What are Period Cramps?
Period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, is the sudden pain that you get in the lower abdomen before and during your menstrual period.
Oh, there is nothing more dreadful than the monthly period cramps, but we assure, there’s nothing to fear at all. For most women, the pain though frustrating can be bearable, but for some others, it can get in the way of their daily activities. You must understand that it is important to treat health conditions that cause severe period cramps, while the menstrual cramps without any serious condition tend to reduce with age and often after giving birth.
So, let’s get to the base of what is dysmenorrhea, and why does it happen? Enduring pain without really knowing why menstrual cramps happen may get you a little worked up, leading you to consider a whole lot of reasons. Hence, understanding what happens inside your body that gives you cramps during periods may let you breathe in peace and manage your period with confidence. Read on to find out more!
What are the symptoms of menstrual cramps?
Though these symptoms indicate your usual period cramps, don’t delay seeing a doctor if the painful periods literally prevent you from doing your everyday activities, or the symptoms worsen, or if the pain has suddenly started after the age of 25. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Excruciating pain in the lower abdomen which moves to your lower back and thighs sometimes
- The pain begins 1-3 days before your period and continues to the first day of your period, slowly reducing in intensity
- Along with dysmenorrhea, some women may experience nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, and headache
What causes period cramps?
So, this is what it basically is! During your menstrual cycle, the uterus contracts to shed its lining. The chemicals in your body called prostaglandins trigger the uterus contractions, helping it push out its lining when you’re menstruating. Higher levels of prostaglandins are associated with unbearable stomach pain during periods. Some health conditions that worsen dysmenorrhea include –
What do period cramps feel like?
Your uterus is a muscle and while contracting and relaxing, the pain may feel sharp, a pain similar to the tightening or aching of a muscle or a pain that can be related to a stomach ache. We know it hurts! Having said that, dysmenorrhea can be uncomfortable but not something that should keep you away from school or work, and if it does, it is best to consult your doctor.
When do we get period cramps?
Menstrual cramps tend to begin 2-3 days before your period, are at their peak during the first two days of your period, and subside as your period continues.The intensity of your menstrual cramps and your period symptoms, in general, will vary from month to month.
Home remedies for dysmenorrhea
If your menstrual cramps are quite severe, getting you on the verge of crying, ask your parents or a doctor for the option of an over-the-counter pain killer. Alternatively, here are a few home remedies you can try for significant period cramp relief.
- Placing a hot water bottle or a heating pad on your stomach will relieve you of the menstrual pain
- Staying hydrated is important. Drink as many fluids such as coconut water that offer considerable relief from menstrual cramps
- Eating right is key to alleviating your period cramps. Reducing salt intake and inflammatory food will help combat dysmenorrhea, at the same time including herbs, vitamin supplements and chamomile tea amongst many other such options will help relieve painful periods by relaxing the uterus
- Moderate exercising such as brisk walking, yoga, and a few mild stretches have been known to benefit women with period cramps
- Avoiding stress and taking sufficient rest is necessary, as stress does have an impact on your body resulting in increased pain during the period
- Preventive measures like avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco in the days of your period and those leading up to, will reduce the symptoms of menstrual cramps
Now that you are well aware of what happens during your menstrual cycle, there is little to worry about the annoying period cramps and overthinking of potential underlying health conditions. Remember, stressing adds to the existing menstrual pain, impacting your body. There is however no need to endure in silence. In case of unbearable dysmenorrhea, you must visit your doctor and get treated for any conditions responsible for your menstrual cramps.