Overconsumption of painkillers like Meftal for period cramps should be avoided; Here’s why

Studies also suggest that long-term dependency on Meftal Spas might cause a serious impact on women’s fertility.

Periods, Menstrual cramps, women's health, periods precautions, menstrual health, healthcare news,
According to doctors, consumption of meftal spas may also cause side effects in some people. (File)

It’s that time of the month again and the throbbing pain in the abdomen tends to get unbearable for menstruators. Every month, periods tend to occur along with bloating, mood swings, and worst of all, horrible menstrual cramps.

According to studies, some women suffer from severe period pain similar to a heart attack.

Painkillers like Meftal Spas are often the first thought that comes to every menstruator’s mind to get rid of the excruciating period cramps. Undoubtedly, painkillers give instant relief from period cramps, but are they safe to take?

What are menstrual or period cramps?

Pain associated with menstruation is called dysmenorrhea. During periods, there is an occurrence of throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Sometimes, the pain also radiates to the back and thighs. This severe pain often comes with intense spasms, while at other times it may be dull but more constant.

It may also vary with each period. Some periods may cause little or no discomfort, while others may be more painful.

For some menstruators, the pain is so severe that it keeps them from doing their normal activities for several days a month.

Is it safe to consume Meftal for period cramps?

Dr. Kekin Gala, Gynaecologist and Infertility Specialist told Financial that Mefenemic acid (Meftal) can be taken 1000-1500 mg /day in divided doses as per the advise of the Treating consultant.

Dr. Gala also emphasised that overconsumption can lead to severe side-effects.

“Anything excess of which may start giving adverse effects from mild complications like (giddiness, dryness of mouth etc) to severe complications which affects various organs. Do not take such painkillers over the counter and consult your doctor for perfect dose,” Dr. Gala told Financial

Dr. Gandhali Deorukhkar Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central told Financial that painkillers like meftal also called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs may cause nausea, stomach pain, stomach bleeding or ulcers.

“Sometimes this can happen even when you take the recommended dosage. Large doses of NSAIDs also can lead to kidney problems, fluid retention and high blood pressure. As much as possible home remedies can be tried but if the pain persists, Meftal twice a day on heavy duty pain days is fine. Adults can usually take 1 or 2 tablets (500mg) every 4-6 hours, but shouldn’t take more than 4g (8 x 500mg tablets) in the space of 24 hours. Children under 16 need to take a lower dose, depending on their age or weight – check the packet or leaflet, or ask a doctor for advice,” Dr. Deorukhkar said.

Dr Sunitha Mahesh, Senior Consultant, Feto Maternal Medicine & Medical Director, Milann Fertility & Birthing Hospital, JP Nagar, Bangalore informed Financial that prolonged use of Meftal can also cause liver and kidney damage, which can be irreversible in severe cases.

“Although painkillers can provide relief, the overuse of painkillers can have several negative impacts on the body that can lead to Gastrointestinal problems such as stomach ulcers, bleeding, and inflammation. Prolonged use can also cause liver and kidney damage, which can be irreversible in severe cases. Long-term use of painkillers can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, especially in people with existing cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, overuse can disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with the menstrual cycle, and lead to medication overuse headache which can be difficult to treat,” Dr. Mahesh said.

What are the uses of Meftal Spas?

This Meftal spas medication is primarily used to treat abdominal pain. Besides that, it is also used to prevent and treat conditions such as:

  • Menstrual period cramps
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Muscle pain and inflammation
  • Fever and joint pain
  • Stomach and abdominal pain

What are the side effects of Meftal spas?

According to doctors, consumption of meftal spas may also cause side effects in some people. However, if any symptoms are observed, immediate medical attention should be obtained. The following side effects can be observed:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Swelling and skin rash, for example, Urticaria and Edema
  • Acidity and Gastritis
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Itching and increased sweating

Studies also suggest that long-term dependency on Meftal Spas might cause a serious impact on women’s fertility, causing a delay in ovulation and induce reversible infertility due to blockage of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX).

How to manage menstrual cramps?

Dr. Mahesh pointed out that if the pain persists or becomes severe, it is important to seek medical advice to identify the underlying cause and determine the appropriate treatment.

“Patients should be aware that there may be alternative treatments for period cramps that can be explored, such as exercise, heat therapy, and relaxation techniques,” she added.

Here are some ways to alleviate period cramps:

  • Hot Compression
  • Staying hydrated
  • Exercise
  • Massages
  • Hot beverages like herbal teas

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First published on: 31-03-2023 at 09:00 IST