Easing period pains: The request could not be satisfied
PMS Symptoms | How to Relieve Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms
Many people get emotional and have cramps before and during their periods. This is sometimes called PMS. Cramps and PMS are normal and can be treated.
What causes cramps?
Menstrual cramps can be really uncomfortable and painful, but they do happen for a reason. During your period, your uterus contracts — meaning it squeezes or cramps up. This makes the lining come off the walls of your uterus and leave your body. When your uterus cramps up, it’s helping the period blood flow out of your vagina.
Most people get cramps during their periods at some point in their lives. They usually feel like throbbing pains in your lower belly. They can start a couple of days before your period comes, and sometimes continue throughout your period. Cramps are usually worse during the first few days of your period, when your flow is the heaviest.
You can get cramps as soon as you get your first period. Your periods may get more or less painful throughout your life. For many people, cramps become less painful as they grow older.
Menstrual cramps can be painful and irritating, but they’re super common and there are lots of ways to treat them.
What helps with cramps?
Here are a some things that can help ease cramps:
Over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Always follow the instructions on the bottle. Talk with your doctor before taking pain medication if you have an allergy to aspirin or severe asthma.
Putting a heating pad on your belly or lower back.
Taking a hot bath.
Having an orgasm (by yourself or with a partner).
Hormonal birth control (like the pill, patch, ring, implant, and hormonal IUD).
Acupuncture and acupressure.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) — therapy that uses mild electric currents to stimulate your nerves to relieve pain.
Certain vitamins and herbs like vitamin B1, fish oil, fenugreek, ginger, valerian, zataria, and zinc sulfate.
Cramps are a pretty normal part of getting your period, but sometimes people have period cramps that are so painful it’s hard to do everyday things (like go to school or work). If your period pain is really bad, and over-the-counter medicine doesn’t help, talk with your doctor. They can help with other ways to manage the pain, or they may want to check to see if there’s something more serious going on.
Cramps that are really bad may be a sign of:
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease — an infection in your reproductive organs.
Endometriosis — a condition where the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus.
Adenomyosis — when the tissue that lines your uterus grows into the muscle wall of your uterus.
Uterine fibroids — non-cancerous tumors that grow inside your uterus, in the walls of your uterus, or on the outside of your uterus.
Cramps caused by these conditions may start when you’re older. And they might get worse as time passes. They can also last longer than other cramps or last longer than the last day of your period.
If you have super bad cramps that you can’t treat, or other period symptoms that are hard to deal with, call your doctor or local Planned Parenthood health center.
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome — the emotional and physical symptoms that some people feel right before and during their periods. PMS is caused by the hormonal changes that your body goes through during your menstrual cycle.
Some people get PMS every time they have their periods. Others only get PMS every once in a while. You may have all or just some of the common PMS symptoms. And some people don’t get PMS at all.
There are two main kinds of PMS symptoms: the ones that affect you physically and the ones that affect you emotionally.
Physical symptoms of PMS include:
Craving certain foods or being more hungry than usual
Tender, swollen, or sore breasts
Feeling bloated (puffy or full in your stomach)
Gaining a little weight
Swelling in your hands or feet
Aches and pains in your joints or muscles
Feeling more tired than usual or needing more naps
Skin problems, like pimples
Cramps or pain in your belly
Emotional symptoms of PMS include:
Feeling sad, depressed, tense, or anxious
Feeling more irritable or angry than normal
Not feeling very social or wanting to be around people
Having trouble concentrating
Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Changes in your desire to have sex
It’s common to have some of these symptoms and not others. For example, you might have bloating and sore breasts, but not mood swings or skin problems. It may also change from month to month: you could be tired and cranky one month but not the next, or have cramps one month but not the next. It’s different for every person.
In order for a doctor to officially diagnose you with PMS, you need to have PMS symptoms for at least 3 months in a row. They must start in the 5 days before your period and interfere with some of your normal activities, like school, work, or exercise. If you think you may have PMS, keep a record of your period and symptoms each day for at least 2-3 months. You can use a calendar or our app to track your PMS symptoms.
Other conditions, like depression and anxiety, perimenopause, and thyroid disease can act like PMS, so visiting a doctor is the only way to know for sure what’s going on.
Some people have really severe PMS that’s called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD symptoms can be really scary and may include feeling out of control, depressed, having panic attacks, or even feeling suicidal. If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of PMDD, see a doctor as soon as possible.
What I can do to relieve PMS?
Many of the things that help ease cramps can also help with PMS. Here are some different ways to relieve PMS symptoms:
Take over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Always follow the instructions on the bottle. Talk with your doctor before taking pain medication if you have an allergy to aspirin or severe asthma.
Do aerobic exercise, like walking, running, riding a bike, swimming, or any activity that gets your heart rate up. Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes most days of the week) is ideal.
Do breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
Get plenty of rest. Sleeping regularly every night can help with stress, mood changes, and feeling tired or fatigued.
Eat healthy foods like fruits, veggies (especially the leafy green ones), whole grains, and yogurt.
Limit fat, salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Make sure you get enough vitamins in your diet, or take vitamin supplements. If you don’t get enough calcium, take a supplement of 1200 mg of calcium daily. Magnesium and Vitamin E might also help.
Use hormonal birth control (like the pill, patch, ring, implant, and hormonal IUD). Your doctor can help you find a birth control method that can help with PMS.
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How to relieve menstrual cramps, and why they happen
This article is also available in: português, español
Top things to know
Menstrual cramps are most likely caused by an excess of prostaglandins—compounds that are released from the uterine lining as it prepares to be shed. They are a necessary part of the process, but in excess, they cause pain.
Take the edge off with a heat compress and a common anti-inflammatory pain medication, like ibuprofen
For prevention, consider a magnesium supplement. This mineral may be effective in lessening menstrual pain over time, and reducing the need for pain medication.
You’re probably familiar with period cramps: uterine cramps around the time of your period, which are typically felt in the abdomen, back, or thighs. You might also experience pain in the middle of your cycle during ovulation.
Menstrual cramps are very common: In Clue, about 3 in 4 people report experiencing cramps just before or during their period.
Most people first notice menstrual cramps about 6 months to a year after getting their first period (1). At first, they may come and go, and then happen in all or most cycles (as ovulation happens more frequently).
People typically feel their cramps just before or at the time when bleeding begins each cycle. They usually last about one to three days. They may start strong and feel better as the hours pass, or come and go more randomly. Cramps can be barely noticeable, or quite painful or severe (2). 1 in 10 people experience pain levels that can affect their daily activities for 1-3 days each cycle. Moderate to intense pain is more common 2 to 3 years after your first period (menarche) and usually gets better after age 20, or after pregnancy and birth (2).
Menstrual cramps that are severe are usually associated with medical conditions like endometriosis or adenomyosis. Female pain is often overlooked and/or under-treated in comparison to male pain presentation (3). It’s common for a young person suffering from severe menstrual pain not to talk about it with their doctor (4). When it comes to menstrual cramps, it’s important to advocate for yourself and communicate your pain levels to a healthcare provider. Keeping track of your pain with an app, like Clue, can be helpful.
Download Clue to track your menstrual pain.
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Getting familiar with the basics of menstrual cycle-related pain can help you understand if your pain might be something to talk to your healthcare provider about.
So what exactly causes, and relieves, cramps?
What causes period cramps?
Note: Menstrual cramps can be “primary” or “secondary”. Primary dysmenorrhea (the clinical word for painful periods) is pain caused by the period itself. Secondary dysmenorrhea is period pain with another root cause, such as a health condition like endometriosis. This article discusses primary dysmenorrhea.
Menstrual cramps are most likely caused by an excess of prostaglandins—hormone-like compounds that are released from the uterine lining (the endometrium) as it prepares to be shed. Prostaglandins help the uterus contract and relax, so that the endometrium can detach and flow out of your body. They are a necessary part of the process, but in excess, they cause pain if the uterus contracts strongly, blood flow is reduced, and the supply of oxygen to the uterus muscle tissue decreases, causing pain (5).
For most people with period cramps, it’s still unknown what predisposes them, and not others, to painful menstruation. Inflammation may play a role. The production of prostaglandins is related to inflammation, and inflamed tissue tends to produce more prostaglandins (6). People who experience more menstrual pain have also been shown to have higher levels of inflammatory markers in the blood, even after adjustment for factors related to chronic inflammation, like BMI, smoking, and alcohol consumption (7). Inflammation has also been linked to the worsening of other premenstrual symptoms, including mood changes.
People are more likely to have painful periods if they have heavy or long period bleeding, if they started menstruating early in life, or if their periods are irregular (8, 9). Other factors that have been associated with painful periods include smoking, being thin, being younger than 30, having a pelvic infection, and being sterilized (8).
Research done by Clue with Oxford University also found that Clue users with undiagnosed sexually transmitted infections (STIs) were more likely to experience certain premenstrual symptoms, including cramps, than those without STIs (10).
How do I relieve my period cramps?
If your periods are heavy, irregular, or extremely painful, trying to find and treat the cause of your irregularities may be important for your health. Other approaches to relieving cramps, like hormonal birth control, act by preventing the building and shedding of the endometrium.
All methods of cramp relief do at least one of the following:
Limit prostaglandin production
Increase uterine blood flow, or
Treat an underlying condition, like endometriosis
Methods you might try include:
Medication for period cramps
Anti-inflammatory painkillers are an effective way to get relief from period pain (11). NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like ibuprofen, inhibit the production of prostaglandins and inflammation. Other types of over-the counter painkillers may reduce pain, but tend to be less effective for treating menstrual cramps (12). NSAIDs are also used in reducing heavy bleeding (13).
