PERIOD PAIN: WHAT CAUSES IT AND TREATMENTS TO HELP EASE THE MENSTRUAL PAIN
Posted on: May 24, 2022
It’s that pesky time of the month again - aunt flow has come for an unwanted visit. As women, having your period may be normal but it does not hurt less for the unlucky ones who have to suffer through the heavy cramps of period pain.
Every woman is different - some have heavy cramps, while some have light ones or even, little to none at all. So, here are the causes of period pain and some remedies that can help you ease it out.
1. What causes painful period pain & menstrual cramps?
Did you know, painful period cramps are called dysmenorrhea? And there are two types to this - primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is a common type of pain which is not caused by any other existing condition - it usually is because of excess prostaglandins, which are chemicals made by your uterus that causes your uterus to tighten and relax, which in turn, gives you period pain symptoms.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is something that you may get when you are older. It is often caused by conditions that affect your uterus or reproductive organs. This can include endometriosis and uterine fibroids 1 .
Additionally, severe menstrual pain or cramps can also be caused by adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or cervical stenosis 2 . As your muscles contract, you may also feel discomfort in your lower back and thighs too 3 .
But don’t compare your pain to the pain of others because factors such as heavy menstrual flow, birthing your first child, age, or sensitivity to prostaglandins, can influence your level of period pain 4 .
2. How to relieve or stop period pain
Now, let’s talk about remedies and how to reduce period pain. Here are some things you can do for period pain relief:
- Get your yoga on: We know you may not feel like exercising during your period, but stretching your muscles and the relaxing effect of yoga can help with menstrual cramps relief. A study conducted showed that 20 students had less menstrual cramping and distress when they had an hour-long yoga session once a week for three months.
- Use a heating pad: This is one of the most common remedies that many use. Applying heat to your uterus actually helps relax the muscles. You can also use the heating pad on your back too.
- Hydrate yourself: Drink six to eight glasses of water per day as this can help with bloating, which usually aggravates period pain.
- Give yourself a massage: Massaging your abdomen may help relax the pelvic muscles and help ease menstrual cramps. You can use a massage oil or lotion to do this.
- Try out essential oils: Essential oils have been all the hype in recent years and with good reason. Rosemary, Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, and Peppermint are said to help manage period cramps when you massage your abdomen with it.
- Get over-the-counter medication: There are pain killer pills that can help alleviate pain such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which are common medicines for period pain. Just ask a pharmacist to ensure you take the right dosage.
3. Should you go see a doctor for your period pain?
Now, there can be a time that you may need medical help for painful menstrual cramps as it could indicate an underlying issue.
Here are some indicators that you may need to see a doctor 5 :
- Your flow has suddenly changed and your menstrual cramps are getting worse.
- If you have taken pain management medication and your period cramps are still severe.
- If the pain radiates into the back or down your leg.
- If your period becomes irregular or heavier than usual.
Remember, there is no shame in seeking help for issues such as menstrual cramps or painful period cramps but we hope we gave you some period pain relief with these tips.
Period Pain and Its Risk Factors
Although period pain might sound general and can affect any woman, there are factors that would reduce the risk of severe menstrual cramps. The people that have less risk of painful period cramps are:
- Older women
- Have more experience in giving birth
- Women that use birth control pills
However, there are also people that have a higher risk of getting painful menstrual periods which are:
- Experiencing severe stress
- Younger women (under 30 years old and even before the age of 20)
- Women with heavy periods
- Family history of period pain
There are also other factors that can cause menstrual cramps, which are:
- Have been sexually abused previously
How Period Pain Happens?
Menstruation occurs about every 28 days from puberty until menopause. When it happens, uterine muscles contract and relax in an erratic pattern. These movements help the womb eliminate unwanted tissue and discharge menstrual fluid. These contractions are faced by everyone, but some people do not notice them.
Meanwhile, for others, the discomfort can be severe, and they suffer severe menstrual cramps. Some people may also feel nausea, vomiting, and various other symptoms. The hormone-like compounds that cause menstrual pain are called prostaglandins. They form in the lining of the uterus.
Period Pain Treatment and Medicine in Malaysia that You Should Know
Some medicine can be a great period pain solution that helps in reducing menstrual cramps. One example of a menstrual pain killer is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Some products also combine NSAIDs and antiprostaglandins that can help to relieve menstrual cramps, prevent heavy bleeding and reduce uneasiness.
Doctors may also prescribe hormonal birth contraception pills to reduce period pain. These pills work in preventing ovulation, which can lessen the severity of menstruation cramps. These pills function in thinning the uterine lining, where the prostaglandins form. This can help in reducing cramps and heavy blood flow.
Different types of hormonal contraception can also help to reduce crampings, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), vaginal rings, patches and injections. However, if the painful period cramps are caused by other health problems such as endometriosis and fibroids, a doctor may advise doing surgery to remove the unwanted tissue.
Treat Your Menstrual Pain & Cramps Early!
By trying to treat your period pains, you are actually helping yourself to get an early diagnosis. Painful menstrual periods might be a sign of serious health problems. Other than endometriosis and fibroids, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and Cervical Stenosis can also be the reason for severe menstrual cramps.
Getting an early diagnosis can help you to understand your condition better. By this, you can also decide which treatment to get to treat your problem according to your doctor’s advice.