When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Menstrual 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.
An Easy Way To Relieve Breast Pain
An iodine supplement or consuming iodine-rich foods can help resolve your breast pain within a matter of weeks in many cases.
It is SUPER important to understand that if you have Hashimotos/autoimmune thyroiditis or youre on thyroid medication, be very cautious with iodine because it may worsen the autoimmune impact on your thyroid, especially in the case of selenium deficiency. Please consult your doctor before adding in iodine-rich foods or supplements and if you choose to add them in, I recommend doing it under medical supervision.
If youre unsure about your thyroid health, I recommend getting a full thyroid panel done to get a complete picture of how your thyroid is performing. The Thyroid Plus Test from Lets Get Checked is a great at home thyroid test you can take. Be sure to use code Hormones20 to get 20% off the price of the test.
I explain more about thyroid testing in this post and include the functional/optimal ranges for your test results.
Here are three ways you can get more iodine. I suggest trying one at a time to see if it works.
#1 Dietary iodine
#2 Iodine Supplementation
When it comes to supplementing, it appears that molecular iodine works best for breast pain and swelling. There is a brand of iodine called Violet Iodine specifically marketed for reducing all the breast troubles one might experience during the premenstrual phase of their cycle.
#3 Rub iodine onto your breasts
Why Is The First Day Of My Period So Painful
Here are a some things that can help ease cramps:
Over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen . Always follow the instructions on the bottle. Talk with your doctor before taking pain medication if you have an allergy to aspirin or severe asthma.
Hormonal birth control .
Acupuncture and acupressure.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation therapy that uses mild electric currents to stimulate your nerves to relieve pain.
Certain vitamins and herbs like vitamin B1, fish oil, fenugreek, ginger, valerian, zataria, and zinc sulfate.
Cramps are a pretty normal part of getting your period, but sometimes people have period cramps that are so painful its hard to do everyday things . If your period pain is really bad, and over-the-counter medicine doesnt help, talk with your doctor. They can help with other ways to manage the pain, or they may want to check to see if theres something more serious going on.
Cramps that are really bad may be a sign of:
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease an infection in your reproductive organs.
Endometriosis a condition where the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus.
Adenomyosis when the tissue that lines your uterus grows into the muscle wall of your uterus.
Uterine fibroids non-cancerous tumors that grow inside your uterus, in the walls of your uterus, or on the outside of your uterus.
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What Causes Painful Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps happen when a chemical called prostaglandin makes the uterus contract . The uterus, the muscular organ where a fetus grows, contracts throughout your menstrual cycle. During menstruation, the uterus contracts more strongly. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to muscle tissue. You feel pain when part of the muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.
The Normal Causes Of Period Pain
During your menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus builds up with blood and tissue in preparation for pregnancy. If you dont get pregnant, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop, triggering your period and shedding of the lining of your uterus.
During your period, the muscles in your uterus tighten to help shed the blood and tissue. When your uterus contracts, it cuts off blood supply and oxygen to your uterus. When deprived of oxygen, your uterus releases chemicals that trigger the pain sensation.
Your body also releases hormones called prostaglandins that increase uterine contractions and may worsen your pain. This type of period pain usually occurs during the first two days of your period.
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Facts About Period Pain
If you have dysmenorrhoea you are not alone. Around 80% of women experience period pain at some stage in their lifetime. You can suffer from period pain from your early teens right up to the menopause. Most women experience some discomfort during menstruation, especially on the first day. But in 5% to 10% of women the pain is severe enough to disrupt their life. If your mother suffered period pains, you are more likely to suffer too. In 40% of women, period pain is accompanied by premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, tender breasts, swollen stomach, lack of concentration, mood swings, clumsiness and tiredness.
There are two different types of period pain:
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You Have High Insulin Levels
Insulin increases arachidonic acid, the precursor to the inflammatory prostaglandins that cause menstrual pain. Insulin also promotes clotting and can interfere with ovulation.