Some people may choose to use hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill or the hormonal IUD, to relieve and prevent menstrual cramps. The synthetic hormones in these methods block ovulation, and/or prevent the typical growth and shedding of the uterine wall. This reduces or eliminates the associated build-up of prostaglandins, muscle contractions and cramps (14).
Heat for period cramps
Your grandmother’s hot water bottle is nothing to scoff at—heat is a low-fi, but tried and true method of relieving pain from menstrual cramps, and it’s cheap and has no side effects. Heat has been shown to be as effective as NSAIDs and aspirin for menstrual cramp pain (15-17).
If you want to copy the regime of one of the studies on heat and cramp relief, try using a “continuous low-level topical heat therapy” from a heated patch, pad, or water bottle.
Transcutaneous nerve stimulation and period cramps
Transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS) is an approved treatment for menstrual cramps. It uses a small machine to deliver low-voltage electrical current to the skin, possibly raising a user’s pain threshold and stimulating the release of the body’s natural endorphins (5).
TENS can also be combined with other methods, like heat and medication.
Diet for period cramps
As more is learned on the relationship between inflammation and period cramps, we may see recommendations for cramp-prevention diets. So far though, the data on this is limited but promising, and there are no formal clinical recommendations.
One clinical trial of 33 women with menstrual pain found that women had less menstrual pain when they followed a low fat-vegetarian diet than when they were taking a placebo dietary supplement pill (18).
A survey of 127 students found that those who reported consuming 3-4 servings of dairy had less menstrual pain than those consumed no dairy at all. This is possibly due to the intake of calcium, and maybe also vitamin D, but more research is needed—a trial on vitamin D found that very high doses were required to make a difference, which some (but not all) practitioners would consider unsafe (19-21).
Deficiency in magnesium, which is associated with anxiety and stress, has also been linked to more intense menstrual cramps (22).
Supplements for period cramps
The evidence for supplements to treat menstrual cramps isn’t well established, but you may find something that works for you if you’re open to experimenting. Check with a nutritionally-trained practitioner before taking a supplement—like any medicine, they can have side effects and interfere with levels of other nutrients in the body. Here are the top-evidenced supplements for period pain:
Ginger, it seems, may be as effective as common painkillers. Two systematic reviews of ginger for menstrual pain found that the root was likely more effective than a placebo for reducing pain (23,24). Clinical trials of more than 100 students with moderate to severe period pain found that pain was similarly reduced in students taking ginger, as students taking the NSAIDs Ibuprofen or mefenamic acid (25,26). One ginger group took 250mg capsules of zintoma ginger extract, from the start of their periods, and then every 6 hours, until their pain was relieved. The other took 1000mg of “ginger rhizome powder” daily (divided over 4X per day) for the first three days of their period.
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Magnesium (and magnesium deficiency) may play an important role for some people in dysmenorrhea (27). A systematic review that included three studies on magnesium found that it was effective in lessening menstrual pain better than a placebo and may be helpful in limiting the need for pain medication (28). Magnesium carries few side effects, but can cause loose stools, so you may need to ease into it. The three studies used different doses of magnesium, so you may want to talk to a practitioner to get a recommendation—our collaborator Lara Briden recommends starting with 300mg taken daily.
Zinc supplementation may be effective for a similar reason as magnesium, but more research is needed (29-32). In a randomized control trial of 120 women, the duration and severity of period cramps was significantly improved in those taking zinc, compared to those taking a placebo (32).
Vitamin B1 has been shown to be effective in reducing period pain. One large trial found that people taking 100 mg daily had less menstrual pain than those taking a placebo (35).
Other dietary supplements have also been researched for a possible role in easing cramps, such as vitamin E, B6, and high doses of vitamin D, as well as agnus castus, and 3+ months of fish oil (1,20,34). Results thus far are promising, or mixed.
Stress and period cramps
Stress relief may help ease period cramps in some people. Preliminary research has found that people with high levels of stress are more than twice as likely to report having painful menstruation (35). Stress during the follicular phase (the first part of the cycle) may be more likely to lead to painful menstruation than stress in the luteal cycle (the second part of the cycle, after ovulation) (35).
Smoking and period cramps
People who smoke have an increased risk of experiencing painful menstrual cramps (36). The risk increases with time, as someone continues smoking. Second-hand smoke has also been shown to increase menstrual cramps (37).
Exercise and period cramps
Exercise can likely help in easing cramps, at least in part by increasing blood flow to the abdomen. A recent meta-analysis of 11 trials found that exercise, including aerobic exercise, stretching, and yoga, is likely to help decrease the intensity of menstrual pain, and may also shorten its duration (38). Exercise can also help in reducing stress, which can contribute to pain. If doing yoga, you might try focusing on poses that stretch and stimulate the abdomen, like the cobra, cat and fish poses (39).
Sex and period cramps
There is antecdotal evidence that sex and orgasms can help with menstrual cramp relief.
Subjects of sex research pioneers Masters and Johnson reported using masturbation to relieve their cramps, and a survey of American women found that 1 in 10 reported the same (40). If exercise and TENS machines work in part by releasing endorphins and increasing blood flow, it’s plausible that sex could do the same. Additional pluses to period sex include lower chance of pregnancy and more natural lubrication (if you don’t have a tampon in just beforehand).
Self care and period cramps
Talking about your cramps with a parent, friend, or healthcare provider seems to bring a lot of comfort for people. Other coping strategies people use are staying in bed, watching television, and other distractions like special foods, drinks, and exercise (41). Having a trusted friend or partner give you an abdominal or back massage with a good-smelling oil (lavender, perhaps?) may also be helpful, if not just really nice (42).
What kind of menstrual pain is “normal”? When should I see a healthcare provider about my cramps?
If your cramps are bad enough that they are not eased by a typical painkiller, and if they affect your ability to work, study or do any other everyday activities, it is best to talk to a healthcare provider. You should also see your healthcare provider if your cramping is suddenly or unusually severe, or lasts more than a few days.
Severe menstrual cramps or chronic pelvic pain could be a symptom of a health conditions like endometriosis or adenomyosis. The pain experienced by people with endometriosis is different from normal menstrual cramping. Advocating for yourself about pain can be tough, but will help you to feel heard and to get the treatment you need.
Tracking pain with Clue throughout the cycle for several cycles will help you determine which symptoms, if any, recur at specific times.
Article was originally published on March 18, 2018.
10 Home Remedies for Menstrual or Period Cramp Relief
How to Tell if Your Period Cramping Is Normal
Each girl or woman typically experiences a similar level of cramps from one month to the next, says Jackie Thielen, MD, an internist and women’s health specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. For some women, monthly pain is minor. For others, it can be quite debilitating.
The main question doctors ask when determining whether your cramps are normal is “Are they normal for you?” Dr. Thielen says.
RELATED: Heavy Bleeding and Bad Periods: When to See a Doctor
Can Bad Period Cramps Be a Sign of Something Else?
Period cramps usually don’t signify that something is wrong with your health. But in some cases they can be a symptom of a medical condition:
- Endometriosis This disorder occurs when tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus, often adhering to your bladder, ovaries, or even your bowels.
- Uterine Fibroids These are noncancerous growths that emerge inside the uterine walls. They can range in size from one tiny speck to several bulky masses.
- Adenomyosis Tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow inside the organ’s muscle wall.
Pain from these conditions may seem like period pain, but it typically lasts longer and can be more severe than your usual menstrual cramps.
If you experience this type of pain, it’s important to see your doctor, Thielen says.
RELATED: Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
Can You Heal Menstrual Cramps With Home Remedies?
Most of the time, menstrual cramps can be treated by women at home.
But if your pain is severe and impacts your lifestyle, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. You might need medicines that are only available by prescription or some other treatment to help.
To help reduce period pain, here are 10 safe and effective home remedies for menstrual cramp relief.
1. Try Some Yoga Poses to Ease Menstrual Pain
Whether it’s the stretching of your muscles or the relaxing effect of the poses, a regular yoga practice can indeed help your cramps.
When 20 undergraduate students did an hour-long yoga program once a week for three months, they had less menstrual cramping and period distress than 20 women who didn’t, according to researchers for a study published in September 2016 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
The Journal of Physiotherapy review that sanctioned heating pads also found benefits for yoga.
You can practice during your period or between them, but some instructors advise women against doing inverted poses (like a shoulder stand) in the midst of menstruation, so as not interfere with your natural flow.
RELATED: 5 Simple Yoga Moves for Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Relief
2. Curl Up With a Heating Pad to Ease Period Cramps
“The uterus is a muscle, so anything that helps relax muscles, like applying heat, can be beneficial, Thielen says.
Indeed, research published in Evidence-Based Nursing found that topically applied heat was just as effective as ibuprofen for period cramps. Over the two study days, the women used heat alone, heat plus ibuprofen, ibuprofen alone, or a placebo. The best results were in the heat plus ibuprofen group; adding heat led to faster improvements.
A review published in March 2014 in The Journal of Physiotherapy also found that heat significantly lessened a woman’s period pain.
3. Pop a Safe Painkiller to Cut the Inflammation
Moderate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) is one of the best ways to curb period pain, Thielen says. This is because NSAIDs reduce the amount of prostaglandins in the body. For this reason, taking a pill just before you get your period can keep the level of pain-causing prostaglandins from rising, she says.
