Menstrual cramps are throbbing pains in the lower abdomen. This occurs only in women, before or during their period. In some women it is not that severe but for others, it can be extreme. This usually begins 1 to 2 days before menstruation and can sometimes last 3 to 4 days.
Symptoms of Menstrual Cramps
- Pain in the lower abdomen: During menstruation you can feel pains in the lower abdomen. This is severe in some women, but in others, it is not much of a big deal.
- Pain in the hips: There can also be pain radiating from your lower back to your thighs and the hips.
- There is sometimes a dull and constant ache.
In some cases, women experience the following:
- Loose bowels
Causes of Menstrual Cramps
During your period, the womb contracts to help expel its lining. Prostaglandins are chemicals that form in the lining of the uterus during menstruation. They cause muscle contractions and cramps that are similar to labor pains.
Risk Factors That contribute to menstrual cramps
You might be at risk of menstrual cramps if
- When you start puberty early, there is a high chance you might suffer from cramps.
- People who have never given birth also mostly have cramps during their periods
- Menorrhagia or heavy bleeding.
- People who have abnormal cycles might also be at risk.
There are also other causes of cramps. These are:
- Uterine Fibroids- the growth of tumors in the womb causes pain during menstruation.
- Adenomyosis- The tissue that lines the uterus grows into the muscular walls of the uterus.
- Cervical stenosis- The opening of the cervix is small and limits menstrual flow.
- Endometriosis- The tissue that lines the uterus develops outside the uterus.
How to Deal with Menstrual Cramps
- Exercise – Exercise helps the body in many ways. Some exercises particularly yoga can help ease the pain.
- Heat – In most cases, women who experience cramps like to use warmth to ease their pain. They use heat pads and microwavable warmth. It is said that the heat does reduce constriction of blood vessels and improving blood flow to the uterus.
- Dietary supplements – Some people like to use natural dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium may reduce period pain.
- Avoid Stress – It is good to have enough rest or relaxation in order to help keep the body functioning well. A good massage can also help reduce pain when in your period.
Menstrual cramps does not have any harmful effects on the body but the pain can sometimes be unbearable. It can prevent you from doing anything for about 2 to 4 days.