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HOWUKNOW BLOG

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.

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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 .

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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.
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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.

 

References

1. https://medlineplus.gov/periodpain.html.
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menstrual-cramps/symptoms-causes/syc-20374938.
3. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/menstrual-cramp-remedies
4. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/menstrual-cramp-remedies
5. https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2017/10/period-pain.php.