How do you know if your insulin levels are too high? Ask your doctor to order a fasting insulin test for you. Your fasting insulin level should be no higher than 8, but I really like to see it 6 or less.
If your insulin is too high, you need to start making changes like cutting sugar out of your diet and emphasizing vegetables, protein and healthy fats. Exercise, especially resistance exercise like weightlifting, is crucial for lowering your insulin levels. Also be sure to get 8 hours of sleep each night: Just one night of sleep deprivation can promote insulin resistance!
Signs and symptoms of imbalanced blood sugar and insulin resistance include:
- Energy crashes or sleepiness after meals
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.
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You Have Random Pelvic Pain
Pelvic discomfort just before your period and during the first few days of your period can be normal. You may also experience some sensitivity around ovulation. But if you have pelvic pain at other times during your cycle, that may signal a problem.
Another possible sign your cramps arent normal is if you experience pain during sex. Some causes of painful sex are also responsible for abnormally bad period cramps.
If severe cramping is accompanied by fever, vomiting, dizziness, unusual vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, or if the pain is especially severe, call your healthcare provider immediately.
What Can Period Pain Be Compared To
Period pain is so painful that experts liken it to the agony of a heart attack. Women who experience it have said that it can interfere with their daily lives. This painful condition is caused by a substance called prostaglandins that is released from the lining of the uterus. The pain can be felt throughout the pelvic region, hips, thighs, and lower back.
While the intensity of the pain varies between women, it is generally a sharp, stabbing pain. The pain can also radiate to the lower back and upper legs. Unlike a stomach ache, period pain usually begins the day before the menstruation period begins and lasts a day or two after the menstrual cycle is complete. In some women, the pain may last longer, and it may even indicate a more serious health problem.
In some women, the pain is caused by higher levels of prostaglandins. Other women may have higher levels of prostaglandins due to an underlying reproductive disorder, such as adenomyosis.
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Your Thyroid Is Out Of Whack
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes thyroid hormone, which provides the spark for bodily functions like digestion, generation of body heat, detoxification and ovulation. Every single cell in your body needs thyroid hormone.
The most common thyroid problem is when the gland is underactive, which is called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism interferes with ovulation, which means youll be making less progesterone. And remember that low progesterone promotes inflammation.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can be a symptom of an underactive thyroid. Unfortunately many women with hypothyroidism never get diagnosed because the standard screening test doesnt show the whole picture. I always recommend a complete thyroid panel that includes TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies.
Existing Treatments And The Lack Of Research
Despite the sheer number of women who suffer from severe cramps, the existing treatments are limited. For both endometriosis and dysmenorrhea, patients can dull the symptoms by taking painkillers like ibuprofen, using the pill as contraception, which tends to reduce the flow of the period, or inserting an intrauterine system such as a Mirena.
If endometriosis is causing infertility problems, patients can have surgery to move the extra tissuethough it may well come back again. Symptoms vary hugely from patient to patient, and if less invasive treatments offer no relief, a hysterectomy is another option. Thats far too over-the-top for lots of women, says Guillebaud. But its there at the end as a last resort and some people actually have to have that done. But even a hysterectomy isnt a complete cure, and the pain can persist.
As endometriosis can impair fertility, there is more research on this than on primary dysmenorrhea . For both conditions, doctors are unclear about the triggers, best possible treatments, and why it affects some women but not others.
Legros experience is instructive. Thanks to a previous grant, he and his fellow researchers found that sildenafil can be used to treat dysmenorrhea. We published our results in a high-impact OB-GYN journal and we feel we made a major contribution to treatment that everyday practitioners could use, he says.
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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.
Treatment Of Painful Periods
Any treatment you need will depend on whats causing your painful periods and how severe the pain and symptoms are.
There are treatments that your GP can prescribe for primary dysmenorrhoea. If you have secondary dysmenorrhoea, your doctor will try to find out what condition is causing your symptoms and will discuss your treatment options with you.
