Pms And Painful Periods
Its not uncommon to have the discomfort of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, around the time of your period. More than 50 percent of women who menstruate say they have some kind of pain one to two days each month. During your period, hormone-like substances cause your uterus to contract so it can shed its lining. This contraction is what causes cramping.
Pain and other symptoms, such as nausea, constipation and diarrhea, can occur before your period starts. Additionally, you may have emotional discomfort before your period, including anxiety, depressed mood, irritability and moodiness. These symptoms usually dissipate after your period begins.
This cyclical timing helps distinguish PMS from other conditions. But while some pain during periods is common, if over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen is ineffective and your symptoms prevent you from doing regular daily activities, its time to talk with your doctor.
Your Life Is Disrupted
If your period pain is so bad that you need to call off work on a regular basis, you should speak to your doctor. The condition is not rare. But its not normal, either.
Depending on which study you look at, between 5% and 20% of women experience painful periods that interfere with their daily life.
Some countries offer a couple days off every month for menstruation. Dont misconstrue this for saying that menstruation should be so painful that you cant come to work. The issue is more complex than that. Its not even clear whether these laws are good or bad.
In 2013, Russian lawmaker Mikhail Degtyaryov proposed that Russia should offer days off for menstruation. He argued that sometimes the “pain for the fair sex is often so intense that it is necessary to call an ambulance. Not exactly a realistic portrayal of menstruation.
If your pain is bad enough to call an ambulance, please call one. Those aren’t period cramps. Something much more serious is going on. In a more likely scenario, if your pain is bad enough to regularly miss work or school, make an appointment to speak to your doctor.
Uterine Fibroids: A Monthly Period Nightmare For Some
As many as three out of four women will develop uterine fibroids, but most will not experience any symptoms. Fibroids range in size from microscopic to large enough to distort the shape of the uterus.
Uterine fibroids can turn monthly menses into a monthly nightmare by increasing not only the amount of bleeding, but the severity of period pain, says Lauren Streicher, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and the author of Love Sex Again. The reason behind the pain is that the uterus during the period must contract to expel the large blood clots that often result from heavy bleeding,” says Dr. Streicher. Fortunately, fibroids do not put women at increased risk of uterine cancer and very rarely become cancerous.
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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.
Are Your Periods Getting Heavier Or More Painful
Now, if you told me that your periods were getting heavier and heavier or not heavier but more and more painful, I would begin to think that as each period got worse, there was something going on. So a woman who said, “I just had one of the worst periods of my life.” I’d think, “Fine.” If you said, “My periods are getting worse and worse,” I’d think of two conditions:
So for women who are having really bad periods but they’re getting worse and worse and worse, we have very good therapy for periods, but we may need to do a little investigation. If it’s just the worst period of your life and it’s only this one, it’s probably not going to be so bad next time. And the good news is you’re probably normal.
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The Most Common Causes Of Menstruation Cramps Before Period
Besides basic PMS cramping, there are all sorts of reasons you might end up feeling stomach cramps before periods. These conditions can range from reproductive problems to pregnancy. Some of them are quick and easy to treat while others may require more extensive care.
In some cases, the pain in your abdomen might be unrelated to your menstrual cycle. If you have a urinary tract infection or bladder infection, you may be feeling cramp-like pain in your lower abdomen. With UTIs, you tend to also have a fever and pain when urinating. Cramping sensations can also be caused by constipation, stomach flu, and food poisoning. In these cases, your cramping is usually accompanied by strange bowel movements and possibly vomiting.
Another potential cause of stomach cramps before periods is an ovarian cyst. Ovaries grow cyst-like structures every month when releasing an egg. However, the cyst sometimes sticks around after ovulation. It can grow larger and eventually cause pelvic pain and abdominal bloating. Growths can also develop on the uterine wall. Called fibroids, these are associated with cramping, heavy bleeding, and pelvic pain.
You may be able to identify these other conditions just by learning about their symptoms. However, many types of reproductive disorders have very subtle symptoms. You will typically need help from a female or male gynecologist South Florida to get a diagnosis.
You Have Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where eating gluten causes serious damage to the small intestine.
Many health care practitioners dont realize that the symptoms of celiac disease can vary, so many people go undiagnosed. In fact, less than half of people with celiac disease have the classic symptoms of GI pain and diarrhea.
Skin rashes, neurological symptoms, fatigue, painful sex and menstrual pain can all be clues that you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Remember, anything that causes inflammation in the gut will cause inflammation in the rest of your body!
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You Bleed Through A Pad Or Tampon In An Hour Or Less Your Period Lasts Longer Than Seven Days Or Both
The medical term for an exceedingly heavy or long period is menorrhagia. Menorrhagia affects more than 10 million American women each year, or about one in five, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
These are basically periods that would fit right into a scary movie, but some people dont even realize this kind of bleeding isnt normal. One of the biggest problems is someone being so used to heavy bleeding that she underplays the amount, Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. Shell come in and say her periods arent too bad, then say she has to change her tampon every hour.