As with any medicine, you should first check with your doctor to be sure NSAIDs are a good choice for you, especially if you have a history of bleeding or stomach or kidney issues.
If the NSAIDs you buy in the store don’t offer enough relief, your doctor might prescribe an NSAID with more potency. “Some women need up to 800 milligrams three times a day for cramps. You’d have to take a lot of over-the-counter pills to equal that,” Thielen says.
RELATED: 7 Things an Anesthesiologist Wants Women to Know About Pain
4. Acupuncture May Help by Relaxing the Nervous System
Acupuncture can help relieve cramps, says Jeannie Bianchi, a licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco. This ancient Asian healing method is thought to relax the nervous system, allow more blood to flow to internal organs, and quell inflammation, Bianchi says.
In a review published in April 2016 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews experts looked at 42 studies that observed the effects of acupuncture on period cramps. Each compared acupuncture with no treatment, conventional treatment (such as anti-inflammatory drugs), or a sham acupuncture procedure. Many of the studies found that the acupuncture group had less period pain and no side effects. The researchers emphasize, however, that the quality of all of the studies was poor.
5. Some Herbal Tea Varieties Can Calm Cramping
Certain teas may help relieve menstrual cramps, says Sonya Angelone, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the San Francisco Bay area.
Research on herbal teas for menstrual pain relief is scarce, but teas have been used by menstruating women in numerous cultures for centuries.
Chamomile and peppermint teas are often recommended for menstrual pain because they are calming to the body. Other teas associated with dysmenorrhea are those made from cramp bark, ginger, or fennel.
RELATED: Best Teas for Joint Pain Relief
6. Up the Magnesium in Your Diet
Dietary magnesium seems to help ease the pain of cramps, says DeJarra Sims, ND, a faculty member at Bastyr University in San Diego and the author of Your Healthiest Life Now.
Magnesium is found in many foods, including almonds, black beans, spinach, yogurt, and peanut butter.
If you want to take a magnesium supplement, Dr. Sims suggests speaking with your doctor, since the dose you need depends on the severity of your cramps along with other factors.
7. Massage With Essential Oils for Pain Relief
Massaging your skin with certain aromatic essential oils can relieve menstrual cramp pain, according to research published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research. Investigators asked 48 women with menstrual cramps and other symptoms to massage either essential oils or a synthetic fragrance into their lower abdomen between periods.
Women in both groups reported less pain, but the essential oils group did better. Based on the women’s reports, researchers found that the duration of pain was reduced by almost a half a day after self-massaging with the essential oils.
Some oils thought to be helpful include lavender essential oil, clary sage essential oil, and marjoram essential oil.
Just be sure you’re using essential oils safely. Buy high-quality oils that are tested for purity. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy suggests diluting pure essential oils in an unscented cream, lotion, or carrier oil before placing it on your skin to avoid irritation.
8. Boost Those Feel-Good Endorphins With Exercise (or Orgasm)
The body’s natural endorphins are known to boost your mood. But they also have a pain-relieving effect. A well-known way to boost endorphins is aerobic exercise. Having an orgasm is another.
RELATED: Have the Most Satisfying Sex Possible
A study published in March 2015 in the Journal of Family & Reproductive Health, found that, in 100 women, either stretching exercises or aerobic exercises done three times a week for two months reduced cramping.
RELATED: Masturbation 101: A Guide to Solo Sex for Women
9. Improving Your Diet May Alleviate Period Cramps
When researchers put 33 women with dysmenorrhea on a low-fat vegetarian diet, they found it eased their cramps, according to research published in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Start by swapping out less healthy fats like the saturated fats found in animal products for healthier ones like unsaturated fats found in olive oil, suggests the American Heart Association. Overall, try to make the fats you eat better quality, such as those found in fish or nuts, the organization suggests. Examples of meals not overly reliant on fats can be found in the healthy eating plate guide from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
RELATED: 9 Scientific Benefits of Following a Plant-Based Diet
10. Birth Control Pills May Lessen Painful Cramping, Too
While not exactly a home remedy, birth control pills and hormonal intrauterine devices are potential tools in your anticramping arsenal and should not be overlooked, Thielen says.
Consider cramp relief a benefit to some types of contraception. Many women find relief from painful cramps when they start the pill, Thielen says. “Hormonal birth control typically lessens the amount of bleeding, and less bleeding can translate into fewer cramps,” she says.
Menstrual cramps – Diagnosis and treatment
Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, your doctor will check for abnormalities in your reproductive organs and look for signs of infection.
If your doctor suspects that a disorder is causing your menstrual cramps, he or she may recommend other tests, such as:
- Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to create an image of your uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Other imaging tests. A CT scan or MRI scan provides more detail than an ultrasound and can help your doctor diagnose underlying conditions. CT combines X-ray images taken from many angles to produce cross-sectional images of bones, organs and other soft tissues inside your body.
MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed images of internal structures. Both tests are noninvasive and painless.
- Laparoscopy. Although not usually necessary to diagnosis menstrual cramps, laparoscopy can help detect an underlying condition, such as endometriosis, adhesions, fibroids, ovarian cysts and ectopic pregnancy. During this outpatient surgery, your doctor views your abdominal cavity and reproductive organs by making tiny incisions in your abdomen and inserting a fiber-optic tube with a small camera lens.
To ease your menstrual cramps, your doctor might recommend:
Pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), at regular doses starting the day before you expect your period to begin can help control the pain of cramps. Prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also are available.
Start taking the pain reliever at the beginning of your period, or as soon as you feel symptoms, and continue taking the medicine as directed for two to three days, or until your symptoms are gone.
- Hormonal birth control. Oral birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. These hormones can also be delivered in several other forms: an injection, a skin patch, an implant placed under the skin of your arm, a flexible ring that you insert into your vagina, or an intrauterine device (IUD).
- Surgery. If your menstrual cramps are caused by a disorder such as endometriosis or fibroids, surgery to correct the problem might help your symptoms. Surgical removal of the uterus also might be an option if other approaches fail to ease your symptoms and if you’re not planning to have children.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Besides getting enough sleep and rest, things you might want to try include:
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity, including sex, helps ease menstrual cramps for some women.
- Use heat. Soaking in a hot bath or using a heating pad, hot water bottle or heat patch on your lower abdomen might ease menstrual cramps.
- Try dietary supplements. A number of studies have indicated that vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-1 (thiamin), vitamin B-6 and magnesium supplements might reduce menstrual cramps.
- Reduce stress. Psychological stress might increase your risk of menstrual cramps and their severity.
Most alternative therapies for treating menstrual cramps haven’t been studied enough for experts to recommend them. However, some alternative treatments might help, including:
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves inserting extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. Some studies have found that acupuncture helps relieve menstrual cramps.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). A TENS device connects to the skin using adhesive patches with electrodes in them. The electrodes deliver a varying level of electric current to stimulate nerves.
TENS might work by raising the threshold for pain signals and stimulating the release of your body’s natural painkillers (endorphins). In studies, TENS was more effective than a placebo in relieving menstrual cramp pain.
- Herbal medicine. Some herbal products, such as pycnogenol, fennel or combination products, might provide some relief from menstrual cramps.
- Acupressure. Like acupuncture, acupressure also involves stimulating certain points on the body, but with gentle pressure on the skin instead of needles. Although research on acupressure and menstrual cramps is limited, it appears that acupressure may be more effective than a placebo in easing menstrual cramps.
Preparing for your appointment
If you have bothersome menstrual cramps, make an appointment with either your primary physician or a doctor who specializes in the female reproductive system (gynecologist). Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
Track your menstrual periods, when they begin and how severe your cramps are. Also, make a list of:
- Medical problems you’ve had and recent major stresses in your life
- All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take
- Questions to ask your doctor
For menstrual cramps, basic questions include:
- What’s the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are my symptoms likely to change over time?
- Do I need any tests done?
- What treatments or home remedies might help?
- Are there brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don’t hesitate to ask other questions as they occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:
- How old were you when you began menstruating?
- How far apart are your menstrual periods, and how long do they typically last?
- How heavy is your menstrual bleeding? Do you ever bleed between periods?
- Where do your cramps hurt?
- Do you have other symptoms with your cramps, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, back pain, dizziness or headaches?
- Do your symptoms cause you to limit your activities, stay home from work or school, or avoid exercise?
- If you’re sexually active, is intercourse painful?
- What treatments have you tried so far, if any? Has anything helped?
- Do women in your family have a history of similar symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
When you have cramps, try taking a warm bath or applying a heating pad, hot water bottle or heat patch to your abdomen. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, also might help.
Dysmenorrhea: Painful Periods | ACOG
Adenomyosis: A condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow in the muscle wall of the uterus.
Adhesions: Scars that can make tissue surfaces stick together.
Biofeedback: A technique used by physical therapists to help a person control body functions, such as heartbeat or blood pressure.
Birth Control: Devices or medications used to prevent pregnancy.
Bladder: A hollow, muscular organ in which urine is stored.
Dysmenorrhea: Discomfort and pain during the menstrual period.
Endometriosis: A condition in which tissue that lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus, usually on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic structures.
Estrogen: A female hormone produced in the ovaries.
Fallopian Tubes: Tubes through which an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus.
Fibroids: Growths that form in the muscle of the uterus. Fibroids usually are noncancerous.
General Anesthesia: The use of drugs that create a sleep-like state to prevent pain during surgery.
Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone (GnRH) Agonists: Medical therapy used to block the effect of certain hormones.
Hormones: Substances made in the body that control the function of cells or organs.
