5 Reasons for Painful Periods and Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are cramping or throbbing pains in the lower abdomen, usually occurring right before and during a woman’s menstrual periods. Some women may simply view this discomfort as an annoyance, but for others, these cramps can reach intense levels of pain, which make it difficult to go through everyday life for a few days of every month.
Here’s everything you need to know about painful cramps:
Some of the symptoms of painful period cramps include:
- Cramping or throbbing pain in the lower abdomen that gets intense.
- Pain that starts a couple of days before the beginning of your period and peaks for a day once the periods begin, eventually subsiding in another two to three days.
- A dull and continuous ache.
- Radiating pain that goes down the thighs and lower back.
- Less common symptoms include loose stools, dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
When should you see a doctor?
You should visit your doctor for menstrual pain if:
- The cramps are painful enough to disrupt your monthly life.
- Your symptoms are getting worse.
- The severity of menstrual cramps began after the age of 25.
The uterus expels its lining by contracting during the menstrual period. Prostaglandin is a hormonelike substance that’s involved in inflammation and pain triggers the contraction of the uterine muscle. Higher levels of this substance mean that there are more severe cramps. These can be caused by:
- Endometriosis: The uterus’s lining gets implanted outside of the uterus, usually on the fallopian tubes, pelvis tissue, or ovaries.
- Uterine fibroids: Noncancerous growths in the uterus wall can cause extreme pain.
- Adenomyosis: The uterus lining grows into the uterus’s muscular walls.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: Sexually transmitted bacteria cause an infection in the female reproductive organs.
- Cervical stenosis: Some women have an extremely small cervix opening, impeding the menstrual flow and causing the pressure to painfully build up inside the uterus.
Who’s at risk?
You might be at a higher risk of getting menstrual cramps if you:
- Are younger than the age of 30.
- Started your puberty rather early, around the age of 11.
- Have heavy bleeding during your periods.
- Have irregular bleeding.
- Have close female relatives who also face menstrual cramps.
- Are a smoker.
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