One huge sign you may be dealing with menorrhagia: Passing period clots larger than a quarter, according to the CDC. While thats technically a good sign that your bodys clotting mechanism is trying to prevent you from losing too much blood, it also indicates that youre still passing much more blood than you should, as SELF previously reported. Even if your clots arent that big, soaking through a tampon or pad in an hour or less is a tip-off that your bleeding is too heavy and intense. Bleeding for more than seven days is another period problem that points at menorrhagia, the CDC notes.
How To Treat Menstruation Cramps Before Period
For typical period cramps and PMS cramps, a safe remedy is an over-the-counter painkiller. This can help dull the pain or make it go away entirely. Many women also find that a warm heating pad or hot bath helps to relax the muscles. Some research has also found cramping can be linked to certain nutritional deficiencies. Make sure you get plenty of water and magnesium in the days leading up to your period.
If you are getting cramps outside of your normal period and PMS, the best gynecological treatment will be identifying the underlying cause of the issue. There are all sorts of diagnostic tests available for abnormal menstrual cramps. You can start by taking a pregnancy test at home to see whether the cramps are caused by pregnancy. To identify problems like a UTI, your doctor may need to test the area for bacteria. Cysts can be seen with imaging tests like an ultrasound or an MRI. Issues like endometriosis may need exploratory surgery to diagnose.
Once your doctor helps you figure out what is wrong, you can move on to treating it. For infections, a round of antibiotics could resolve the cramping for good. Hormonal contraceptives can help with many of the symptoms associated with ovarian cysts and endometriosis. However, some women may need surgery to completely solve the problem.
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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 Are Treatments For Severe Period Pain
If your period pain is primary dysmenorrhea and you need medical treatment, your health care provider might suggest using hormonal birth control, such as the pill, patch, ring, or IUD. Another treatment option might be prescription pain relievers.
If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, your treatment depends upon the condition that is causing the problem. In some cases, you may need surgery.
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Important Questions To Ask Yourself
To find out if you need extra help, Dr Manwaring recommends you ask yourself these five questions:
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, talk to a trusted doctor about your painful periods.
Pain, heavy bleeding or other factors regarding your period that get in the way of you going about your life shouldn’t be suffered in silence.
If you’re finding your period hard to manage, you don’t need to go it alone. Help and effective treatments are available.
Your Gut Isnt Healthy
Okay, this is a BIG one. The health of your GI tract is so intricately linked to the rest of your body . Practically every patient who comes to me with chronic health issues has some degree of imbalance in their digestive system.
When our guts are healthy, good things happen for us. We absorb our nutrients. Our friendly gut bacteria help us detoxify estrogen and reduce inflammation. Our hormonal systems are balanced. All good things!
But when our guts are not healthy, it sets the stage for all of the things that we dont want. Our metabolism doesnt work right. We become full of inflammation. Our immune system is imbalanced and we can develop autoimmunity. It can ruin our thyroid function. We cant get rid of excess estrogen. We cant absorb the nutrients we need. And the list goes on.
More specifically, when the bacteria and other microbes in our gut are out of balance, there are some key factors that directly contribute to period pain. Unfriendly bacteria have something called lipopolysaccharide on their outer surface. LPS is, by far, one of the most toxic and irritating substances known to the human body. And when the gut isnt healthy, LPS can move across the gut barrier and get into the bloodstream.
This creates a cascade of inflammation, revs up the immune system, blocks detoxification, and can specifically cause pelvic pain. In my practice, Ive been able to link LPS with headaches, acne, and a host of other chronic conditions.
Dont get me wrong!
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Symptoms Associated With Painful Periods
The main symptom associated with primary dysmenorrhoea is cramping pain in your lower abdomen . The pain can also spread to your lower back and your thighs.
As well as pain, you might have some other symptoms before or during your period, such as:
- feeling sick or being sick
- unusual discharge from your vagina
- sex may be painful, and you may bleed afterwards
These symptoms may be caused by problems other than painful periods. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your GP for advice.
How Do I Know Whats Causing Them
If you have very painful menstrual cramps or cramps that last longer than two or three days, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Depending on your other symptoms, they may recommend additional tests, including:
- an ultrasound to check the size and thickness of your uterus as well as detect fibroids or cysts
- a CT scan, which can provide a detailed view of your reproductive organs
- gynecologic laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, to confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis
Severe menstrual cramps are typically hard to treat on your own, but these tips may help while you work with your healthcare provider to narrow down an underlying cause:
- Get regular exercise. Results of a
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