Hysterectomy: Surgery to remove the uterus.
Intrauterine Device (IUD): A small device that is inserted and left inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy.
Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure in which a thin, lighted telescope called a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision (cut) in the abdomen. The laparoscope is used to view the pelvic organs. Other instruments can be used with it to perform surgery.
Menstrual Periods: The monthly shedding of blood and tissue from the uterus.
Menstruation: The monthly shedding of blood and tissue from the uterus that happens when a woman is not pregnant.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Drugs that relieve pain by reducing inflammation. Many types are available over the counter, including ibuprofen and naproxen.
Obstetrician–Gynecologist (Ob-Gyn): A doctor with special training and education in women’s health.
Ovaries: Organs in women that contain the eggs necessary to get pregnant and make important hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Pelvic Exam: A physical examination of a woman’s pelvic organs.
Progestin: A synthetic form of progesterone that is similar to the hormone made naturally by the body.
Prostaglandins: Chemicals that are made by the body that have many effects, including causing the muscle of the uterus to contract, usually causing cramps.
Ultrasound Exam: A test in which sound waves are used to examine inner parts of the body. During pregnancy, ultrasound can be used to check the fetus.
Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE): A procedure to block the blood vessels to the uterus. This procedure is used to stop bleeding after delivery. It is also used to stop other causes of bleeding from the uterus.
Uterus: A muscular organ in the female pelvis. During pregnancy, this organ holds and nourishes the fetus. Also called the womb.
The best home remedies for menstrual cramps
Many women report having abdominal or pelvic pain at the beginning of their menstrual cycle. This symptom can range in severity from mild discomfort that lasts 1 or 2 days to painful, debilitating cramps. Many home remedies can help a person get relief.
During a period, the uterus contracts to squeeze the lining away from the uterine wall and allow it to exit the body through the vagina. These uterine contractions cause painful cramps.
Most women experience cramps in the lower abdomen, although the pain can also radiate to the lower back, groin, or upper thighs. Menstrual cramps tend to be the worst at the beginning of a period and become less uncomfortable as the days go on.
Many home remedies can help relieve menstrual cramps, including the following:
Placing a hot water bottle or heating pad against the abdomen can relax the muscles and relieve cramps.
Heat helps the uterine muscle and those around it relax, which may ease cramping and discomfort.
A person can also place a heating pad on the lower back to get rid of back pain. Another option is to soak in a warm bath, which can help relax the muscles in the abdomen, back, and legs.
Although exercise may be the last thing that many women feel like doing when they have cramps, it may provide pain relief.
Strenuous exercise might not be beneficial if a person is in pain, but gentle stretching, going for a walk, or doing yoga may help. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are nature’s natural pain relievers.
A Taiwanese study found that 12 weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes reduced menstrual cramps in the study participants.
An orgasm is a great remedy for menstrual cramps. Similar to exercise, having an orgasm releases plenty of endorphins and other hormones that relieve pain, helping a person feel good.
Research has shown that acupuncture can relieve menstrual cramps. This treatment may reduce inflammation, in addition to releasing endorphins and helping a person relax.
A person is more likely to benefit from an ongoing course of acupuncture than a single session.
Getting a massage or doing self-massage over the abdomen can also relax the pelvic muscles and alleviate cramping.
People can gently rub a massage oil, body lotion, or coconut oil into their skin.
A 2013 study compared menstrual pain relief after abdominal massage in two groups of female students. One group had massages using only almond oil, while the other group had massages using a blend of essential oils that consisted of cinnamon, clove, lavender, and rose in an almond oil base.
The researchers found that the group using the essential oils felt more significant relief from menstrual cramps than the group using only the carrier oil.
People can try adding a few drops of at least one of these essential oils to a carrier oil for an effective abdominal self-massage.
Herbal teas are warm and soothing, and in some cases, the herbs themselves can be beneficial as well.
Some manufacturers market specific teas, such as chamomile, dandelion, red raspberry, and fennel teas, as providing relief from menstrual cramps. However, there is little evidence to support this.
Making some changes to the diet may reduce menstrual cramping.
Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean proteins, and whole grains helps the body stay healthy.
Increasing the intake of fluids, such as water and herbal teas, will help the body stay hydrated. Dehydration is a common cause of muscle cramps.
Finally, it is best to cut out unnecessary salt, which can cause bloating and fluid retention, and caffeine, which can have a dehydrating effect.
If natural home remedies do not relieve pain, a person can try using an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin).
These medications can relieve inflammation, pain, and menstrual cramps. It is essential to follow the dosage directions on the bottle and speak to a doctor if the recommended dose is insufficient to relieve menstrual cramps.
A person may wish to talk to a doctor if home remedies do not help reduce cramps or if they are experiencing very severe cramps.
A doctor can suggest other home remedies to try or prescribe medications, such as birth control pills or some types of pain reliever, to manage the symptoms.
Other symptoms that may warrant a visit to the doctor include:
- very heavy bleeding
- cramps that get worse over time or with age
- severe pain or discomfort
- cramps that interfere with daily life
These symptoms may indicate an underlying condition, for which a doctor will be able to suggest an effective treatment.
Menstrual cramps are a common symptom before and during a period. In most cases, cramps are normal, but there may be some situations where they indicate something more serious.
If these home remedies are not successful in relieving menstrual cramps or if the cramps are severe, it is important to speak to a doctor.
Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention
What Are Menstrual Cramps?
Menstrual cramps are throbbing, aching cramps you get in your lower belly just before and during your period. They’re some of the most common, annoying parts of your period. They can strike right before or during that time of the month. Many women get them routinely.
Cramps can range from mild to severe. They usually happen for the first time a year or two after a girl first gets their period. With age, they usually become less painful and may stop entirely after you have your first baby.
Your doctor may call your cramps dysmenorrhea.
Menstrual Cramp Symptoms
You may have:
- Aching pain in your belly (sometimes severe)
- A feeling of pressure in your belly
- Pain in your hips, lower back, and inner thighs
When cramps are severe, symptoms may include:
When to Call Your Doctor
If you have severe or unusual menstrual cramps, or cramping that lasts more than 2 or 3 days, tell your doctor. Whatever the cause, cramps can be treated, so it’s important to get checked.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and menstrual cycles. You’ll get a pelvic exam, in which your doctor will use a tool called a speculum to see into your vagina and cervix. They may take a small sample of vaginal fluid for testing and use their fingers to check your uterus and ovaries for anything that doesn’t feel normal.
If it turns out that your cramps aren’t due to your period, you might need other tests to find the right treatment.
Menstrual Cramp Causes and Risk Factors
Menstrual cramps happen because of contractions in the uterus, or womb, which is a muscle. If it contracts too strongly during your menstrual cycle, it can press against nearby blood vessels. This briefly cuts off oxygen to the uterus. It’s this lack of oxygen that causes your pain and cramping.
You can also have cramps because of:
- Endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue lining the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus
- Fibroids in your uterus
- Adenomyosis, when your uterine lining grows into nearby muscle
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection caused by bacteria that starts in the uterus and can spread to other reproductive organs
- Cervical stenosis, or a narrowing of the lower part of your uterus, caused by scarring, as well as a lack of estrogen after menopause
Certain things put you at a higher risk of menstrual cramps. You’re more likely to have them if you:
- Are under 30
- Started puberty early, at or before age 11
- Bleed heavily during periods (menorrhagia)
- Have irregular menstrual bleeding (metrorrhagia)
- Have a family history of menstrual cramps
Menstrual Cramp Treatment
If you have mild menstrual cramps, take aspirin or another pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. For best relief, take these medications as soon as bleeding or cramping starts.
Heat can also help. Place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower back or tummy. A warm bath may also provide some relief.
Other lifestyle changes that may help:
Women who exercise regularly often have less menstrual pain. To help prevent cramps, make exercise a part of your weekly routine.
If these steps don’t do enough, tell your doctor. They may prescribe medicines such as:
- Ibuprofen (a higher dose than is available over the counter) or other strong pain relievers
- Oral contraceptives (Women who take birth control pills have less menstrual pain.)
How to reduce and relieve severe pain during menstruation
Every woman experiences pain before or during menstruation to one degree or another. In order not to suffer from pain, you need to take action in time. We have compiled for you the most effective ways to get rid of pain during your period.
Causes of menstrual pain
In most cases, menstrual pain has a fairly simple explanation. If pregnancy has not occurred, the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is torn away from the walls of the uterus, while prostaglandins are released, which contributes to a better release of the remnants of the uterine lining to the outside.If there are a lot of prostaglandins, the muscles contract more actively, which causes menstrual pain.
Specialists for painful periods have their own name – dysmenorrhea (earlier it was called algodismenorrhea). In addition, doctors divide it into primary and secondary.
- Primary dysmenorrhea occurs in young girls and women (between the ages of about 14 and 25) and is characterized by uterine contractile activity. In addition to the characteristic pain in the lower abdomen, symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea can include nausea, headaches, and upset stools.They usually appear the day before and a couple of days after the onset of menstruation. Dysmenorrhea is successfully treated and, if painful menstruation is troubling, it is better to see a doctor who will prescribe treatment.
- Secondary dysmenorrhea is usually associated with organic changes in the pelvic organs (eg, endometriosis, chronic inflammation with adhesions). In this case, only your attending gynecologist can choose the right treatment.
