Birth Control Vs Ibuprofen
One study in the American Journal of Medicine shared the differences in birth control and ibuprofen for cramps. The study found that both methods effectively reduce cramps however, the way they reduce cramps is different.
Ibuprofen helps slows the release of the chemical that can cause cramps, while birth control stops ovulation altogether and lightens periods. Both are effective but depending on if you are interested in lightening your period as well, you may want to consider birth control.
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.
You Might Start Skipping It Here And There
Dont freak out if your period goes entirely MIA one month. A skipped period is the first sign of deteriorating egg quality, says Dr. Dunsmoor-Su. Some months, the eggs just don’t reach a point where they release, and so a period gets missed. Remember: Youre not in menopause until you go a full year without a period, so skipping a month doesnt necessarily mean you can toss all your pads and tampons.
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Possible Complications Of Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps wont cause any other medical complications if you go to see a doctor on time in order to prevent further conditions to occur. It mainly affects your daily activities. Furthermore, if endometriosis is not discovered in time, it may cause fertility problems. The pelvic inflammatory disease can increase the risk of a fertilized egg implanting outside of the uterus,
Coping With Period Pain
There are a number of simple ways to ease the discomfort.
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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
Yes, if you have painful periods you and your obstetrician-gynecologist should talk about your symptoms and your menstrual cycle. If needed, your ob-gyn may recommend a pelvic exam. A first step in treatment may be medications. If medications do not relieve your pain, treatment should focus on finding the cause of your pain.
An ultrasound exam may be done when pain is not relieved with medications. In some cases, an ob-gyn may recommend a laparoscopy. This is a procedure that lets an ob-gyn view the organs in the pelvis. With laparoscopy, a small incision is made near the belly button. A thin, lighted cameraa laparoscopeis inserted into the abdomen. Laparoscopy often is done with general anesthesia in a surgery center or hospital.
Medications are usually the first step when treating painful periods. Certain pain relievers target prostaglandins. These medications, called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , reduce the prostaglandins made by the body and lessen their effects. This in turn makes menstrual cramps less severe. Most NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can be bought over the counter.
Acupuncture, acupressure, and nerve stimulation therapies may be useful for treating painful periods. Physical therapy that eases trigger points also may help with pain.
How Does Secondary Dysmenorrhea Cause Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual pain from secondary dysmenorrhea is a result of problems with the reproductive organs. Conditions that can cause cramping include:
- Endometriosis: A condition in which the tissue lining the uterus is found outside of the uterus. Because these pieces of tissue bleed during your period, they can cause swelling, scarring and pain.
- Adenomyosis: A condition where the lining of the uterus grows into the muscle of the uterus. This condition can cause the uterus to get much bigger than it should be, along with abnormal bleeding and pain.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease : An infection caused by bacteria that starts in the uterus and can spread to other reproductive organs. PID can cause pain in the stomach or pain during sex.
- Cervical stenosis: Narrowing of the cervix, or the opening to the uterus.
- Fibroids : Growths on the inside, outside or in the walls of the uterus
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Other Reasons For Midcycle Cramps
Midcycle pain may be caused by an underlying medical condition. Most of these conditions are affected by the female hormone estrogen, which peaks at ovulation.
Other conditions that may cause midcycle pain include:
- Endometriosis.This condition can also cause painful periods and infertility.
- Uterine fibroids. Other symptoms of fibroids may include heavy menstrual bleeding, painful menstruation, and pelvic pressure.
- Ovarian cysts. Most ovarian cysts are painless, but if the cyst grows very large, it can rupture or cause your ovary to twist around supportive tissues. This is called ovarian torsion and it can result in severe, one-sided pain.
Why Do Some Women Have Way Worse Periods Than Others
All PMS wasnt created equal.
Period pain is realand , not created equal. We all have one friend who hardly notices when Aunt Flo’s in town, and another one who calls into work sick because of bad cramps.
Menstrual cycles varyin length and intensity, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and author of V Is for Vagina. We have a couple of benchmarks that we often give people, she says. The typical cycle, she explains, is between 21 and 35 days, and the typical period is between two and seven.
Some ladies have horrible periods because of a medical condition called endometriosis, says Dweck. It happens when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of itand there are about 176 million cases of it worldwide. But otherwise healthy women can have worse-than-normal cycles, too.
Here, six reasons your period could be lighteror heavierthan your girlfriends.
1. Your Diet StinksSo you fell off the wagon for a few monthsit happens. But a lousy diet doesnt just affect the scale. If women have a few months where their diet is really bad, that can alter menstrual flow, says Dweck. One study of school-aged girls found that students who ate more junk food also suffered from more premenstrual symptoms. Other research demonstrates that good-for-you nutrientslike omega-3s and calciumreduce period pains.
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Recognizing Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder
Up to 8% of women may have a more severe type of PMS thats called premenstrual dysmorphic disorder . The symptoms between PMS and PMDD often overlap, but PMDD is characterized by extreme moodiness, anger, depression, or anxiety.
PMS causes bothersome symptoms, but if you have PMDD, the symptoms may be so severe that they interfere with your relationships and ability to perform your daily responsibilities at home, work, or school.
How Are Cramps After Menopause Diagnosed
If you have cramps after menopause, make an appointment with your primary care doctor or OB-GYN so you can find out whats causing them. Your doctor may do a pelvic exam to look at your uterus to see if there are any physical problems.
