Are you suffering from menstrual cycle cramps? If yes, don’t worry; you are not alone! Most women experience period pain, cramps and discomfort at a certain point. Some women also experience uncomfortable period pain in their belly, especially on the day their period commences. However, only a minute percentage of women are known to suffer from severe menstrual cramps that disrupt their daily life routine.
What causes Period Cramps?
Experiencing some kind of pain, cramping, and discomfort during menstruation is considered to be normal. However, if you experience an excess amount of pain that may even disrupt your daily activities, then it is a cause of concern.
Painful menstruation is referred to as dysmenorrhea. Furthermore, the period pain that is dysmenorrhea is divided based on causes into two types-
Primary Dysmenorrhea is a medical term for painful menstruation. It occurs in women who experience pain before and during menstruation. It is usually experienced by teenage girls whose menstruation has begun recently. Along with the usual stomach pain, it can often cause pain in the legs and back.
Secondary Dysmenorrhea is a lesser common type of menstrual pain. These usually occur due to an underlying disorder or infection. The period cramps begin from the first day and can last throughout the cycle. It also tends to cause heavier and prolonged periods.
Menstrual Cramp Causes and their Risk Factors
Menstrual cramps occur due to contractions in the uterus or womb. Sometimes when the uterus contracts too strongly during your period, it tends to press against the nearby blood vessels causing a disruption in the oxygen supply to the uterus. This causes pain and cramping.
Women may experience menstrual cramps as a result of underlying medical conditions, such as-
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is widespread due to hormonal changes in the body before menstruation. It is usually seen one to two weeks before the period cycle and stops on the onset of the period.
Fibroids in the uterus
Fibroids tumours that put pressure on the uterus and cause atypical menstrual cramps. These are noncancerous.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
PID is an infection that occurs in the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, often caused by bacteria. This disease often starts in the uterus and spreads to other reproductive organs. It usually occurs due to inflammation of the reproductive organs and immense pain caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.
In cervical stenosis, the lower part of your uterus is narrowed. That tends to slow the menstrual flow, causing increased pressure within the uterus that causes pain.
This narrowing of the lower part of your uterus is often caused by scarring and lack of estrogen after menopause.
Endometriosis is a severe medical condition in which tissues lining the uterus grow outside in other parts of the body. Usually, it outgrows in the ovaries, tissues lining the pelvic and fallopian tubes.
It is a condition where the uterus lining grows into its wall, which leads to inflammation, pressure, extreme pain and heavier periods.
However, it is not always possible to identify the real cause behind painful menstrual cramps. Few women are just at a higher risk of having painful periods. These risks may include:
- Being under 20 years of age
- Genetically painful periods
- Irregular periods
- Early puberty i.e before age 11
- Heavy menstrual bleeding