Causes of menstrual pain not associated with diseases of the female reproductive system include:
- intrauterine device
- no physical activity
- deficiency of magnesium and calcium in the body
- power failure
- stress and lack of sleep
- low pain threshold
How to get rid of menstrual pain
If the pain before or during menstruation quickly passes and does not cause you any special inconvenience, you practically do not pay attention to the onset of menstruation and lead a normal life, then you just need to take care of yourself, avoiding excessive physical exertion on these days.But if the first day of your period turns into a real nightmare for you, it is worth taking action.
How to reduce pain during menstruation
The easiest and most popular way is to take a pill that relieves pain and spasms. Just be sure to consult with your doctor which drug is right for you. But don’t make taking painkillers a habit. If you cannot live without pills every month and take them several times a day, this is a wake-up call, meaning that you need to see a doctor immediately.
Birth control pills contain hormones that suppress ovulation. No ovulation – no painful periods. Among other things, they will relieve you of the manifestations of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). But keep in mind that you need to select such pills individually and only your gynecologist can do this based on the results of examinations and tests.
Some women mistakenly believe that sports are contraindicated during menstruation, although in reality the opposite is true.Exercise ensures good blood circulation in the muscles and makes them more elastic. The uterus is made up of several types of muscles, so regular exercise and good constant stretching make it much easier to tolerate the pain during menstruation caused by the contraction of the uterus.
So if you do not have special prescriptions from doctors, try doing light exercises:
- Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and do 15–20 squats. Make sure that the weight is on your heels and your back remains straight.
- Sit in a Turkish position and begin to slowly bring and spread your knees. Repeat 15-20 times.
- Get on all fours, arch your back like a cat, and then return to the starting position. Repeat 15-20 times.
But it is better to refuse serious power loads in the first days of menstruation.
Swimming is worth highlighting separately. It is the safest and least traumatic sport to relieve pain. It helps relax muscles and relieve tension.Just remember to use a tampon while swimming, and change it right after the pool. Tampax tampons are ideal for this. Their plastic Compak applicator fits easily in your hand, so you can quickly and discreetly go and change your tampon.
Vitamin B6 and magnesium are friends and main helpers of a woman suffering from menstrual pain. Taking these vitamins and minerals will help reduce discomfort. In addition, today for women there are many vitamin complexes that can ease the course of menstruation.But it is best to pick them up with a doctor.
Take a warm, comfortable shower or place a warm (!) Heating pad on your lower abdomen to relieve pain. And if there is no special heating pad, you can pour warm water into a regular plastic bottle. This method is best for relieving menstrual pain before bed, as it is best to go straight to a warm bed after showering.
Herbal teas, decoctions and infusions
Tea with chamomile or mint also helps to relax the abdominal muscles and reduce menstrual pain.Herbal infusions are also well suited – nettle, horsetail, wild strawberries and calendula.
Lie down, or rather sleep a little in the fetal position. To do this, lie on the floor and pull your legs up to your stomach. This position will help you relax and relieve pain.
On the eve and during menstruation, doctors recommend reducing the consumption of coffee, strong tea, as well as fried and spicy. But foods rich in calcium should be eaten more actively.Include more cottage cheese, milk porridge, fish, cheese and bananas in your diet. By the way, bananas, among other things, will also help improve your mood, which will definitely not hurt in the first days of your period.
Massage of the abdomen and lower back
- A lower back massage will help relieve spasms and soothe pain. Ideally, a loved one should do it for you. But if at the right moment such a person is not around, you can make it yourself yourself. Put a tennis ball in two bags or socks and lie on them with your lower back (the balls should be on both sides of the spine at the level of the lower ribs).Gently roll the balls, massaging your muscles.
- Massaging the abdomen will help relieve tension in the abdominal area. To do this, massage your stomach with a warm hand in a clockwise circular motion.
Prevention of pain during menstruation
To prevent menstrual pain from causing you inconvenience:
- Lead an active lifestyle and exercise. According to statistics, athletes are much less likely to complain of pain during menstruation. Moreover, the sport can be anything – from yoga, Pilates and swimming to martial arts and dancing.
- Get more fresh air and get enough sleep.
- Include in the diet foods rich in calcium (cottage cheese, cheese, seafood) and magnesium (buckwheat, parsley, spinach, dark chocolate).
- Try to eat less spicy and fried foods and do not drink coffee or strong tea.
- Give up bad habits.
- Do not overcool, avoid stressful situations. Visit your gynecologist every six months, even if nothing bothers you.Any disease is much easier to prevent than to cure. Not to mention the fact that many processes in the female body can be asymptomatic for a long time.
In what cases it is worthwhile to see a doctor immediately:
- The pain is so bad that you have to take sick leave and stay in bed all day.
- The pain has lasted for more than two days.
- Menstrual pains began to torment you recently, although in the past, menstruation was painless.
- Menses are more profuse than usual or last much longer.
- You are taking oral contraceptives, but severe pains still bother you.
- Pain medications are not helping you.
In all these cases, do not self-medicate or heroically endure unpleasant sensations. It is better to go to the gynecologist as soon as possible in order to establish and eliminate the cause of these symptoms and quickly return to your usual way of life.
90,000 Painful menstruation – the reasons for which diseases occur, diagnosis and treatment
The information in this section cannot be used for self-diagnosis and self-medication. In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For a diagnosis and correct prescription of treatment, you should contact your doctor.
Painful menstruation – the causes of the appearance, in what diseases occur, diagnosis and treatment.
Almost half of girls and women experience painful periods (dysmenorrhea). For many of them, pain and discomfort lead to disability within 1-3 days. Clinicians do not attribute this condition to an independent disease, but associate it with menstrual irregularities, which is manifested by cramping or pulling pains in the lower abdomen and in the lumbar region during menstrual bleeding.The pain can be aggravated by other unpleasant symptoms: headache, nausea, fainting. The cause of the pain is spastic uterine contractions, during which the endometrium is rejected.
Dysmenorrhea can be based on neurogenic, metabolic and psychological disorders, which must be taken into account when diagnosing.
Dysmenorrhea can be primary (not associated with the pathology of the pelvic organs) or secondary (against the background of pathologies of the pelvic organs, due to urogenital diseases and inflammatory processes).Depending on the stage of the disease, compensated (the intensity of pain is constant over a long time) and decompensated (symptoms become more pronounced every year) forms are distinguished.
Which diseases cause dysmenorrhea
For adolescent girls, primary dysmenorrhea is characteristic, the cause of which is difficult to identify. At the heart of primary dysmenorrhea is the accumulation of prostaglandins – physiologically active substances – in the endometrium of the uterus, which cause its spastic contractions.
Excessive production of prostaglandins is the result of changes in hormonal levels during puberty.
The onset of menstrual pain can be triggered by the hormone vasopressin. An increase in its level in the blood leads to stagnation of blood in the tissues of the small pelvis.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by various gynecological and infectious diseases.
Sometimes dysmenorrhea is caused by inflammation and adhesions in the pelvic organs.
Diagnostics and examination
When diagnosing dysmenorrhea, the woman’s age, concomitant or past diseases, general examination data, ultrasound examination are taken into account. If the patient’s age does not exceed 25-30 years and the examination does not reveal other diseases, the diagnosis of primary dysmenorrhea is most likely. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor prescribes a series of tests and samples. An assessment of the hormonal background is necessary, first of all, the determination of the levels of estradiol
If painful sensations during menstruation appear in a woman 30 years of age or older, this may indicate the development of endometriosis or the growth of the myomatous node.
Endometriosis is the proliferation of endometrial cells (the inner layer of the uterine cavity) on its surface and / or in the tissues of nearby organs.
The disease can occur both in women who have given birth who have undergone abortion or diagnostic curettage, and in nulliparous women suffering from infertility.
If inflammatory diseases are the cause of dysmenorrhea, then pain is characterized by a different temporary appearance. They intensify before the onset of menstruation, and after the first day, their intensity decreases. In addition, pulling and aching pains occur in the pelvic area. In this case, the examination of the smear and the identification of the pathogen in the discharge of the cervical canal and vagina confirms the diagnosis.
To clarify the diagnosis, ultrasound of the pelvic organs,
hysteroscopy are also prescribed.
When diagnosing the causes of dysmenorrhea, one should not exclude such a pathological process as genital tuberculosis, the prevalence of which has increased significantly in recent years. Sometimes the first sign of a disease is infertility. Concomitant symptoms may be lack of appetite, unnecessary weight loss, night sweats, constant body temperature in the range of 37.1-38.0 ° C.
Dysmenorrhea can be caused not only by hormonal imbalance and diseases of the pelvic organs.Intrauterine devices (IUD)
sometimes installed without taking into account contraindications and additional examinations.
If the coil is incorrectly selected, it can lead to menstrual irregularities and dysmenorrhea.
Which doctors should be consulted
With the exception of dysmenorrhea caused by genital tuberculosis, a gynecologist treats women with complaints of painful menstruation. When a neurogenic and psychosomatic component of dysmenorrhea is identified, a psychotherapist can be involved in treatment.
What to do
Many women think painful periods are normal and are limited to pain relievers for a long time. Without a correct diagnosis, these measures often lead to a gradual increase in pain. Even if with the help of anti-inflammatory drugs it is possible to stop the pain, it is necessary to find out its cause, which is especially important in case of secondary dysmenorrhea.
In primary dysmenorrhea, treatment is aimed at restoring hormonal levels and relieving pain.
The first problem is solved by using hormonal drugs, the choice of which is determined by the severity of dysmenorrhea.
The doctor can individually select combined oral contraceptives (COCs). Research results show that after a year of using COCs, the menstrual cycle is normalized, and the effect persists even after stopping the use of these drugs.
