Severe menstrual pain, also called Dysmenorrhea, mostly occurs in the first two days of your menstrual cycle. Menstrual cramps result in lower abdomen or lower back pain, which may range from mild to severe depending on person to person. Dysmenorrhea can also occur at the beginning of menstruation, also known as Primary Dysmenorrhea, which is a more common problem.
Following are some of the common symptoms of menstrual cramps:
- Unbearable lower abdomen pain
- Severe pain in inner thighs and lower back
- Nausea or vomiting because of indigestion
- Loose stools
- Frequent mood swings
Why menstrual cramps cause pain?
When your date is closer, your uterus undergoes contractions and when the uterus contracts more than usual, it creates pressure on the blood vessels. This results in the loss of oxygen supply and this is why, you experience pain during periods.
Causes of Primary Dysmenorrhea
It is caused because of high levels of prostaglandin hormone that is responsible for uterine contractions at the time of menstruation and child birth. Causes of primary dysmenorrhea are as follows:
- Retroverted uterus (uterus tilted backwards)
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive alcohol or smoking
- Stress and anxiety
How to relieve menstrual cramps?
- Taking painkillers like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Tylenol can help reduce the pain.
- Placing a heating pad at the point of pain or taking a warm water bath provides temporary relief.
- Taking adequate rest is must.
- Refraining from beverages with high caffeine content, such as coffee and tea brews curbs pain to a great extent.
- Eating foods with low salt content.
- Exercising regularly to strengthen the uterus and vaginal muscles.
- Your medical practitioner may prescribe hormonal medications. Also, taking oral contraceptives significantly lowers the severity of symptoms.
- For nausea and vomiting, antiemetic (anti-nausea) medication can be taken.
- Implantable contraception with low progesterone content helps reduce pain.
However, a female may be unaware of bigger problems, such as certain pathological conditions or disorders in her reproductive system, also called Secondary Dysmenorrhea.
Causes of Secondary Dysmenorrhea
If you suffer from secondary dysmenorrhea, it is important for you to know what influences it:
- Endometriosis: This happens when the tissues present around the uterus are placed outside the uterus.
- Adenomyosis: This occurs when the uterine lining grows inside the muscle of the uterus.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): It is basically a bacterial infection that begins in the uterus and spreads in the other reproductive organs as well.
- Cervical stenosis: A narrow opening of the uterus is an indication of cervical stenosis.
- Uterine fibroids: It is the growth of non-cancerous, round-shaped benign tumors that grow at a quick rate and usually appear in the child bearing years.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD): STDs are infections transmitted from one partner to another partner through sexual . Common causes of STDs are bacteria, yeast, and viruses.
- Ovarian cysts: Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs present in the ovaries. These cysts are usually painless and do not have any symptoms. If any of these cysts rupture or lead to twisting of the ovary, it may cause severe pain.
- If you are suffering from Secondary Dysmenorrhea, diagnostic laparoscopy and other hormonal treatments may be needed.
- You may require a surgery to clear uterine fibroids from the uterus or widen the cervical canal.
If you feel that you are experiencing unusual symptoms, get medical advice at the right time and have medical examination done. Also, be aware of your body by having blood tests done regularly.
There are always ways to help you during these difficult times.