What are Menstrual Cramps and How to Get Relief from It?

If you are a woman and have been going through the menstrual cramps, you will understand how difficult it would be to handle the situation. Why do the menstrual cramps happen and how to get relief from it? Let us check out the causes for menstrual cramps and the techniques to reduce the occurrence of menstrual cramps in a finer detail.

What are Menstrual Cramps?

The menstrual cramps, as the name itself should be indicative enough, is the pain that a woman will experience when she is going through her periods. Under standard conditions, the pain will be in the pelvic and abdominal regions. You may experience the pains during menstruation or at the time while you are ovulating.

menstrual cramps
Please note that the menstrual cramps are entirely different from the PMS or Postmenopausal syndromes you may experience when you stop having periods. Of course, if you are approaching the age of menopause, you may experience both PMS related discomfort and menstrual cramps. The severity of the cramps can range depending on the individual cases. While in some cases, the cramps and associated pain can be much severe, it may be quite mild in some other cases. If they are mild enough, you may not experience it at all or even if you do – the duration can be much short. However, in case it is severe, it may disrupt a woman’s day to day activities in addition to making them quite moody and disturbed. It may even result in depressions among women.

Does It Affect Every Woman?

Well, not necessarily. The menstrual cramps may not affect every woman in her reproductory age. Even then it may be safely estimated that the menstrual cramps affects almost 50 per cent of women. The cases are severe and most common in the premenstrual days or early menstruation years. In fact, almost 90 per cent of the adolescent girls experience severe menstrual cramps.

What Causes Menstrual Cramps?

o understand what causes menstrual cramps, you need to understand the menstruation cycle and the changes that take place in a woman’s body when she menstruates. The uterus builds an inner lining in anticipation of the upcoming pregnancy. Once the ovulation occurs and no fertilisation happens, this lining will no more be required. The estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline and this further causes the lining to get swollen and eventually discarded as the menstrual flow. The lining is replaced by a new lining for the next menstrual cycle.

When the lining commences breaking, muscles of the uterus begin to contract. This contraction can constrict the blood supply to the endometrium. This can further cause destruction and eventual expelling of the endometrium. You will also find the release of other chemicals like leukotrienes. All these issues together will cause the inflammation and ultimately the menstrual cramps.

The menstrual cramps can be more severe if the cervical canal of a woman is narrower. The severity of the cramps can depend upon the levels of the molecular compounds called prostaglandin in a woman’s body. A high level of these compounds can cause an increased symptom of menstrual cramps, while those women who have less of these compounds would have no cramps or quite a low level of cramps.

The Exact Reasons for the Menstrual Cramps

Based on the above discussions, the major reasons that would cause menstrual cramps to include the following –

  • Unusually canal can cause constricted movement and thus induce acute menstrual cramps.
  • Another major cause that can cause the issue can be a retroverted uterus. In this case, the uterus is tilted towards the back instead of forward.
  • Lack of exercise and a laidback style can be one of the reasons for the severe menstrual cramps.
  • Psychological reasons can also be one of the reasons that can aggravate the occurrence of menstrual cramps.
  • If you have uterine fibroids, it may also be one of the reasons for the severe cases of menstrual cramps.

The menstrual cramps can begin from the pelvic region and then move to the abdomen. This can further move to the lower back and even to your legs. In some cases, it may also extend to up to the inner thighs as well. The pains can be continuous in nature or even be periodic.

They can begin before the menstruation begins, attain a peak during the 24 hours of the onset and then the intensity reduces over a day or two. The menstrual cramps can also bring about a few other health issues like nausea and headaches. A few other health conditions that can accompany include constipation, diarrhoea and an increased urge for urinating.

How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps?

You can consume the anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen can provide a good relief for most of the issues you may be facing. However, the exact remedy for menstrual cramp relief would vary depending upon individual cases.

The most important remedy for the menstrual cramps can be taking enough rest and sleep. You can also indulge in an adequate amount of exercises. You can opt for simple exercises like walking or slow running. A few other remedial measures include abdominal massage, Yoga or even an orgasmic sexual activity.

A number of over the counter drugs can also be helpful enough. Medications like aspirin or acetaminophen can be a good remedy. You can even consider NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be one of the good options. Some examples can be ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and ketoprofen. If the cramps tend to be severe, you may need to opt for birth control pills or other options that increase the level of estrogen and progesterone.

Do You Need to Take any Extra Care?

Well, yes. If the menstrual cramps tend to be chronic or extremely severe in nature. Cases of endometriosis can be one of the severe cases of menstrual cramps. In fact, this condition has nothing to do with the menstrual cramps but involves the growth of the tissues like endometrium. Such cases may need addressing it in an urgency.

Except for the serious issues like the one we just mentioned, menstrual cramps can be treated with ease using the remedies we suggested in the above discussion. It isn’t a serious concern and you should be able to find relief if you manage enough exercises, rest and sleep.

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