An additional method of treatment is physiotherapy: magnetotherapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound waves, ultraviolet rays, laser radiation, acupuncture, gynecological massage, etc.e. A local impulse effect on the pelvic organs leads to an acceleration of the recovery and compensatory processes in the body. Positive results are obtained by non-drug methods of treatment: physiotherapy exercises (exercise therapy), proper nutrition with the obligatory inclusion of products containing vitamins B1, B6 and E.
A number of studies note the importance of introducing magnesium preparations into the therapeutic course, since it is involved in the regulation of muscle contractions. If the analysis reveals a lack of magnesium in the blood,
the doctor may recommend taking combined magnesium and vitamin B6 preparations to normalize the menstrual cycle.
Pregnancy and childbirth in most cases lead to the weakening or disappearance of primary dysmenorrhea.
Treatment for secondary dysmenorrhea depends on the cause of the pain syndrome.
Endometriosis, as the most common cause of secondary dysmenorrhea, requires complex and long-term treatment. Removal of the endometrium does not eliminate the recurrence of the disease after several years. Based on the results of clinical trials, doctors recommend long-term drug therapy after surgery.As a rule, in milder forms of endometriosis, combined oral contraceptives and progestogenic drugs are prescribed. The clinical efficacy of dienogest has been proven in endometriotic lesions. This drug is good for relieving pain associated with endometriosis and pain in the pelvic area.
In case of cervical stenosis (narrowing of the cervical canal), treatment consists in dilating the cervix. Pregnancy and vaginal delivery give a stable result.
Treatment for adhesions, which can be caused by diseases such as cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix) and inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs, includes a range of measures from symptomatic therapy (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to surgical excision of adhesions.In some cases, antiprostaglandin drugs are effective.
The information in this section cannot be used for self-diagnosis and self-medication. In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For a diagnosis and correct prescription of treatment, you should contact your doctor.
Information checked by expert
Lishova Ekaterina Alexandrovna
Higher medical education, work experience – 19 years
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for dysmenorrhea
Are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) safe and effective for relieving menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea), and how are they comparable to each other and to paracetamol?
Almost three quarters of women suffer from pain or cramps during their periods (dysmenorrhea).Studies have shown that women with severe menstrual pain have high levels of prostaglandins, the hormones that cause cramping abdominal pain. NSAIDs are medicines that work by blocking the production of prostaglandins. NSAIDs include common pain relievers such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, and mefenamic acid. Researchers at the Cochrane Collaboration reviewed the evidence for the safety and efficacy of NSAIDs for pain during menstruation. The evidence is current to January 2015.
We found 80 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that included a total of 5820 women and compared 20 different types of NSAIDs with placebo (inactive pills), paracetamol, or each other. Most of the studies were commercially funded (59%), while in the rest of the trials – 31%, the researchers did not declare their source of funding.
A review found that NSAIDs appear to be very effective in relieving pain during menstruation.The evidence suggests that while 18% of women taking a placebo achieve moderate to excellent pain relief, 45-53% of women with NSAIDs will. NSAIDs seem to work better than paracetamol, but it is unclear if the NSAID is the safest and most effective drug.
NSAIDs usually cause adverse effects (side effects), including indigestion, headaches, and drowsiness. The evidence suggests that while 10% of women experience side effects when taking a placebo, 11-14% of women will experience side effects when taking NSAIDs.
Based on two head-to-head comparison studies, there is no evidence that new NSAIDs (known as selective COX-2 inhibitors) are more effective in treating dysmenorrhea than traditional NSAIDs (non-selective inhibitors), and there is no difference between them for side effects.
Quality of evidence
We rated the quality of the evidence as low for most comparisons, mainly due to poor presentation of research methods.
Painful periods. Sinai clinic near Dobryninskaya metro station in Moscow
Description of painful menstruation
A natural monthly process, which is an integral part of the functioning of a woman’s reproductive organs, is menstruation. With the onset of menstruation, a teenager begins puberty. This process belongs to a natural physiological phenomenon, and is accompanied by pain syndrome, which has varying intensity.If the pain has a pulling or aching character that does not intensify throughout the entire menstrual period, this is normal. But if a woman notes the monthly appearance of unbearable, severe pain, which is joined by loose stools, dizziness, lightheadedness, vomiting, this signals that the development of algomenorrhea has begun.
The presence of painful periods, or algomenorrhea, refers to a special disorder of menstruation, during which the degree of pain on critical days increases.This disorder, in most cases, occurs in adolescent girls, but it also occurs in women who are over forty years old. Pain occurs when the synthesis of hormones is disrupted, as a result of which the concentration of the prostaglandin substance in the body increases. The uterine tissue begins to actively contract, clearing the cavity from the endometrium. The rejection process provokes irritation of the nerve endings of the uterus, which causes severe pain in the lower abdomen. Painful sensations with such a disease begin one or two days before the onset of menstruation, and end three to four days after the onset of menstruation.Intense, cramping pain, which can be transmitted to the lower back, contributes to a violation of the emotional and physical state of a woman. In addition, the severity of pain is closely related to the individual characteristics of the body, the location and shape of the uterus, the general state of health, and the woman’s sensitivity to pain.
Algomenorrhea refers to the first and main signal that negative changes have begun in a woman’s body. With regular painful periods, you need to contact the Sinai clinic, where the patient will be professionally diagnosed, the cause of the painful periods will be determined, and an effective treatment will be prescribed based on the results of the examination.After the treatment of the disorder of menstruation, the woman’s condition will improve, menstruation will pass without excruciating pain.
Among the main signs, painful sensations are distinguished, the localization of which is the lower abdomen. A woman notices the appearance of soreness on the first day of her period or a few hours before the start. The duration of the pain syndrome that accompanies menstruation is two days if there is no pathology. The pain is stabbing, aching, twitching, cramping.In addition, an unpleasant sensation can be in the bladder, rectum, lower back. Algomenorrhea is characterized by bouts of nausea, gastrointestinal upset, weakness, irritability, bulimia, anxiety, insomnia, or drowsiness. Intense pain during menstruation has a negative effect on a woman’s well-being, on her mental and emotional state, and performance.
The following degrees of painfulness of menstruation exist:
- With a mild degree, there is a slight general malaise, moderate short-term soreness, there are no violations in the woman’s working capacity, and activity is not reduced.If you leave a mild degree without medical treatment, the risk of degeneration into the second or third degree increases, in which the soreness and malaise increases.
- With a moderate degree, a woman notes severe pain in the lower abdomen, bouts of nausea, general weakness, headache, chills, frequent urge to empty the bladder. Also, a woman with an average degree of illness may become depressed. She has the development of intolerance to the sound and olfactory stimuli, activity and performance deteriorate noticeably, and appetite increases.This condition requires taking the appropriate medication, which can be selected by a qualified doctor. If one of the above symptoms is present, a woman should contact the Sinai clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of algomenorrhea.
- During a severe degree, the soreness becomes pronounced, localized not only in the lower abdomen, but also in the lower back. General weakness and severe headache appear. A severe degree of the disease is characterized by an increase in body temperature, the appearance of loose stools, and bouts of vomiting.In addition, tachycardia, discomfort in the region of the heart, and light-headedness develop. The third degree provokes the most reduced activity and performance. Taking an anesthetic does not work, but, on the contrary, will harm a weakened female body. The severe stage of algomenorrhea is associated with congenital pathologies of the pelvic organs, so it is not recommended to postpone a visit to the gynecological office.
Speaking of the symptoms that arise as a result of autonomic disturbance, they highlight the presence of false desires for natural bowel movements, dry mouth, itchy skin, intestinal distention and excessive sweating.
The first critical days, when the hormonal background is destabilized, are the cause of primary algomenorrhea. The main number of cases occurs in girls who are distinguished by mild excitability, an emotional unstable state, as well as who have an asthenic physique. Depending on the course, the primary form of the disease is compensated and decompensated. During compensated, for a long time, the intensity and duration of painful sensations during menstruation does not change.Decompensated primary algomenorrhea is characterized by an increase in the intensity of pain. From the presence of the corresponding signs, the primary form of painful menstruation is divided into the following types:
- The adrenergic type is characterized by an increase in the level of hormones such as dopamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine, as a result of which the hormonal system fails. The girl notices the appearance of constipation, severe headache, fever, palpitations.In addition, sleep is disturbed, a spasm of small vessels provokes blue discoloration of the upper and lower extremities, and the body and face become pale.
- When you are parasympathetic, the level of a hormone such as serotonin increases. The girl has a slow heartbeat, bouts of nausea and vomiting, body temperature does not exceed 36 degrees. Due to gastrointestinal upset, stool liquefies, the upper and lower extremities and face also swell. In addition, the body reacts with an allergic reaction on the skin, increasing body weight.
The most common causes of painful periods of the primary form are:
- Connective tissue dysplasia, or when the tissue is not mature before the baby is born. This phenomenon is inherent in half of the women who have been diagnosed with algomenorrhea. With dysplasia, the vessels located in the lower and upper extremities change, and the skeleton is bent. Dysplasia occurs when there is not enough magnesium in the body. This can be determined by taking a biochemical blood test.
- With low production of endorphins and enkephalin, hormones of happiness.
- If the female genital organs are infected with tuberculosis, as a result, symptoms of the disease will appear during the first menstruation. Exacerbation of the disease occurs in spring and autumn. Painful sensations during such critical days do not have a specific localization.
- For neurological disorders of the central nervous system. In girls, emotionally and morally unstable, constant tension is observed, as a result of which the pain threshold decreases and pain perception is aggravated.
