How To Tell If Your Period Cramping Is Normal
Each girl or woman typically experiences a similar level of cramps from one month to the next, says Jackie Thielen, MD, an internist and womens health specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. For some women, monthly pain is minor. For others, it can be quite debilitating.
The main question doctors ask when determining whether your cramps are normal is Are they normal for you? Dr. Thielen says.
Get A Relaxing Massage
You can massage the lower abdomen at least two times a day. Use essential oils like those of lavender for this task.
When you massage the area, any potential inflammation diminishes. Moreover, the fragrance of these oils instills the sensation of feeling good and fresh in your mind.
The muscles that become sore and stressed due to repeated spasmodic contractions get relieved when massaged.
When you are at home and have plenty of time at hand, then you can reach out for this technique.
What To Do For Simple Cramps
For simple cramps, the first-line option is ibuprofen, 400 milligrams four times a day. If that is not working, or if twice a day works better for your teens schedule than four times a day, try naproxen sodium, 500 milligrams twice a day.
Both schedules only work when no doses are missed, starting from when you know your period is coming through the number of days of cramps you usually get.
Another option is Ponstel®, or methanimic acid, 500 milligrams as a loading dose and then 250 milligrams every six hours.
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Adenomyosis: Painful Cramps And Sex
Adenomyosis is like endometriosis, except instead of the endometrium implanting itself outside of the uterus, it is found embedded deep within the uterine muscle. In women with adenomyosis, the uterus acts like a bruised muscle, said Sinervo. Symptoms of adenomyosis include painful central cramps and painful intercourse, which can hurt up until a day or two after. Adenomyosis is usually seen in women over age 30 who have already had children. However, Sinervo added, it has been seen in teenagers as well.
The 7 Best Ways To Deal With Cramps
Here are pro tips from doctors on how to deal with the monthly menace.
Period symptoms vary from woman to woman, but cramps is a classic harbinger of that special monthly time. While some luckier ladies might just feel an achiness or slight tension in their backs or abdomen at the onset of their periods, other women can get menstrual cramps so bad their lives are disrupted by the pain.
Menstrual cramps closer to the time of your bleeding, and during, is because of a rise in a hormone-like chemical called prostaglandins, says Ja Hyun Shin, MD, an assistant professor at the Department of Womens Health and Obstetrics & Gynecology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the director of the Pelvic Pain Clinic at Montefiore Health System in Bronx, New York. This substance causes a contraction type of pain because it is doing exactly that helping to contract and squeeze out your uterine lining which is your menstrual bleeding.
Since your uterus is essentially one large, pear-shaped muscle, those pangs can radiate through the entire lower back and belly area, explains Sherry A. Ross, MD, a womens health expert in Santa Monica, California and the author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Womens Intimate Health. Period.
NSAIDs , which you can find by the names Aleve, Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen, should help with the discomfort.
Drink plenty of H2O and cut back on alcohol and caffeine, Shin adds, which can dehydrate your cells.
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Diagnosing Cramps With No Period
Always call a doctor if you have cramps that wonât go away, whether or not you have your period.
Your doctor will want to know if your pain is sudden or ongoing. The more details you can give, the faster they may be able to diagnose and treat you. Youâll be asked questions about your symptoms and your periods.
Your doctor may do tests or procedures to learn the cause of your cramps. If your doctor suspects it is related to your uterus, or ovaries, common tests are:
Laparoscopy, a type of exploratory surgery to look at the structures inside your pelvic area, including your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Your doctor may refer you to someone who specialize in stomach or intestinal disorders or a urologist if they suspect that cramps are caused by any of those areas .
Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Pelvic Pain.”
Glencoe Regional Health Services: “Possible causes of ovarian pain.”
St. Luke’s Health System: “Ruptured Ovarian Cyst.”
Kruszka, P.S. American Family Physician, July 15, 2010.
KidsHealth: “Pregnancy Calendar: Week 4.”
KidsHealth: “Pregnancy Calendar: Week 5.”
