We would have come across thousands of women who complain of severe abdominal pains and cramps during their periods. These are known as menstrual cramps and it affects almost three out of five women across the world. They are painful sensations and it impacts women during, before and after a menstrual period. From the medical perspective, it is referred to as dysmenorrheal. The pains could come in varying degrees of discomfort. For a few it could be a dull pain and for other it could be annoying to severe pains during this period. There are a few instances where women could suffer from extreme pain. The period cramps start just after ovulation. The egg gets released from the ovaries and it move down the fallopian tube. The pain occurs in the lower back and lower abdomen. The pain starts manifesting one or two days before menstruation and the pain continues for 2 to 4 days.
Some Interesting Facts About Menstrual Pain
When a woman suffers from period pain only during the period of menstruation, it is referred to as primary dysmenorrheal. On the other hand, if the pain is attributable to some medical problems such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or diseases caused by pelvic inflammation, then such pains are referred to as secondary dysmenorrhea.
While the ovulation is the main reason for menstrual cramps, there are a few more contributory factors. Emotional stress can aggravate the situation and exacerbate pains associated with menstruation. Many women also have other secondary symptoms such as sweating, vomiting, nausea, headaches, dizziness and diarrhea. There are quite a few OTC (Over the Counter) medications and that could help manage pain. Some birth control treatments and proven home remedies could also be effective. Even today, there are no ways by which this type of pain can be avoided. It will be a part of any healthy women and the goo thing is that it can be efficiently and effectively managed. Here are a few commonly followed treatments for overcoming period cramps.
Inserting IUDs. Insertion of intrauterine devices can be helpful in reducing the various symptoms associated with menstrual cramps.
As mentioned above painkillers and over the counter medications are also recommended. Painkillers such as naproxen, ibuprofen. These are classified under NSAIDs.
Some women get relief by using anti-prostaglandins. These could help in reducing uterus cramping. They also help to lighten the flow of blood and this could be useful in relieving discomfort.
Hormonal birth control pills could also prevent ovulation and could reduce the severity of pains and cramps associated with menstruation. These birth control pills work by thinning down the uterus lining. This is where prostaglandins form. This is quite effective in reducing bleeding and cramping. In a few cases, the birth control polls can be used continuously over a period of time. The usual 4 to 7 day break that is required each month should be adhered to. This will stop bleeding completely. But before going in for hormonal birth control pills, it would be better to take the opinion and counseling of doctors.
Home remedies also might help to a certain extent, but they are not researched. Soaking the abdomen in a hot bath, applying heat to the lower abdomen, and using TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) could provide some relief from pain symptoms and make the women feel more comfortable.
However, if there are any underlying medical conditions, such as fibroids or endometriosis, doctors might recommend surgery for removal of the abnormal tissue.
How To Prevent The Problem
You could try a few measures that might bring down the risk of menstrual cramps. These include reducing the intake of alcohol, fat, salt, caffeine, sweets and also getting into regular exercise mode. Staying away from stress and quitting smoking could also help. Yoga, Acupressure and acupuncture are also tried by many women, but more research is required to find out whether these approaches are beneficial.
Be Aware Of The Symptoms
You must be aware of the various symptoms that could point out to period pain. These include sweating, nausea and vomiting, faintness and dizziness, constipation, bloating, headaches and even loose stools/diarrhea. While the symptoms get worse over a period of time and if you are a woman above the age of 25 years, it would be better to see a doctor.
Understanding The Causes
Roughly once in 28 days, the uterus contracts to expel its lining. This happens if there is no sperm available for fertilizing the egg. This expelling process happens because of prostaglandins that are hormone like substances.
To sum up, menstrual cramps are a natural reaction. It should not be a cause of worry and there are many ways by which the pain and discomfort could be managed. However, if there is an underlying cause for such pains, the same should be addressed.