- If the removal of menstrual blood from the uterine cavity is difficult.
- In case of uterine hypoplasia, bends and bends of the uterine walls, impaired uterine development in the womb. Also, the presence of a two-legged uterus.
IMMA clinics provide services for the examination, diagnosis and treatment of women’s diseases. One of the most frequent reasons for contacting a doctor is a suspicion of endometriosis and complaints of a worsening state of health in connection with this, a manifestation of pain.This is a really serious reason not only for a visit to the doctor, but also for the appointment of a comprehensive examination. According to statistics, endometriosis causes almost 50% of infertility in women of childbearing age. Early diagnosis and preventive measures will help to cope with this problem with minimal effort, time and money. The Association of Medical Clinics IMMA includes 6 modern outpatient clinics in different districts of Moscow. We can serve the whole family, we have both general and highly specialized specialists for adults and children.
In our clinics you can:
For more details and for any questions, please contact the number indicated on the website.
What is endometriosis
Most often, this disease affects women, however, as recent studies in the field of gynecology show, there is some possibility that men may also have endometriosis.
This deviation is characterized by a pathological increased proliferation of cells similar in structure and properties to the cells of the endometrium (the inner layer of the uterus) in places unusual for this tissue.The pathological process can cover not only the uterus (it can affect the muscle tissue of the body and cervix, penetrating to different depths), but also other organs: ovaries, uterine ligaments, pelvic peritoneum, adjacent organs (bladder, rectum), cases of lesion are described endometriosis of the lungs, postoperative scars. Depending on which organ is affected by the disease, different types of endometriosis are distinguished. It is important to consult a doctor in the early stages of the disease for complex therapy and timely treatment.
The main risk factors for the onset of the disease for women should be noted:
- difficult childbirth;
- pregnancy over the age of 30;
- underwent surgical interventions (abortion, cesarean section, diathermocoagulation of the cervix in the treatment of erosion)
- chronic inflammatory processes of the pelvic organs.
The main risk group is women aged 25-44 years.According to statistics, 10-15% of women of the reproductive period are affected by endometriosis. Less commonly, symptoms of endometriosis are observed in men and girls under the age of 20.
Causes of endometriosis
Currently, medicine does not give an exact answer to the question of what causes endometriosis. Observation of patients and medical statistics show that the transferred medical interventions often cause the appearance of endometriosis. Operations carried out on the eve of the onset of critical days affect the development of the disease.Hormonal imbalance, reduced immunity, excessive physical and emotional stress negatively affect the preservation of women’s health. There is also a tendency to transmit the disease by inheritance.
Endometriosis develops when endometrial cells, along with blood, get where they should not be. Menstrual flow often contributes to this. If the body is healthy, then foreign cells are removed, and in case of any disorders and weakening of the immune system, they can gain a foothold in the tissues of the uterus, uterine appendages and neighboring organs.In new loci, the cells of the endometrioid tissue are actively dividing, a chronic inflammatory process arises around them, accompanied by tissue damage and the formation of adhesions, followed by a violation of the function of the affected organs and their interposition.
The consequence of this process is one of the leading signs of the disease – recurrent pain in the pelvic or abdominal region, which must be told about by the doctor during examination.
There is an assumption that over time, the overgrown endometrial cells can be transformed into tissues affected by oncological changes.Therefore, it is so important not to start the disease, even if its external manifestations are not too noticeable or do not cause much discomfort. The basis of the fight against endometriosis and its complications is timely diagnosis in the early stages, correct prevention, as well as immediate treatment.
Increase the likelihood of developing endometriosis in people of both sexes:
- excessive consumption of alcohol;
- Excessive addiction to caffeinated beverages;
- promiscuous sex life.
Endometriosis in men can be explained by disorders in the early stages of fetal development. Pathological endometrial cells enter the tissues even before birth, but the process begins to develop later in the presence of other unfavorable factors. The development of the disease in men can be facilitated by the intake of estrogens, a decrease in immunity, inflammatory processes in the pelvic organs, the presence of oncological diseases and the difficult process of their treatment.
How to suspect endometriosis
In most cases, endometriosis adversely affects quality of life, although symptoms may be blurred.During the examination, it is necessary to exclude other causes of poor health. Sometimes endometriosis in women occurs without obvious symptoms or pain. There are no specific signs by which one can immediately guess about the disease. However, a number of symptoms should alert you and give you a reason to see a doctor.
Signs of endometriosis:
- increase in the number and discharge of pain during the menstrual cycle, mainly in the last 5-7 days before menstruation,
- painful sensations in the lower abdomen, extending to the groin and lower back;
- the appearance or intensification of pain when examined by a gynecologist, during intercourse or defecation;
- violation of the frequency of menstruation, profuse, prolonged and / or painful menstruation, smearing spotting from the genital tract a few days before the onset of menstruation and after its completion.
In the case when endometriosis is localized outside the genitals and genitals, nosebleeds, blood in sputum, feces, urine, and tears may occur. Sometimes you can notice the discharge of blood from the navel, the area of the postoperative scar. These manifestations are cyclical and are often synchronized with the second phase of the menstrual cycle. Any deviation from the norm should alert you. Regular visits to the gynecologist for preventive examinations are best done at least once every six months.The doctor can prescribe an ultrasound diagnosis and additional tests, only after that treatment will be started.
If endometriosis is suspected, the specialist will try to exclude the possibility of other diseases. For this, examinations such as hysterosalpingography, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are prescribed.
What is endometriosis
Endometriosis of the body of the uterus
One of the types of disease is endometriosis of the uterus, which affects the walls of the organ. Endometriosis of this localization is also called adenomyosis.The epithelium grows into the muscular layer of the uterus, sometimes endometrial cells penetrate up to the serous membrane. This type of disease is characterized by increased blood loss during menstruation, the development of anemia, a significant increase in pain in the lower abdomen during menstruation. Often, endometriosis of the uterus becomes the cause of miscarriage or the development of infertility.
Treatment depends on the degree of damage to the organ by the disease. It may be limited to the appointment of hormonal drugs.When the stage is advanced, surgical intervention and surgical removal or cauterization of foci of proliferation of the endometrium are indicated.
Endometriosis of the cervix
With endometriosis of the cervix, endometrial cells grow in the thickness of the cervix and on its surface. It can be caused by previous treatment of the cervix and surgery on the cervix. Such operations should not be prescribed for the premenstrual period. With this location of the sites of endometriosis, the main manifestations will be spotting between menstruation (more often 7-10 days before its onset), spotting after sexual intercourse.
Treatment includes hormonal therapy and coagulation of areas of endometriosis using special devices.
In ovarian endometriosis, the organ is affected by endometrioid cysts. In this case, first of all, a special danger lies in the depletion of the reserve of follicles. With ovarian endometriosis, reproductive function suffers, and the ovulation process is disrupted. This type of infertility is practically incurable, therefore, in the event of sharp, stabbing pains felt in the lower abdomen, an urgent need to consult a doctor.Pain can appear during intercourse or immediately after it. For diagnostics, ultrasound is used, which is performed several times during the menstrual cycle.
For the treatment of ovarian endometriosis, the method of laparoscopy is used, which allows the cyst and affected tissues to be removed as gently and gently as possible.
Endometriosis of the peritoneum
When the endometriotic tissue areas grows outside the uterus, not the peritoneum of the small pelvis, without affecting the genitals, the pathological process is called peritoneal endometriosis of the peritoneum.With endometriosis of the peritoneum, pain in the pelvic region is felt, which increases when using the toilet, during menstruation and during intercourse.
The reason for its occurrence is violations during retrograde menstruation, advanced endometriosis of other organs, deviations that have arisen during the period of fetal development. This is a particularly difficult type of disease to diagnose.
The development of endometrial cells in the vagina can affect not only the cervix, but also its walls, as well as the external genital organs.Wounds, abrasions, and inflammatory processes provoke the development of vaginal endometriosis. With such a pathological process, pain and spotting are felt during intercourse.
The disease is detected during a gynecological examination and is treated with medication by prescribing hormonal drugs and removing inflammation. In the absence of a result, it is possible to carry out surgical procedures.
Mixed rectovaginal endometriosis
With this form of endometriosis, damage to the tissues of the genitals, vagina, cervix and the uterus itself is observed.Endometriotic cells invade the rectal tissue. The disease is characterized by large-scale organ damage, impaired reproductive function. During menstruation, blood may be found in the stool. There is an increased soreness when the natural needs of the body are sent. Diagnostics is carried out during examination and examination of all affected organs. In this case, only surgical treatment is indicated.
Endometriosis of the urinary bladder
One of the rarest forms of the disease is urinary wall endometriosis.The cause of the disease is retrograde menstruation and the throwing of endometrial cells along with blood, as well as germination through other organs affected by the disease. Bladder involvement is often asymptomatic, but since the disease most often begins in the uterus or vagina, pain is felt.
In many cases, the cause of bladder infection is neglected endometriosis, which leads to the lack of timely examination and the omission of regular examinations by the gynecologist.Timely diagnosis is carried out by cystoscopy. When examining, it is important to exclude cystitis, which in some cases has a similar clinical picture.
Prevention of endometriosis
As with other diseases, prevention of endometriosis is important for every woman. You need to maintain your immune system, lead a healthy lifestyle, eat right, include physical activity in your schedule, and stop smoking and alcohol. In case of violations of the menstrual cycle, the appearance of painful sensations, it is necessary to undergo a comprehensive diagnosis.The correct selection of contraceptives can stop the development of the disease in the early stages.
