Period Pain: When To Go To The Doctor
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Lets face it: any time is a bad time when it comes to having your period. For most women, cramping and bloating are typical symptoms of the friend who pays a monthly visit. But when the pain is extreme and paired with excessive bleeding, fever, or feels suddenly worse than what has been previously experienced, its time to see your doctor.
How Common Is Period Pain
The medical term for period pain is dysmenorrhoea and it’s a condition that many women are familiar with.
The research on just how many women have painful periods varies but, in a 2012 study from Italy, 84% of young women experienced period pain.
In an Australian study of female high school students, it affected 93%.
What Is Menstrual Pain
Menstrual pain or cramps are pains in your lower abdomen that happen when your menstrual period begins . This pain may continue for 2 to 3 days. Cramps may be throbbing or aching, and they can be dull or sharp. Symptoms can range from a mild discomfort to serious pain that interferes with your normal activities.
Menstrual cramps are the leading cause of absenteeism in women younger than 30. Although over half of people who have menstrual periods feel some discomfort, 10% are temporarily disabled by symptoms.
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Menstrual Cramps Are A Literal Pain That Pain Can Vary In Severity And Length Of Time What Do Period Cramps Feel Like When Should You Seek Care For Your Child
Menstrual cramps, also called period cramps, often are considered just an annoying, painful part of the menstrual period to be endured. However, period cramps can vary widely in frequency and severity. It can be tough for parents to know whats normal, but pediatric gynecologists can help. Heres whats normal and whats not and when you should seek help for your child.
Menstrual Cramps Are Almost As Bad As Having A Heart Attack Doctor Says
It shouldnt surprise you to hear that menstrual cramps can be painful. You might be stunned to know just how painful they can be.
Menstrual cramps technically called dysmenorrhea can cause pain thats almost as bad as having a heart attack, according to Dr. John Guillebaud, a professor of reproductive health at University College London, who made the comparison to Quartz.
The pain is severe enough that it is the leading reason women younger than 30 miss work or school, according to WebMD.com. The pain can interfere with daily activities for up to 20% of women, according to a study by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
According to WebMD, the following factors could make it more likely for a woman to experience painful menstrual cramps:
- Started period before age 11
- Periods are heavy
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You Have Other Symptoms
Maybe youre really not sure whether your cramps are normal or not, but you also experience other related symptoms. Other worrisome symptoms may include:
- Cramps accompanied by nausea or diarrhea
- Pelvic pain at times beside your period
- Spotting between cycles
To evaluate what may be wrong, your healthcare provider may suggest:
- Blood work
- Exploratory laparoscopy
- Pelvic exam with sexually transmitted infection testing
- Pelvic ultrasound
Its important to know that endometriosis can only be diagnosed with exploratory laparoscopy. It cant be ruled with ultrasound or a pelvic exam. However, laparoscopy is an invasive, surgical procedure, so your doctor may not recommend having it unless your symptoms are especially bad.
Sometimes it happens that you see your doctor and are told everything is fine. If your cramps arent interfering with your daily life, this may be reassuring and an acceptable answer. However, if your cramps are making it difficult to work and live, dont accept Youre fine as an answer. Seek out another doctor.
If Its Not Implantation What Could Be The Cause Of Mild Cramping
The short answer? If youre about to get your period, it could be higher levels of progesterone. Heres why:
- Progesterone levels are high in the second half of your cycle, called the luteal phase
- Progesterone slows down digestion
- This slow down can lead to cramping
Heres a more detailed description of what happens:
Your menstrual cycle has two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. Its helpful to think of these as the egg prep phase and waiting for pregnancy phase. Each month, whether you ultimately get pregnant or notyour body is preparing for the possibility of pregnancy.
So, its likely that the hormonal processes involved in the waiting for pregnancy phase, are what causes cramping that gets misconstrued as a potential sign of implantation. After you ovulate and a mature egg is released, the corpus luteum is formed from the remains of the ovarian follicle, which is basically a shell around the egg.
The corpus luteum secretes high levels of progesterone and moderate levels of estrogen. Progesterone is what tells your uterine lining to thicken so thatif you do get pregnant this cyclethe embryo will have a place to attach and grow. So, late in the luteal phase, in the days before your period is due, levels of progesterone are very high.
Progesterone also relaxes your digestive muscles and slows down the digestion of food, leading to cramping. So, it doesnt mean youre not pregnant, but the cramping itself should not be considered a sign of anything.
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Up The Magnesium In Your Diet
Dietary magnesium seems to help ease the pain of cramps, says DeJarra Sims, ND, a faculty member at Bastyr University in San Diego and the author of Your Healthiest Life Now.
If you want to take a magnesium supplement, Dr. Sims suggests speaking with your doctor, since the dose you need depends on the severity of your cramps along with other factors.
Try Some Yoga Poses To Ease Menstrual Pain
Whether it’s the stretching of your muscles or the relaxing effect of the poses, a regular yoga practice can indeed help your cramps.
When 20 undergraduate students did an hour-long yoga program once a week for three months, they had less menstrual cramping and period distress than 20 women who didnt, according to researchers for a study published in September 2016 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
The Journal of Physiotherapy review that sanctioned heating pads also found benefits for yoga.
You can practice during your period or between them, but some instructors advise women against doing inverted poses in the midst of menstruation, so as not interfere with your natural flow.
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How To Reduce Period Pain
Even though mild-moderate period pain is normal, this doesnt mean that theres nothing you can do to help reduce it!
