Unfortunately, period pain (medically known as dysmenorrhea) is extremely common and a very complaint associated with the menstrual cycle. Most women experience it at some point in their lives, and it is usually felt as painful abdominal cramping along with back pain. In some cases, headaches, migraines, and breast tenderness manifest as part of a premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
The pain can vary with each monthly period, with some causing little or no discomfort, whilst others can be more severe.
What are the Causes of Menstrual Cramps?
Period pain occurs when the muscles in the wall of your womb contract (tighten). Mild contractions continually pass through your womb, but they’re usually so minor that you probably can’t feel them. During your period, the wall of your womb starts to contract more vigorously to encourage the lining to shed, as part of your monthly period. When the muscles contract, it compresses the blood vessels lining your womb, temporarily cutting the blood supply – and hence oxygen – to your womb. Without the oxygen, the tissues in your womb release pain-triggering chemicals. Prostaglandins are also produced, which encourage the womb muscles to contract more, therefore increasing the amount of pain. Pain usually starts at the beginning of your period, although some women experience it several days before. Normally lasting 48 to 72 hours (although it can last longer), period pain is usually at its worst when you experience heavy period bleeding.
Some forms of contraception, such as an intrauterine device (IUD), can also sometimes cause menstrual pain – particularly during the first few months after insertion. Less commonly, period cramps can be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, or adenomyosis. The normal pattern of pain may change if it is linked to one of these conditions, such as being more severe or lasting much longer than usual. They can also affect your fertility. For example, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause scarring and a build-up of tissue in your fallopian tubes, making it more difficult for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg.
Fibroids and adenomyosis can affect the womb and cause pain and heavy menstrual bleeding. If your period pain is caused by an underlying condition, you may also experience irregular periods; bleeding in between periods; a thick or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, or pain during sex. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should get it checked out by your GP.
Does Period Cramp reduce with Age?
Period pain that does not have an underlying cause tends to improve as a woman gets older. Many women also notice an improvement after they have had given birth.
Menstrual Pain Relief
There are several ways to manage period pain,
- Painkillers – like ibuprofen and aspirin which both have anti-inflammatory properties (if you have asthma or stomach, kidney or liver problems discuss with your physician first; he/she may offer you associated treatment or alternatives). If ordinary painkillers are ineffective, your GP may prescribe a stronger painkiller, such as codeine. If you suffer from chronic period pain, you may want to try the combined oral contraceptive pill. This can ease period pain because it reduces the amount of prostaglandin released by your body and thins the lining of the womb. This means the muscles of the womb will not have to contract as much when it sheds as part of your monthly menstrual cycle.
- Contraceptive implants, injections are also good alternatives that can help with painful periods.
Other remedies can include
- Stopping smoking – as smoking is thought to increase the risk of period pain
- Gentle exercise – such as swimming, walking, or cycling. You may not feel like exercising during a painful period but keeping active can reduce pain.
- Putting a heat pad – or hot water bottle on your stomach may help reduce pain
- Warm Bath – even taking a warm bath or shower can relieve pain and help you to relax.
- Other relaxation techniques may also prove useful: Yoga or Pilates can distract you from the pain and discomfort, whilst also providing another gentle form of exercise.
PECTIV as a Solution:
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