Why Are Period Cramps So Painful

If You Have A Sharp Pain On One Side


It might be: an ovarian torsion or ruptured ovarian cyst. In the case of a torsion, something has caused the ovary to twist, which cuts off its blood flow ovarian cysts, on the other hand, are quite common and usually unproblematicunless they rupture or break open. Either condition is serious, says Masterson, who describes the pain for both as sharp and stabbing, causing you to double over. You may even experience nausea or vomiting, too.

What to do: Go straight to the ER for medical scans to determine whether a cyst or torsion is causing your severe pain. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, treatment for ruptured cysts is variable, ranging from mild interventions to surgery, but a torsion will pretty much always require surgery to either correct the problem or remove the ovary .

What Is Your First Period Like After You Stop Breastfeeding

For most Mums, the first period after giving birth and stopping breastfeeding is heavier, with increased bleeding and cramping. Whilst this can be quite uncomfortable, it is completely normal. However, if you are needing to change your pad or tampon every hour do not hesitate to contact your Doctor.

How Much Period Pain Is Normal

If youre like most women, youve experienced period pain at some point in your life. A little bit of mild cramping can be considered normal, especially at the beginning of your period. But ideally, you wont even feel your period coming at all.

If youre consistently having to pop painkillers like candy, or youre in too much pain to go to work or school, then something deeper is going on. That type of period pain is not normal. In medicine, painful periods are called dysmenorrhea.

Your period is like a barometer of your overall health. It tells you how well your body is being nourished , how much stress youve been under, and how much inflammation might be going on in your body.

Its important to uncover the root causes of why your hormones are in turmoil so that you can find the least invasive, safest and most effective solution.

The great news is that womens hormonal issues respond beautifully to natural medicine and, with a little detective work, you can troubleshoot your problems to get back on the road to wellness.

First, lets explore the causes of menstrual pain.

Im going to get all sciency because I want you to really understand whats going on inside of your body. I even made a cute little drawing to help explain everything. Bear with me and keep reading. Itll all make sense I promise!

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When To See A Doctor

Have you asked yourself, Why do my cramps hurt so bad? If yes, that means that you have noticed that your menstrual cramps are not with the normal strength as usual. This is the first indication that you should go and see your doctor.

Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms that are present in your specific case and menstrual cycles. Your doctor will most probably do a full pelvic exam. The doctor should explain to you how long do menstrual cramps last and if it turns out that your cramps are not caused by your period, you will have to do additional tests to find out the exact reason. When you will discover the right cause of your cramps, your doctor will prescribe you a menstrual cramps cure.

To prevent menstrual cramps from happening, maintain a healthy lifestyle. Choose carefully the food that you are eating, exercise several times in the week and try to walk at least an hour every day. If you are willing to try some new diet or do any treatments, talk to your doctor first.

So What Exactly Are Cramps And Why Do We Get Them

Signs of Abnormal or Unusual Period Cramps

Cramps are those impossible-to-ignore pains in your abdomen, back and/or upper legs that appear around the start of your period.

And, a little known fact is that theyre actually contractions! If you have a menstrual cycle, your body spends the month growing a nutrition-packed lining inside your uterus – this is ready to host an egg for possible pregnancy.

If you havent become pregnant during this cycle, then your body needs to shed this lining.

To do this, your body starts to make lots of prostaglandins . Their job is to stimulate the muscles in your uterus to contract which helps to shed the lining .

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What Are Period Cramps

Period cramps, sometimes called dysmenorrhea, are the pain associated with menstruation. Mild pain is a normal part of the menstruation process.

About every month, the ovaries release an egg into the uterus. The endometrial lining thickens as it prepares the body for pregnancy. When the egg isnt fertilized, the uterus sheds its lining and starts the process over again.

To shed the lining and move the blood out of the body, the uterus must contract. This contraction causes pain which many female bodies experience as cramping. Some women have period cramps but no blood, which can be a sign of different health conditions.

Use Foods Against Menstrual Pain

  • Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is a more natural way to fight cramps from the inside. If you find yourself eating lots of junk food, especially leading up to your period, you may want to reach for healthier choices. Stay away from processed and fatty foods like sweets, pasta, cheese, and white bread instead, go for items like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

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How Are Severe Menstrual Cramps Treated

When the usual home remedies to relieve period cramps are no match for your cramps, an OB-GYN can help you find relief from the pain. The most common treatments for severe menstrual cramps are:

  • Hormonal birth control methods If your menstrual cramps are caused by a hormone imbalance, your doctor might recommend using a hormonal birth control. In addition to preventing pregnancy, taking hormonal birth control can help correct the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body, which effects the thickness of the uterine lining. Thinning the uterine lining can reduce prostaglandin and bring pain relief. Some birth control methods can cause women to skip their periods, eliminating cramps altogether.
  • Prescription medication When over-the-counter medicines dont work, your doctor might prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These medicines are much stronger than similar ones youll find over-the-counter. They can significantly reduce prostaglandins in your uterus, which might thin the uterine lining and alleviate cramps. Prescription medication is used when a woman experiences severe, chronic cramps.

An Introduction To Period Cramps

Why Do You Have Painful Period Cramps? | Episode 1

Stomach cramps are one of the most common symptoms of menstrual periods and up to 80% of women are thought to be affected each month.

Cramp often starts a couple of days before your period is due and can continue throughout the first few days of menstruation, finally beginning to ease off towards the end. Menstrual cramps typically cause lower abdominal pain but in some cases this can radiate through into your back, or down your thighs.