Important! With endometriosis, a woman’s reproductive function is significantly affected. Infertility develops, the process of attachment of the fetus to the wall of the uterus is disrupted, the carrying rate decreases and the likelihood of pathological childbirth increases, therefore it is very important to start treatment in the early stages of the disease.
To avoid lengthy, complicated, and possibly surgical treatment of endometriosis, make it a rule to visit your family doctor regularly at one of the IMMA clinics.Timely detection of the disease gives an almost 100% guarantee of cure. IMMA clinics are equipped with everything you need, and qualified specialists will carry out the entire examination cycle in the shortest possible time.
Even if endometriosis has developed after surgery, early detection will help localize the disease at an early stage and fully preserve all body functions. Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt, increased painful sensations or bloody discharge, hurry to make an appointment with a doctor.Your health is the most important and precious thing in your life.
90,000 8 things about critical days that not every woman knows
Despite the fact that most women menstruate with a frequency of once a month, not everyone still knows about how it all works. No, every woman imagines when her period will come and what to do in this situation. But there are facts about which almost no one ever speaks openly. Here are eight such facts.
The length of the menstrual cycle is not constant
Moreover, it differs not only from woman to woman, but also from month to month for the same woman.On average, the number of days between periods is 28, but the onset can be expected between 21 and 35 days. It is necessary to count from the first day after the end of the previous menstruation and from that moment to ovulation it can take from one to those weeks. But the second phase – after ovulation – lasts about 14 days for each woman. And yes, it is absolutely normal that periods come at different intervals from month to month, since they are influenced by a lot of factors.
Some women may feel ovulation
Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary into the abdominal cavity as a result of rupture of a mature follicle.For most women, it goes unnoticed, but it is absolutely normal to feel its symptoms. These symptoms may include mild abdominal pain, as well as an increase in basal body temperature and breast tenderness.
Menstrual cramps can be not only in the abdomen
Specific “dull” pain in the muscles, which often accompany menstruation, are manifested not only in the abdomen. They can be given in the lower back and in the hips and in general in the legs up to the knees.This is because the nerve endings in the abdominal region are connected and twitching at one end of this network of nerves often triggers a reaction at the other.
Sex almost never relieves menstrual colic
An unknown person spread the myth that menstrual colic can be reduced by sex during menstruation is a myth and only a very small percentage of women feel relief (and even then it can be associated with self-hypnosis) … But scientists have definitely established that sex at this moment is highly likely to cause uterine spasms, especially if sperm gets inside.And yes, sex during menstruation can be just physiologically unpleasant, not enjoyable, for some women.
During ovulation, men often find women more attractive
True, this is not connected with the appearance – it is connected with the smell. Studies by a number of scientists have shown that men who sniff the clothes women wore during ovulation significantly increased testosterone levels, which is responsible for the desire to reproduce. Many women also report increased desire during ovulation.Both fit perfectly into the logic of Nature.
Menstruation “settles” up to a year after stopping taking the pills
Most of the pills that prevent pregnancy suppress ovulation and contain artificial hormones that “replace” natural ones, preventing new life from appearing. If you stop taking the pills, the body itself will begin to produce the necessary hormones itself and return ovulation, but this takes time. At least six months – this is the period that most doctors take for the body to “settle down” itself and before that time they will not undertake to diagnose menstrual irregularities (at least they should not).Theoretically, it is possible to become pregnant immediately after giving up the pills, although this does not happen very often.
There are natural remedies for relieving the symptoms of menstruation
True, their effect is mainly revealed only in studies, and in real life all these percentages and “in most cases” are not of particular interest to anyone. But science’s sake – calcium soothes menstrual cramps and vitamin D improves mood. Magnesium reduces irritability and muscle pain. The complex of vitamins B has also proven itself well.Finally, many herbal teas are also “seen” in the fact that they facilitate the course of menstruation, although science does not undertake to explain the mechanism of action in their case. It may very well be that they are as effective as homeopathic medicines – that is, based on the placebo effect (self-hypnosis). However, herbal teas will not harm you 100%, you can safely drink them.
Chances of having a yeast infection during menstruation are reduced
This is because menstrual blood raises the pH in the vagina, making it difficult for “living things”, including infections, to survive.However, in a number of cases, the “game of hormones” leads to the fact that, on the contrary, only during menstruation do infections develop, which manifests itself in a characteristic “fishy” smell and an increased level of secretions. In this case, you should consult a doctor.
90,000 Pain during menstruation: what to do?
Painful periods are manifested in the form of throbbing or spasmodic pains in the lower abdomen. Moreover, in many women, they appear not only during menstruation, but also right in front of them. In medical terminology, this phenomenon is called dysmenorrhea.Some women experience only minor but very annoying discomfort. Others are less fortunate – menstrual cramps can be so severe that they are simply incapacitated for a few days. And so every month.
The symptoms of this condition are not limited to pain in the lower abdomen. But in general they include:
- Pulsating or cramping pain, sometimes very severe,
- Pain may appear 1-3 days before the onset of the menstrual cycle. It reaches its peak 24 hours after the onset of menstruation, and decreases after 2-3 days,
- The pain is dull and continuous,
- Sometimes painful sensations spread to the lower back and thighs.
Dysmenorrhea is a condition in which a woman may develop additional symptoms. These include:
When is the best time to see a gynecologist?
If the pain of your period every month puts you out of action for several days, or if the symptoms gradually worsen, see a doctor. In addition, you need to go to the gynecologist if severe seizures appear at the age of 25 and older.
What are the causes of dysmenorrhea?
During the menstrual cycle, the uterus contracts to expel the tissues of its own mucous membrane, which is then renewed.Contractions of the uterus cause hormone-like substances – prostaglandins. They take an active part in the inflammatory processes that affect the uterus during menstruation. Painful sensations appear precisely because of the activation of prostaglandins. The higher their level, the more painful periods.
In addition, severe pain can appear due to:
- Endometriosis – when the tissues lining the uterus grow beyond its limits. Typically, these tissues grow into the fallopian (fallopian) tubes, ovaries, or tissues lining the pelvis.
- Fibroids (fibroids) of the uterus. These are benign neoplasms in the walls of the uterus that can cause pain during menstruation.
- Adenomyosis. In this case, the tissues lining the uterus begin to grow into the muscular walls of the uterus.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease. It is an infection that affects the organs of the female reproductive system. It is usually caused by a sexually transmitted bacterium.
- Cervical canal stenosis. In some women, the opening in the cervix is so small that it prevents menstrual blood from flowing out.With stenosis of the cervical canal, the pressure in the uterus increases, which causes pain.
Risk factors for developing dysmenorrhea
A woman is more likely to experience this condition if:
- She smokes,
- She is less than 30 years old,
- She had early puberty that began at age 11 years or younger,
- During her period, she has heavy bleeding (menorrhagia),
- She has irregular periods (metrorrhagia),
- Someone in her family already suffered from dysmenorrhea.
Menstrual cramps themselves do not cause complications, but they bring a lot of discomfort and interfere with social and work activities. However, some disorders that are associated with dysmenorrhea can lead to complications. For example, endometriosis can lead to infertility. With pelvic inflammatory disease, scars may form on the fallopian tubes. This increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
Diagnosis and treatment of dysmenorrhea
During a pelvic examination, the doctor examines the reproductive organs for structural abnormalities or signs of infection.If the doctor suspects that the patient has some kind of disorder that led to pain during menstruation, she will be prescribed one or more tests. These tests include:
- Ultrasound , which will show the uterus, cervix, as well as the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
- X-ray tests : computed tomography or MRI. These diagnostic methods “produce” more detailed images and are very helpful in diagnosing disorders.
- Laparoscopy . During laparoscopy, the doctor looks into the patient’s abdominal cavity and examines the organs of the reproductive system. With this procedure, doctors can detect endometriosis, adhesions, fibroids, cysts in the ovaries, or an ectopic pregnancy. During laparoscopy, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the abdomen into which thin tubes with an optical system at the tip are inserted.
Treatment of dysmenorrhea
To relieve seizures, your doctor may recommend:
- Taking painkillers.These drugs (ibuprofen or naproxen) must be taken at the usual dosage. Also, to alleviate the condition, doctors prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Start taking painkillers on the day your period starts, or from the moment the first painful sensations appear. These drugs are recommended to be taken only as directed by your doctor. Usually they are taken for 2-3 days, or until the spasms disappear.
- Hormonal contraceptives. Oral contraceptives contain hormones that prevent ovulation and relieve pain during menstruation.These drugs can be taken in other forms as well: in the form of injections, skin patches, vaginal rings, intrauterine devices, or implants placed under the skin.
- Operation. If the cause of dysmenorrhea is hidden in endometriosis or uterine fibroids, surgery will help solve this problem. If other options do not help and the patient does not plan to have children, then surgery to remove the uterus is suggested.
How to help yourself at home?
In addition to getting adequate sleep and rest, the following guidelines can be helpful in combating menstrual abdominal pain:
- Move regularly.Any physical activity, including sex, helps some women.
- Use heat. Apply hot water bottles or water bottles to your lower abdomen to relieve menstrual cramps.
- Resist stress. Psychological stress not only increases the risk of developing dysmenorrhea, but also increases pain.
- Try supplements. Several studies have shown that taking vitamin E, B-1, B-6, as well as magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, reduces menstrual abdominal pain.It is important to note that self-administration of any supplements, even the most harmless at first glance, is not recommended.