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Why Does My Poop Smell So Much
Changes in your eating habits during ovulation may be responsible for particularly smelly stools or changes in the frequency and consistency of your bowel movements.
If you find yourself curled under a blanket with a tub of ice cream, chocolate or a salty snack around that time of the month, it’s likely because your hormones are out of whack.
It is also common to want comfort food if you are experiencing period-related mood changes. In other words, to want a Ben and Jerrys when you feel rubbish!
Once again, hormonal fluctuations are the root cause of these dietary changes. In particular, increased oestrogen levels are associated with cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods, whilst progesterone may be associated with cravings for sweet-beverages.
In another study looking at the eating habits of 42 ovulating women, participants ate on average 250 more calories a day compared to usual, with others eating up to 500 extra calories.
Menstrual Cramps Are Very Common In Fact About 10 In 9 Women Experience Unbearable Cramps Just Before Or During Their Period Cycle
Do you suffer from excruciating pain in the back, abdomen, back, or thigh around the time of your period? Menstrual cramps are very common, in fact, about 10 in 9 women experience unbearable cramps just before or during their period cycle. The pain brings our everyday life to a standstill.Also Read Ayurveda To Boost Immunity: Suffering From A Weak Immune System? Try These Ayurvedic Health Tips
According to gynecological experts, extremely painful periods are called dysmenorrhea but more than 90 percent of women experience pain, cramping, and discomfort around the abdomen region due to uterine cramping.The uterus releases the hormone prostaglandin during menstruation to kick start the process of uterine muscular contraction, informs Dr. Sandeep Chadha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital. Also Read Azoospermia Leads To Infertility In Men, Know All About The Condition
Contractions happen at an immense rate and our body expels clots from the uterus during this time. However, if the pain is unbearable then major issues like fibroids and endometriosis could be to blame, he adds. Also Read Navratri 2021: Top 5 Tips to Follow During Navratri Fasting To Lose Weight | Watch Video
What are the causes of pain?
Some people are just at a higher risk of having painful periods. These risks include:
Being under age 20
Having a family history of painful periods
Having heavy bleeding with periods
Having irregular periods
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Diagnosing And Treating Endometriosis
If you have any of the above symptoms, see your gynecologist. Women with infertility might be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist or a fertility specialist. Some doctors also specialize in pelvic pain and endometriosis.
To confirm a diagnosis, your doctor will likely perform a minimally invasive laparoscopy. During this procedure, a thin, lighted tube will be put into a tiny abdominal incision. This allows your doctor to see your pelvic organs and take a small amount of tissue for biopsy to make a diagnosis.
Often, symptoms can be controlled with medications like birth control pills or leuprolide acetate. Both suppress the pituitary from releasing hormones that make endometriosis grow.
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Things That May Help With Period Cramps
Dealing with menstrual cramps every month can be as frustrating as it is painful. The good news is there are many remedies that might help you relieve period cramps. Its important to remember that these techniques wont always work, especially for chronic conditions, but they can offer relief for mild to moderate period pain.
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Symptoms Of Painful Periods And Heavy Bleeding
Signs and symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding include:
- Bleeding for more than seven days
- Bleeding that soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour for several hours in a row
- Need to use multiple pads to control menstrual flow
- Need to change pads or tampons during the night
- Menstrual flow with blood clots larger than a quarter
- Flooding of clothing and bedsheets with menstrual bleeding
- Symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue and shortness of breath
Symptoms of menstrual pain include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain that starts a few days before the period, worsens during the period, and lasts two to three days after the period ends
- Throbbing or cramping pain in the lower abdomen that can be intense
- Lower back pain during menses
Patients should see their doctors if:
- Their periods stop for more than 60 days
- Their periods become erratic
- They have any vaginal bleeding after menopause
- They suddenly get a fever and feel sick after using tampons