WomensHealth.gov: “Irritable Bowel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”
Center for Young Women’s Health: “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.”
Christiana Care Health System: “Pelvic-Floor Muscle Dysfunction.”
UpToDate: âPatient information: Chronic pelvic pain in women .
UpToDate: Patient information: Irritable bowel syndrome .â
American Cancer Society: âWhat Is Ovarian Cancer?â
Causes And Risk Factors
Doctors distinguish between two types of period pain, called primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is where the period pain is caused by the womb muscle contractions alone. Hormone-like substances called prostaglandins play an important role here. They influence the perception of pain and cause the muscles in the womb to tighten, helping to shed the lining of the womb. Primary dysmenorrhea is more common in women under the age of 30 and women with heavy periods. It can run in families, and stress can play a role too.
Period pain that is caused by something other than the muscle contractions is called secondary dysmenorrhea. Benign growths in the womb, such as fibroids or polyps, are often responsible for secondary dysmenorrhea. Severe period pain may also be caused by endometriosis. In endometriosis, the kind of tissue that lines the womb grows elsewhere in the abdomen too. Sometimes contraceptive coils used for birth control can also cause secondary dysmenorrhea.
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When Should I Get Medical Help For My Period Pain
For many women, some pain during your period is normal. However, you should contact your health care provider if
- NSAIDs and self-care measures don’t help, and the pain interferes with your life
- Your cramps suddenly get worse
- You are over 25 and you get severe cramps for the first time
- You have a fever with your period pain
- You have the pain even when you are not getting your period
Which Sleeping Position Is The Best To Get Rid Of Period Pains
Sleeping in fetal position is one of the best things you can do to relieve menstrual cramps at night. It will take pressure off your abdominal muscles and relax the skeletal muscles near your abdomen. Less strain on your abdomen means pain relief and the absence of cramps. In addition, sleeping in the fetal position will also prevent leakage at night. When your legs are pressed against each other, you are less likely to leak even on heavy period days.
The worst position to sleep in during your periods is on your stomach. A face-down position will put extra pressure on your abdomen, causing more pain and cramps. It can also put more pressure on your blood flow and abdomen, which can result in period leakage.
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Why Do I Have Cramps But No Period
If youre having period cramps but no period, or a late period and cramps at an unexpected time of the month, it could be due to a number of things. Common causes include pregnancy, cysts, or IBS. Lets dive into 9 of the most common reasons women experiencing cramping and what it means for your health.
Eat Calcium Rich Foods 4
One often knows the tentative dates of the periods. So, to reduce the problems in those days, start eating calcium rich foods 4-5 days in advance.
Make sure you get 2-3 servings of low fat calcium food each day. This will prevent excessive cramps and give the body strength during periods.
Foods like spinach, ladies finger, broccoli, almonds, soy milk, yogurt, fortified tofu, milk, green beans, and bok choy are excellent source of calcium that can be consumed to strengthen the body.
Their richness in iron also benefits the blood flow and regulates the cycle.
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An Inflammatory Bowel Disease
What it is: You get long-term swelling and irritation in different parts of your digestive tract. It happens when something goes haywire in your immune system. It isnât the same as irritable bowel syndrome . Crohn’s can affect any part of your digestive tract . Ulcerative colitis involves only the large intestine .
What the cramps feel like: It depends on the type of IBD you have. With Crohn’s, youâll feel cramps and pain in the right lower or middle parts of your belly. They can be mild to severe. If you have ulcerative colitis, the cramps will be on the lower left side of your stomach.
Other symptoms: Which ones you have depend on the specific type of IBD. They include:
Reason For Painful Cramps: Cervical Stenosis
The cervix is located between the uterus and the vaginal canal it opens into the vaginal canal. Cervical stenosis is a condition where the cervix is really narrow and blocks the passage between the uterus and the vaginal canal. It is a genetic condition or it may develop later as a result of other conditions or procedures.
Cervical stenosis causes cramps because the blood finds it hard to pass through and causes painful pressure in the uterus, so it results in lots of cramps.