Primary dysmenorrhoea is the most common type of period pain and occurs when the structure and function of the womb is perfectly normal. Secondary dysmenorrhoea describes the pain that occurs as a result of a disorder of the womb it is often worse at the time of a womans period but in many cases can become apparent at any time of a womans monthly cycle. Common conditions giving rise to secondary dysmenorrhoea include fibroids, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease .

The risk of having a painful period is thought to be dependent on a number of factors. Typically pain can become worse as we age this is for a number of reasons but changing hormones are thought to have a part to play, for example in the lead up to the menopause. Other potential risk factors for period cramps include starting your periods early , having particularly heavy or irregular periods, if painful periods run in your family, or if you have some condition affecting the womb. Lifestyle factors are also important as we will go on to discuss below.

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Why Are Cramps Caused By Pcos So Painful

To answer this, you need to first understand what PCOS is and how it affects a womans body. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disease that affects 12 to 21 percent of reproductive-age women. PCOS is a disorder in which the ovaries generate an excessive quantity of androgens, male sex hormones that are normally present in minimal levels in women. The term polycystic ovarian syndrome refers to a condition in which the ovary develops a large number of tiny cysts .

It has a range of effects on women. It has an impact on the skin, hair growth, fertility, menstruation, and other aspects of life. Hair loss, ovarian cysts, chronic tiredness, and changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle are among the symptoms of PCOS. PCOS patients have high amounts of androgens and low estrogen levels . However, some women with this disease do not develop cysts, whereas others who do not have the disorder do.

The primary reason why PCOS cramps are so painful is because of the common underlying symptom among PCOS patients, that is, pelvic pain which resembles menstrual cramps. It is described as pain in the lower abdomen, right above the pelvic bone, that is dull or throbbing. There are two forms of pain: spasmodic and congestive. Spasmodic pain is more severe, with cramping or a defined “stabbing” feeling in the lower abdomen that comes and goes in waves congestive pain is a more constant dull aching.

Mild Period Cramps Are Normal

Some prostaglandin build-up in the uterus is needed to help set your period in motion.

When prostaglandins are produced in healthy amounts, the uterine lining can be shed with only mild cramping .

When prostaglandins are overproduced, they trigger muscle contractions that are far more powerful than whats needed to shed the uterine lining, and result in moderate to severe cramping .

Mild period cramps are considered to be normal because pain thats beyond mild can indicate prostaglandin overproduction, which may be a sign of increased inflammation in the body overall, or an underlying issue.

Well note, however, that when it comes to period pain, whats normal or healthy isnt always whats most common. While period cramps of any severity are very common and affect up to 95% of women, in one large American study, only 27% of women had mild period cramps. 54% had severe cramps, and 19% had severe cramps in multiple locations, coupled with gastrointestinal symptoms.Its never considered normal for period pain to cause you to miss school or work, limit your social life, or interfere with your ability to enjoy daily activities.

Research shows any recurring menstrual pain can have negative downstream effects on our mood, sleep, sensitivity to pain, overall quality of life, and may predispose people with cramps to other painful chronic conditions.

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If You Have Agonizing Cramps And A Heavy Flow

It might be: uterine fibroids. These benign growths on the wall of the uterus are common, says Masterson, but they increase the surface area of the uterine lining so the amount of cramping and bleeding you have during your period may become super-intense.

What to do: See your doctor, especially if you know other women in your family have had fibroids . Youll likely be sent for an ultrasound to make sure there are no abnormal growths, and then prescribed low-dose birth control pills to minimize the pain during periods. Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, you may also be a candidate for surgery, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development .

When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Menstrual Cramps

Pin on Period Cramps

Bad cramps keep some women from working and going to school. You dont have to suffer and you dont have to put your life on hold. Contact your healthcare provider if you have painful periods.

It may be helpful to keep track of your periods and the days on which pain is the worst so you can make a complete report. If you notice other symptoms, like headaches or heavy flows, you should keep track of those, too.

Your provider will probably ask you when you started getting your period, how long they last, if you are sexually active, if other women in your family have problems with their periods and what kinds of treatments you might have tried already.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Menstruation is normal. You might get cramps, but you dont have to suffer silently with them. There are ways to make painful periods less painful. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider about painful periods.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/20/2020.


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You Overdid It On Caffeine Salt Or Alcohol Before Or During Your Period

Caffeine, salt, and alcohol can act as vasoconstrictorssubstances that narrow blood vessels so less blood and oxygen can flow through them.

Period cramps happen in a 3-step process. Keeping oxygen flowing freely through the blood vessels in your uterus is critical to preventing them.

  • Hormonal fluxes around the start of your period trigger the production of prostaglandinspro-inflammatory compounds that accumulate in the uterus, tighten uterine muscles, and help detach the uterine lining so it can leave as your period.
  • When prostaglandins are overproduced, they cause the uterine muscles to over-tighten, pinching off blood vessels that supply the uterus with oxygen.
  • When uterine muscles dont have enough oxygen, it hurts. That pain is a period cramp.
  • Uterine prostaglandins are usually most plentiful on the first day of your period, but they start to accumulate before then. Overdoing it on caffeine, salt, or alcohol in the days leading up to and during your period can further prevent oxygen from reaching your uterus, resulting in more intense cramps.

    How Do I Know If My Cramps Are Severe

    Menstrual cramps feel like a throbbing or cramping pain in your lower abdomen. You may also feel pressure or a continuous dull ache in the area. The pain may radiate to your lower back and inner thighs.

    Cramps usually begin a day or two before your period, peaking around 24 hours after your period starts. They typically last for two to three days.

    Menstrual cramps can be accompanied by other symptoms, including:

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