My Periods Are Really Painful Am I Normal
Its normal for women to have some cramping, bloating, nausea, or diarrhea before their period starts each month. These symptoms can continue for a few days after the period starts, and they can be annoyingbut they shouldnt interfere with going to school or work, or with otherwise living life.
Heres whats not normal:
Moderate to severe cramps or lower belly pain with every period.
Periods so bad that they interfere with work, school, or life in general.
Pms Symptoms & Relief
PMS symptoms include cramping, bloating, and mood swings just before your period. While not all women get PMS, a large majority of women deal with one or more of these symptoms monthly. If you experience period bloating , you may want to try a diuretic. Diuretics work to reduce bloating by increasing urine output. However, diuretics are not appropriate for everyone. You should talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to use diuretics, especially if you are taking any medications, have low blood pressure, or have high potassium levels. Alternatives to diuretics that may help reduce bloating during PMS include exercise and watching your salt intake.
If you experience mood swings during PMS, herbal remedies may help. Talk to your doctor about which ones may be right for you. Exercising regularly, eating well, and getting enough sleep are all ways that can help reduce your stress levels and may be worth trying. Similarly, meditation, journaling, yoga, and other calming activities can benefit you at any time of the month, but can be especially helpful when fighting PMS-induced irritability and mood swings.
Best Supplements For Period Cramps
Painful period cramps can range in intensity from a dull, achy sensation in the lower abdomen for 1-2 days, to debilitating belly and back pain, sometimes accompanied by nausea and vomiting. For many women, the cramping is intense enough to keep you from work, disrupt social plans, or keep you at home rather than being active or climbing mountains. If youre looking for ways to treat your menstrual pain naturally, let me tell you how. I want you to be able to feel like your optimal, productive, creative and strong self no matter what day of the month it is. In previous articles, Ive covered what foods to focus on, which herbs to choose, and now I want to discuss the best nutritional supplements to help reduce your period pain.
First and foremost, its important to be clear about what type of period pain you experience: primary, or secondary . It is critical to ensure that youre treating the pain with the right medicine. If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, you may need some help from your health care provider to explain your treatment options. For now, I want to highlight some nutrients that have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. I like to use these nutrients in combination with herbs, castor oil packs, and sometimes acupuncture for a holistic approach to healing pain. Without further ado, here are 6 of my go-to nutritional supplements for period cramps:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Tuna, salmon
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Acupuncture May Help By Relaxing The Nervous System
Acupuncture can help relieve cramps, says Jeannie Bianchi, a licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco. This ancient Asian healing method is thought to relax the nervous system, allow more blood to flow to internal organs, and quell inflammation, Bianchi says.
In a review published in April 2016 in the CochraneDatabase of Systematic Reviews experts looked at 42 studies that observed the effects of acupuncture on period cramps. Each compared acupuncture with no treatment, conventional treatment , or a sham acupuncture procedure. Many of the studies found that the acupuncture group had less period pain and no side effects. The researchers emphasize, however, that the quality of all of the studies was poor.
Can You Heal Menstrual Cramps With Home Remedies
Most of the time, menstrual cramps can be treated by women at home.
But if your pain is severe and impacts your lifestyle, dont be afraid to talk to your doctor. You might need medicines that are only available by prescription or some other treatment to help.
To help reduce period pain, here are 10 safe and effective home remedies for menstrual cramp relief.
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Why Are Period Cramps Painful
Dysmenorrhea is thought to be caused by compounds in the body known as prostaglandins. Before menstruation starts each month, the level of prostaglandins in the lining of the uterus increases.
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Your prostaglandin level is its highest on the first day of your menstrual period, which is why menstrual pain is usually worse then. As your period progresses and the lining of the uterus is shed, your prostaglandin level decreases and pain gets better, ACOG states.
What You Should Know
Menstrual cramps, or period cramps, are not typically caused by any physical abnormality. They instead result from contractions of the uterus as it works to dispel menstrual blood. Those contractions can cause backaches, headaches, nausea and dizziness in addition to the more typical pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis.
Experienced most often by young women in their teens and twenties, cramps usually begin to subside with age and may disappear entirely after childbirth. Women who use intrauterine devices for birth control often experience a notable increase in cramping.
Typically, medical professionals recommend the use of heat , exercise , and non-prescription pain-relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Our Best Medicine for Menstrual Cramps guide will provide you with information on the 10 pain relief products that women prefer for easing the pain of periods.
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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.
Best For The Newly Birth
If youve decided to ditch birth controleither because youre looking to get pregnant or you are just sick of being on artificial hormonesit can be a giant pain as your body readjusts to your natural cycle.
With birth control, you know exactly when your period is coming, so you can prepare for it. Once you stop, your body has to readjust, and it takes some time before you get to your new normal. Those who were on continuous birth control, which suppresses your period, may suddenly start to experience all of those symptoms that you may have been missing because you were skipping your period .
That’s where Clue comes in: This app is beloved by gynos and users alike because it trains you to identify the signals your body is giving you that your period is on its way. It tracks pretty much anything and everything that happens during your cycle, from breakouts and migraines to the heaviness of your flow.
It can also help you find patterns in your cycle and predict your next three cycles. Pretty impressive and exceedingly helpful, especially if youre just starting to reacquaint yourself with Aunt Flo. The app costs around $1 per month, or $10 for a year.
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Period Pain Caused By A Medical Condition
Less commonly, period pain can be caused by an underlying medical condition.
Period pain linked to an underlying medical condition tends to affect older women. Women aged 30 to 45 are most commonly affected.