Even severe period cramps can be improved by some simple lifestyle changes, and/ or the use of anti-inflammatory painkillers .
The severe pain caused by endometriosis or fibroids, may also be somewhat alleviated in this way, but it is important to seek medical advice because without specific treatment, these issues are likely to get worse over time .
Citation: King, S. Period Pain Whats normal? Available at: .
References and notes:
Can Bad Period Cramps Be A Sign Of Something Else
Period cramps usually dont signify that something is wrong with your health. But in some cases they can be a symptom of a medical condition:
- Endometriosis This disorder occurs when tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus, often adhering to your bladder, ovaries, or even your bowels.
- Uterine FibroidsThese are noncancerous growths that emerge inside the uterine walls. They can range in size from one tiny speck to several bulky masses.
- Adenomyosis Tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow inside the organs muscle wall.
Pain from these conditions may seem like period pain, but it typically lasts longer and can be more severe than your usual menstrual cramps.
If you experience this type of pain, its important to see your doctor, Thielen says.
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Diagnosing And Treating Endometriosis
If you have any of the above symptoms, see your gynecologist. Women with infertility might be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist or a fertility specialist. Some doctors also specialize in pelvic pain and endometriosis.
To confirm a diagnosis, your doctor will likely perform a minimally invasive laparoscopy. During this procedure, a thin, lighted tube will be put into a tiny abdominal incision. This allows your doctor to see your pelvic organs and take a small amount of tissue for biopsy to make a diagnosis.
Often, symptoms can be controlled with medications like birth control pills or leuprolide acetate. Both suppress the pituitary from releasing hormones that make endometriosis grow.
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Why Do I Poop So Much On My Period
These chemicals stimulate the smooth muscles in your uterus to help it contract and shed its lining each month. If your body produces more prostaglandins than it needs, theyll enter your bloodstream and have a similar effect on other smooth muscles in your body, like in your bowels. The result is more poop.
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Your Cramps Don’t Feel Normal
If youre worried your period cramps arent normal, then you should take that concern seriously. Worrying isnt a sign that something is wrong, but it could suggest things might be wrong. Many people are afraid to talk to their doctors about symptoms that cant easily be quantified.
If you have a fever, your doc can confirm that by taking your temperature. If youre experiencing pain, your doctor has to take your word for it. This keeps a lot of people from seeking help.
Additionally, complaints about pain are sadly sometimes dismissed by those in the medical profession. If you brought up your pain to a doctor in the past, and they brushed it off as not serious, you may be remiss to bring it up again. But you should bring it up again. Especially if youre concerned about it.
Some of the possible causes for painful crampslike endometriosisare diseases that take years to get properly diagnosed. Keep asking for help until someone hears you
Period Cramps Vs Early Pregnancy Cramps
Period Cramps are an obvious sign and symptom of PMS or Pre Menstrual Syndrome. The Pre Menstrual Syndrome is a set of commonly occurring symptoms which usually is linked to the occurrence of the menstrual cycle of a woman. These PMS symptoms usually start two weeks prior to starting the monthly menstrual flow of the woman and end once the menstrual flow actually starts. One of the most common symptoms includes having cramps in the stomach. But such cramps are also observed sometimes in early pregnancy stages. So what is the difference between such cramps and which cramp is more painful?
The symptoms of Pre Menstrual Syndrome are very similar to those of early pregnancy including the premenstrual cramps which begin two weeks before the actual period or menstrual flow of a woman begins. Though the Pre Menstrual Syndrome cramps which begin a week or two before the menstrual cycle begins has quite a few similarities with the early pregnancy symptoms, there are some subtle differences which should be known by the woman in order to take the necessary precautions. Some of the signs of period vs pregnancy include bleeding, cramping, nausea, fatigue, breast pain and food cravings or aversions. However, the one major sign is period cramping and the implantation cramping. Not knowing the difference between the two types of cramping can be a major setback for the woman.
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What Is Endometriosis
Unlike PMS, endometriosis occurs in a woman’s pelvis and surrounding organs, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and intestines. “Endometriosis is a condition where the same cells that usually line the inner part of the uterus , which women shed every month when they have a period, grow outside of the uterus,” Dr. Ann Peters, a gynecologist and surgeon in The Gynecology Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. explained. “In its most severe forms, endometriosis can even invade into these important organs and nerves and cause severe pain.”
Can Guys Have Periods
Guys dont have periods because they dont have a uterus, but their bodies develop and change too the changes are just different. For example: their voice changes and they develop hair on their face and other parts of their bodies. So, although guys dont get periods, their bodies do go through changes too.
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On The Lookout For Changes
Even though there are a wide array of experiences of period pain, it’s also important to learn what’s normal for you, so you can be on the lookout for any changes.
If you experience a sudden increase in your ‘usual’ levels of period pain, or if you start to get period pain when previously you had none, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor to rule out anything serious.
For more information on pelvic pain including pain that occurs at times outside of your period read our recent article, Pelvic pain: know the different causes and when to seek help.
Being Broken Up With Repeatedly
Because your menstruation cycle sets your hormones on fire, your emotions are also set on fire when you have your period. Therefore, whenever one thing goes wrong, it feels as though every single thing has gone wrong. For example, your date being late to pick you up causes you to have the same emotional response you would have if your husband of ten years decided to leave you for another woman. What’s more annoying is that you know you’re being overly sensitive and emotional, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Even if you try to take a deep breath and calm down, another emotion creeps up on you. You can’t escape your feelings, just like you can’t escape your period.
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