What are Menstrual Cramps?
It’s the pain women feel in their lower “belly” or back before the start or during their period. The pain can be mild, moderate or very severe. It reduces with age and may stop after having first delivery. Menstrual cramps is also called menstrual pain.
Your doctor would call it “DYSMENORRHEA”
Symptoms of Menstrual Cramps
- Pain in your belly
- Leg pain
- Pain that starts 1-3 days before period subsiding after 2-3 days.
- Pain in the hip, lower back and inner thigh
In severe cases :
- Loose stool
Yes it could be that serious!!
How Does Menstrual Cramps Happen?
Menstrual cramps are caused by tightening in the womb by a chemical called PROSTAGLANDIN. The womb where the baby grows tightens or contracts through out menstrual cycle. During menstruation, the womb contracts more strongly and this causes the walls of the womb to press against blood vessels cutting off supply of oxygen to the walls of the womb.
Pain occurs when part of the womb loses its supply of oxygen briefly due to the contractions. This is how the “normal” menstrual cramps happen.
Types of Menstrual Cramps
There are two types:
1. Primary Type
It’s the pain that comes with menses or cycle and are not caused by any disease or illness
2. Secondary Type
It’s menstrual pain caused by a disorder or disease in a woman’s reproductive system.
Some of the disorders that cause “Secondary Type” of menstrual cramps include:
- Infections such as the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Cervical Stenosis
- When the mouth of the cervix of the womb is very tiny
These are more reasons why you need to see your doctor when pains get severe.
The Things That Put You At Risk Of Menstrual Cramps
- Being younger than 30
- Early puberty at age 11 or less
- Heavy flow
- Irregular flow
- Family history of menstrual cramps
- Obesity (Overweight)
- Nulliparity (When a woman hasn’t given birth)
Lifestyle Modifications To Reduce Menstrual Cramps
There are some basic lifestyle modifications that could help to reduce menstrual cramps, and some are :
- Exercise regularly.
- Use hot water bottle to place on your abdomen.
- Use dietary supplements such as vitamin E, B-1,B-6 etc
- Reduce stress as psychological stress can increase risk of menstrual cramps.
- Pain relievers.
Then finally, nothing beats the support and love from friends and family. It goes a long way.
Ladies, any guy that shuns you during your menstrual period and comes running back after your period doesn’t deserve you!