Medical conditions that can cause period pain include:
- endometriosis where cells that normally line the womb grow in other places, such as in the fallopian tubes and ovaries these cells can cause intense pain when they shed
- fibroids non-cancerous tumours that can grow in or around the womb and can make your periods heavy and painful
- pelvic inflammatory disease where your womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries become infected with bacteria, causing them to become severely inflamed
- adenomyosis where the tissue that normally lines the womb starts to grow within the muscular womb wall, making your periods particularly painful
Birth Control For Managing Cramps
Hormonal birth control is easy to use and effective at preventing pregnancy. Certain birth control methods can provide non-contraceptive benefits as well.
Some hormonal contraceptives have been shown to lower the pain associated with dysmenorrhea. The following is a list of the prescription birth control methods that have been shown to be helpful in relieving some bad menstrual cramp pain:
- Combination birth control pills: Containing both estrogen and progestin, these pills help relieve bad menstrual cramps by blocking prostaglandin production.
- NuvaRing: NuvaRing works like combination pills to ease menstrual cramps.
- Nexplanon: This progestin-only implant appears to reduce dysmenorrhea in most women.
- Mirena IUD: While there’s not much data supporting it, this IUD may reduce or eliminate monthly periods for many women, which should theoretically make menstrual cramps less likely.
- The Patch:The contraceptive patch also works like combination birth control pills and can help to decrease menstrual pain.
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Option #: The Implant
Surprise! The Nexplanon implant works almost identically to the Shot and hormonal IUDs. It’s a small rod that’s placed into your arm. After that, it works to slowly release progesterone into your body to increase mucus in the cervix and decrease the uterine lining.
“One thing to know about the Implant is that it is less effective than hormonal IUDs and the Shot at making your periods disappear,” explains Dr. Jackson-Bey. Your periods could also become more irregular and you may experience spotting in the first three to six months of use. But those cramps? Oh yeah, you can say goodbye.
Pop A Safe Painkiller To Cut The Inflammation
Moderate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or naproxen is one of the best ways to curb period pain, Thielen says. This is because NSAIDs reduce the amount of prostaglandins in the body. For this reason, taking a pill just before you get your period can keep the level of pain-causing prostaglandins from rising, she says.
As with any medicine, you should first check with your doctor to be sure NSAIDs are a good choice for you, especially if you have a history of bleeding or stomach or kidney issues.
If the NSAIDs you buy in the store dont offer enough relief, your doctor might prescribe an NSAID with more potency. Some women need up to 800 milligrams three times a day for cramps. Youd have to take a lot of over-the-counter pills to equal that, Thielen says.
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Why It All Works
Before you can figure out which birth control to try, you need to know whats actually going on inside of your body. Hey! Dont just skip over this its legit important, and it could also be a trivia question one day. Because as much as it can feel as though your cramps are somehow your fault, its actually your uterus that decides how severe the pain will be during your period, which means its absolutely not something you can control on your own.
Menstrual cramps come from chemicals called prostaglandins getting released from the lining of the uterus, says Dr. Margaret Polaneczky, OB/GYN at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine. Everyones prostaglandins levels differ, which is why some women have more severe menstrual cramps than others, but their role in periods is always the same: They make the uterus contract and squeeze, causing cramps.
Ideally, we could just turn off the prostaglandins in your uterus, but sadly, the body doesnt work that way. So instead, the key is to reduce them, which can only be achieved by reducing your period altogether. A lighter menstrual flow means a thinner uterine lining, and a thinner uterine lining helps lower the release of prostaglandins, which results in fewer cramps, she says. Luckily, any hormonal birth control will thin the lining of your uterus , so as long as you choose a method that prevents or reduces ovulation altogether, youll find some relief.
If Your Cramps Are Particularly Awful:
Sterling names chasteberry and ginkgo leaf as key ingredients that have been shown to counteract cramping, which is what we feel when our uterine muscles constrict and contract. They’re both starring ingredients in Love Wellness’s #Mood Pills , which were designed to encourage hormonal balance all month long. One important thing to note, especially if you’re on the pill: “Women on birth-control pills should be aware that there’s concern that due to its mechanism of action, chasteberry could reduce the effectiveness,” says Sterling. Check with your doctor to discuss your options.
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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.
What Causes Period Pain
Period pain can occur when chemicals called prostaglandins are released from the lining of the uterus . The release of prostaglandins causes the muscles in the uterus to contract which may cause pain in some women. Although its not entirely clear why some women experience stronger period pain than others, women with higher levels of prostaglandins may experience stronger cramps and pain.
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Menstrual Pills For Bad Period Cramps
Menstruation is a fact of life . But medicine for periods and painful cramps didn’t exist for most of human history. Fortunately, it does now! Ease menstrual cramps and get cramp pain relief online with a few clicks. You and your wisp doctor can decide what the best medicine for severe menstrual cramps is based on your symptoms. Prescription menstrual pills are one of the fastest ways to relieve period cramps. Period.
Get safe, affordable cramp pain relief today 🙂
The Research Shows: Nsaids Can Relieve Period Pain
The studies show that NSAIDs were more effective than placebos at relieving period pain:
- 82 out of 100 girls and women who didn’t take NSAIDs still had severe pain after a few hours.
- 51 out of 100 girls and women who took NSAIDs still had severe pain after a few hours.
So the painkillers relieved pain in 31 out of 100 girls and women.
Some studies compared NSAIDs with acetaminophen . They suggest that NSAIDs are a little more effective than acetaminophen at relieving period pain. There’s not enough good research to be able to say whether some NSAIDs are more effective than others.
The studies also show that NSAIDs can sometimes have side effects: 2 to 3 out of 100 girls and women experienced stomach problems, nausea, headaches or drowsiness.
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