways to help this young gal out without birth control? Her daughter is athletic (basketball) and is probably slightly underweight if that makes any difference? Thank you for your time and information.

Cheryl

Answer

Last Updated: May 8, 2022
Dear Cheryl,

It is a shame that the first thing we think about is the birth control pill with all of its side effects to solve menstrual problems. Plus the pill was never intended to be used by teenagers whose cycles are just beginning. I did check with Dr. Lynn Keenan who responded with the following:

“When women learn to chart, they can anticipate when their menses will come, and so can start the NSAIDs the day they anticipate the menses to start (or they can take the first one at the first sign of bleeding). Ibuprofen or naproxen (Alleve) are the best treatments for the majority of menses cramps, since they block the prostaglandins that are causing the problem. Being able to anticipate the onset of menses and taking them on a regular schedule through the menses like every 8-12 hours, will diminish a lot of the pain. Some young women also benefit from calcium, vitamin D and magnesium supplements during the premenstrual phase to help headaches and decrease the menstrual cramps. I think the knowledge of one’s body has an amazing effect as well, so they can anticipate when it’s coming and be prepared – and to not feel so out of control.”

What we mean by charting is to learn a natural family planning method. By learning to observe the signs of fertility a women can determine the onset of the next menses. Many young women find this information very enlightening. Check our website for an instructor close to your location. Mom and daughter might want to attend a class together.

I hope you find this helpful.

Winnie Neill

Answered By:

Winnie Neill, CFCP
Winnie Neill, a Professional Member of CANFP, is a certified FertilityCare Practitioner, and taught NFP 23 years in the Sacramento region. She served on the Sacramento Diocese NFP Advisory Board, the American Academy of NFP Board and the CANFP Eecutive Board. She and her husband Bob have been married 63 years

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