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Take Otc Pain Medseven Before Your Period Starts
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen act by blocking prostaglandin production, and several studies have shown that they can be very effective in treating menstrual pain. All of the NSAIDs studied seem to work better than acetaminophen , according to a 2015 Cochrane Review of previous researchbut its not clear which one of the two is the best medicine for severe menstrual cramps.
Taking Motrin or Tylenol, or a combination of the two, every four to six hours can be helpful, says Dr. Worly. Sometimes it can also be helpful to start taking those medicines before your period startsso if you know its going to start on a Friday, start taking those medicines on Thursday.
What Can I Do For Cramps
If cramps bother you, you can:
- Take a pain reliever. Talk to your mom or dad or your doctor about which medicine is best for you. They can help you figure out how much to take and how often.
- Exercise! Being physically active can ease cramps, probably because exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the body that make you feel good.
- Get warm. Try placing a warm water bottle, warm heating pad, or warm compress on your belly or take a warm bath.
If these tips dont help, talk to your parent or your doctor about other treatments.
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Tame Chronic Sleep Problems
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep quality has an effect on menstrual symptoms and many health conditions. In one study, women who had insomnia reported more severe dysmenorrhea and more interference with daily activities due to symptoms compared to women who did not have insomnia. Practice good sleep hygiene to keep painful menstruation symptoms at bay. This involves going to bed at about the same time every night. Establish and stick to a nightly routine to give your body the signal that it’s time for sleep. The routine may involve things like listening to soothing music, enjoying a cup of tea, or taking a warm bath. Getting adequate sleep to promote overall health will help you manage monthly symptoms associated with your menstrual cycle.
More Sleep Tips
Avoid TV, your smartphone, computer, and other screens before bed to help you wind down. You may feel more comfortable sleeping in different positions during your period. Pay extra attention to sleep hygiene in the days leading up to your period.
Diagnosis Of Painful Periods
Your GP will ask about your symptoms. They may also ask you about your medical history and how your periods are affecting your day-to-day life.
If youre young and not sexually active, and your GP thinks you may have primary dysmenorrhoea, they may just examine your abdomen. If youre sexually active or your GP thinks you may have secondary dysmenorrhoea, theyll probably suggest you have a vaginal examination too.
For a vaginal examination, your GP will put gloved, lubricated fingers into your vagina to gently feel for anything different in your womb or cervix. Theyll use a tool called a speculum to gently hold your vagina open while they check your cervix. At the same time as the vaginal examination, theyll use their other hand to press on the lower part of your abdomen. You can ask to have someone with you while youre being examined.
Your GP may also suggest the following tests.
- Using a swab to take a sample from inside your vagina, to check for infection.
- Blood tests to check for anaemia and other conditions.
- An ultrasound scan. An abdominal scan looks at your womb from the outside, through your lower abdomen. A transvaginal scan is carried out from the inside using a device that goes into your vagina. The scan may feel uncomfortable but it shouldnt be painful.
The endometriosis support page in our Women’s Health Hub offers a wide range of expert advice, information and tools. Find out more about endometriosis support >
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How Can You Relieve Mild Menstrual Cramps
To relieve mild menstrual cramps:
- For the best relief, take ibuprofen as soon as bleeding or cramping starts. Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . They reduce the output of prostaglandins. If you cant take NSAIDs, you can take another pain reliever like acetaminophen.
- Place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower back or abdomen.
- Rest when needed.
- Avoid foods that contain caffeine.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Massage your lower back and abdomen.
Women who exercise regularly often have less menstrual pain. To help prevent cramps, make exercise a part of your weekly routine.
If these steps dont relieve pain, your healthcare provider can order medications for you, including ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medication in a higher dose that is available over the counter. Your healthcare provider might also suggest oral contraceptives since women who take oral contraceptives tend to have less menstrual pain.
If testing shows that you have secondary dysmenorrhea, your provider will discuss treatments of the condition causing the pain. This might mean oral contraceptives, other types of medications, or surgery.