Period cramps are the throbbing pain you feel in the lower abdomen before or during your menstrual period. This is common and considered a normal part in most women during their monthly period. The pain usually comes in intense spasms or can sometimes be dull but more constant. The pain could also vary each period. Sometimes it causes little to no pain, while at other times leaves you lying on your bed all day because of the intense pain you are feeling.
When the uterus sheds it lining once a month, that is when menstruation occurs. And during menstruation, the muscular wall of the uterus tightens and causes contractions. When the uterus contracts, it compresses the blood vessels and temporarily cuts off the blood and oxygen supply to the uterus which then releases chemicals that triggers pain. While these pain-triggering chemicals are being released, another chemical called prostaglandins is being produced by the body. These encourages the uterus to contract more and increases the level of pain.
The pain that comes with your monthly period or menstruation is also called dysmenorrhea. There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is the pain that occurs during and before menstruation. While secondary dysmenorrhea are the painful period cramps you get later in life after having normal periods.
Painful period cramps or dysmenorrhea could also be a result of other underlying medication, such as:
- Premenstrual syndrome, or commonly known as PMS
Premenstrual syndrome or PMS affects most women. Over 90% of women get PMS in varying signs and symptoms. Symptoms are experienced a week or two before their period. Sometimes PMS prevents women from doing their usual daily activities due to the severity of symptoms they experience. Usually, PMS is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that many women experience every month. Research shows that PMS happens because of raging hormones during ovulation. And PMS goes away after a few days after menstruation when hormone levels start to rise again.
Endometriosis is a condition that affects the uterus. This happens when the tissue lining of the uterus called endometrial tissue, grows in other places outside the uterus like the ovaries, pelvic area, or the bowel. Endometriosis causes pain especially during menstrual period. Fertility problems could also arise along with this condition.
- Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids, also known as myomas, uterine myomas or fibroid myomas and fibromas, are the abnormal noncancerous growth that develops in a woman’s uterus. These tumors can cause severe abdominal pain and heavy periods especially when they become quite big. Fibroids have lower risk of developing into cancer as they are typically benign. Although most women don’t have any symptoms and may never know they have fibroids, about 80% of these women have them by the age of 50.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection in the reproductive organ of a woman and is usually caused by a sexually transmitted disease or infection. The organs that get affected by PID includes the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. PID can damage these parts of your reproductive organs, ang make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant.
- Cervical stenosis
This is a rare condition where the cervix is narrow and small that it causes the menstrual flow slow, increasing the pressure inside the uterus and causes pain. Cervical stenosis often causes no symptoms and is usually a result of another disorder, such as cervical cancer.
Adenomyosis is a condition where the inner lining of the uterus grows into the uterine wall, enlarging the uterus, causing it to double or triple in size. Adenomyosis also causes menstrual cramps, lower abdominal pressure, and bloating before menstrual periods and can result to painful and heavy periods.
Some of the period pains are also caused by contraceptive devices, such as an intrauterine device (IUD). This is a type of contraception that is inserted inside the uterus. The main purpose of an IUD is to prevent a woman from getting pregnant, but it can also sometimes cause period pain especially during the first few months after it is inserted.
Although period pains are common in most woman, it is still important that you consult your gynecologist especially if start to develop severe period pain from your normal pattern of menstrual period, or if you suddenly experience heavier than usual or irregular period.
If you are around Brooklyn, you may want to check out Doral Health and Wellness – Women’s Health Center. We have the best gynecologist that treats women with gyn problems. We provide women with quality health care services. Our specialists aim to deliver the highest quality of healthcare. To book an appointment, you can visit us 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York or call us at 347-955-3465. You can also visit our website at http://www.gynecologistbrooklyn.com/