What are menstrual cramps?
Menstruation is a normal thing that every woman of reproductive age experiences. Every month some blood flow is observed from the vagina. This happens because the inner lining of the uterus is shed if the egg is not fertilised which leads to menstruation or periods.
Menstruation is not an easy affair. Many women experience menstrual cramps throughout their period cycle which can be very painful. So what do menstrual cramps mean? Menstrual cramps are throbbing, cramping pain in your lower abdomen sometimes accompanied by headache, nausea, dizziness, and diarrhoea. In medical terms, menstrual cramps are known as dysmenorrhea.
What causes period cramps?
There are a lot of factors that cause dysmenorrhea (period cramps) but the most common cause is the overproduction of the chemical prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemical that the uterus makes which helps the uterus tighten and relax but the overproduction of this chemical leads to a very painful sensation in the abdomen and the lower back which is responsible for cramps during menstruation.
Sometimes dysmenorrhea is caused by conditions that affect the reproductive organs such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. This type of dysmenorrhea is relatively more painful and can get worse with time.
How are period cramps diagnosed?
Period cramps usually do not require a diagnosis but if you have severe pain during periods, your healthcare provider may do certain tests like ultrasound and pelvic examination. Still, if he thinks your case is quite serious, a laparoscopy may also be performed. It is a surgery that lets your healthcare provider look inside your body.
Dysmenorrhea is usually not a serious issue and it normally goes off in most women after getting older or after giving birth.
How to ease period cramps?
Certain steps help ease period cramps. Let us understand them one by one.
Apply heat: Applying heat on your abdomen or back helps relax the muscles contributing to menstrual cramps. You can make use of heating pads or hot water bags. This method helps a lot in pain relief.
Exercise: When you are experiencing serious pain, you may want to take a good rest but it makes your condition worse over time. Exercise may not seem like a good option in case of cramps during menstruation but exercise releases endorphins, a natural pain reliever. Moreover, exercise also reduces stress making you worry less about your pain.
Get a proper diet: Along with the macronutrients which include carbohydrates, fats and proteins, it is equally necessary to include micros like vitamins and minerals in your diet. You can add dry fruits, green leafy vegetables, and fruits to your diet. It also helps to reduce other menstruation problems like period bloating and heavy periods to some extent.
Maintain proper menstrual hygiene: Well this may not seem like a feasible option to ease menstrual cramps but maintaining menstrual hygiene is also a must as it helps you be safe from infections and other diseases during your menstrual cycle. Painful cramps followed by infection can be even worse so to avoid it, we suggest everyone follow menstrual hygiene.
When should you visit a doctor?
Period cramps are not something life-threatening or serious, every woman experiences them at some point in their life. If you notice these issues, it is recommended you do a proper period cramps treatment.
Your cramps suddenly get worse.
You experience fever along with period cramps.
You experience pain even after taking a pain reliever.
It is seen that menstrual cramps affect the life of a woman badly. We suggest everyone follow the tips we have given in this blog post and do the necessary lifestyle changes to ease cramps during menstruation.
This is not a serious issue and can be managed properly so you should not take unnecessary stress. Go to a doctor only if your problems worsen over time.