Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramp is a painful sensation affecting women before the beginning of periods. The pain lasts for the entire menstrual period of 5-7 days in most women. Menstrual pain is also referred to as dysmenorrhoea. It can be mild to severe and most women experience pain at the starting of ovulation itself.

When the eggs are released from the ovaries, the pain commences. The pain mostly starts in the lower abdomen and back. The pain begins one or two days before menstruation commences and lasts until the second or fourth day.

Menstrual cramps are extremely uncomfortable and tend to affect girls in the first one to two years of getting their period. Although the pain is extremely severe in the initial stages, the pain subsides with time. In many women, the menstrual cramps may completely disappear after having the first baby.

The cramping may sometimes result from an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or even uterine fibroids. If the cramping is caused due to this reason, it is referred to as secondary dysmenorrhea.

Symptoms

Menstrual cramps may be mild, while some may last for a long time. The cramping may feel like a throbbing pain around the lower abdomen. The pain may also be felt across the pelvic region.

The prominent symptoms of menstrual cramps include the following

  • Sweating
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in lower back and thighs

The symptoms go away after some time but if the pain persists even after the age of 25 years, it is advisable to see a doctor.

Causes

If the sperm doesn’t fertilize the eggs, the uterus begins to shed its lining around the 28th day of the menstrual cycle after being triggered by hormones like prostaglandins.

Prostaglandin is responsible for the uterine lining restoration during the menstruation process. Prostaglandin causes muscle contractions which eventually leads to cramping. The cramping may feel somewhat like labor pains, and may also lead to diarrhea and nausea in many cases.

The contractions promoted by prostaglandin promote blood flow across the uterine lining or endometrium. Moreover the high levels of leukotriene released during menstruation may also lead to cramping.

Treatment

Some of the home remedies that can help to ease menstrual pain include

  • Heated pads application
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Herbs and dietary supplements like fennel, and lavender.