You might also need imaging tests to look inside your body at your uterus or ovaries. These tests can include:
- a CT scan
- an MRI scan
- a hysterosonography and hysteroscopy, which involve placing a salt and water solution, or saline, into your uterus so the doctor can examine it more easily
- an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your body
If your doctor suspects you have cancer, you may need to have a procedure to remove a piece of tissue from your uterus or ovaries. This is called a biopsy. A specialist called a pathologist will look at the tissue under a microscope to determine if its cancerous.
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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 .
How To Relieve Period Cramps Fast
Period cramps are so common we might assume they’re just a part of life. About 9 out of 10 women have them. They can be annoying or downright painful, and usually last for a few days. Your doctor might refer to them as “menstrual cramps” – just know we’re talking about the same thing!
Period cramps can feel different for everyone, and you may feel mild to severe pain during your “time of month,” also known as your menstrual cycle. Sometimes, the pain can interrupt your daily routine or just make you feel lousy in general.
Period cramps seem to arrive at the most inconvenient time. If you need to get rid of them fast, here are some quick ways that help women conquer cramps :
- Pain reliever medicine like Ibuprofen or acetaminophen *
- Warm heating pad or compress on the belly
- Warm bath to help increase blood flow and ease pain
- Lying down with a pillow under the knees
- Exercise and stretching
- Rest and relaxation
*Note: Before you take any new medication, read the directions, and take as directed. We recommend you speak with your nurse or doctor if you’re currently on other medicines, have a health condition, or are not sure if this medication is safe for you.
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Types Of Menstrual Cramps
Here are some deeply technical, medical terms, but don’t get scared off. They’ll help us explain why your cramps are mild or severe.
In the medical field, period pain or cramping is referred to as dysmenorrhea.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common type of period cramp, and you usually feel it as a pain in the lower abdomen or lower back.
The other type of cramp is more severe and is called secondary dysmenorrhea. This type of pain often starts later in life, and is usually caused by a condition that affects your uterus or other reproductive organs, such as endometriosis, an inflammatory disease, or uterine fibroids.
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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Why Do Menstrual Cramps Happen
Many women feel discomfort around their lower back, abdomen, and thighs during the menstruating period.
While you are menstruating, the muscles of your womb relax and contract to clean the built-up lining. Mostly, women feel menstrual cramps when their muscles are working. This may also lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.
Researchers are not entirely sure why some females feel cramps while others stay active and healthy. However, some factors lead to excessive pain, including:
Giving birth to first child
Experiencing high blood flow
Being younger or less than the age of 20
Having sensitivity or production of prostaglandins
Why Do Women Get Period Cramps
Menstrual cramps happen because of contractions in the uterus. If it contracts too strongly during your menstrual cycle, it can press against nearby blood vessels. In turn, this briefly cuts off oxygen to the uterus. This lack of oxygen causes pain and cramping. Plus, hormone-like substances trigger muscle contractions. Women with higher levels of prostaglandins typically experience more severe menstrual cramps. Thats one of the reasons why hormone balance is key!
Image by Michelle Nash
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Okay So What Can I Do About These Anal Cramps
As I can personally attest, anal cramps are annoying AF. But they’re thankfully pretty easy to deal with. Dr. Goldstein says taking a walk or a warm bath can help relax the muscles and ease the cramping. Over-the-counter pain killers and supplements like evening primrose oil or magnesium can also help, he saysjust be sure to consult your doctor before starting any new supplements.
He also recommends finding ways to relax the pelvic floor in order to manage anal cramping. “I tell a lot of my clients that the best way is to actually have sex and to play with yourself with toys,” says Dr. Goldstein. Not just because it’s fun, but because stretching out your muscles with things like butt plugs and dilators can help counteract the contraction and stress that can build in the pelvic floor, he says. Even if you have no desire to engage in anal intercourse, he says vaginal sex can also help to relax the pelvic floor.
However, if you’re frequently dealing with anal cramps, Dr. Goldstein recommends talking to your doctor in order to rule out something more serious like anal fissures or hemorrhoids.
For the most part though, this type of cramping is annoying, but pretty benign. If you too get butthole cramps, remember that they’re more common than you think and that you’re not alone. ‘It’s super, super common and normal,” says Dr. Goldstein. “Don’t feel as if you’re singled out.”
What Are Period Cramps
The medical name for period cramps is Dysmenorrhea. They happen due to a hormone-like substance, prostaglandins, which causes the uterus walls to contract and then shed its lining, resulting in your period. If prostaglandin levels are higher, more pain is often associated with the cramps. This varies from woman to woman, but cramps are likely to become less painful as you get older, or after childbirth.
There are a few other conditions that can cause cramps. Treating these conditions will help stop the symptoms. These conditions include:
- Endometriosis: when the lining forms outside of the uterus, for example in the fallopian tubes and can cause a more chronic pain than regular period cramps
- Uterine fibroids which presents as non-cancerous growths on the uterus wall that can sometimes cause pain in the affected area
- Adenomyosis, when the tissue lining the uterus begins to grow into the uterine walls
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of a womans reproductive organs, usually caused by bacteria transmitted through sex
- Cervical stenosis, when the opening of the cervix is smaller and restricts the flow of menstrual blood this can cause a painful increase of pressure in the uterus
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