Why do i have bad cramps: Menstrual cramps – Symptoms and causes
Menstrual cramps – Symptoms and causes
Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) are throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Many women have menstrual cramps just before and during their menstrual periods.
For some women, the discomfort is merely annoying. For others, menstrual cramps can be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month.
Conditions such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids can cause menstrual cramps. Treating the cause is key to reducing the pain. Menstrual cramps that aren’t caused by another condition tend to lessen with age and often improve after giving birth.
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Symptoms of menstrual cramps include:
- Throbbing or cramping pain in your lower abdomen that can be intense
- Pain that starts 1 to 3 days before your period, peaks 24 hours after the onset of your period and subsides in 2 to 3 days
- Dull, continuous ache
- Pain that radiates to your lower back and thighs
Some women also have:
- Loose stools
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if:
- Menstrual cramps disrupt your life every month
- Your symptoms progressively worsen
- You just started having severe menstrual cramps after age 25
During your menstrual period, your uterus contracts to help expel its lining. Hormonelike substances (prostaglandins) involved in pain and inflammation trigger the uterine muscle contractions. Higher levels of prostaglandins are associated with more-severe menstrual cramps.
Menstrual cramps can be caused by:
- Endometriosis. The tissue that lines your uterus becomes implanted outside your uterus, most commonly on your fallopian tubes, ovaries or the tissue lining your pelvis.
- Uterine fibroids. These noncancerous growths in the wall of the uterus can cause pain.
- Adenomyosis. The tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow into the muscular walls of the uterus.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease. This infection of the female reproductive organs is usually caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.
- Cervical stenosis. In some women, the opening of the cervix is small enough to impede menstrual flow, causing a painful increase of pressure within the uterus.
You might be at risk of menstrual cramps if:
- You’re younger than age 30
- You started puberty early, at age 11 or younger
- You bleed heavily during periods (menorrhagia)
- You have irregular menstrual bleeding (metrorrhagia)
- You have a family history of menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
- You smoke
Menstrual cramps don’t cause other medical complications, but they can interfere with school, work and social activities.
Certain conditions associated with menstrual cramps can have complications, though. For example, endometriosis can cause fertility problems. Pelvic inflammatory disease can scar your fallopian tubes, increasing the risk of a fertilized egg implanting outside of your uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
April 08, 2020
- Smith RP, et al. Dysmenorrhea in adult women: Clinical features and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 1, 2020.
- Dysmenorrhea. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/menstrual-abnormalities/dysmenorrhea#v1062408. Accessed Dec. 26, 2017.
- Smith RP, et al. Dysmenorrhea in adult women: Treatment. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 1, 2020.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ046. Dysmenorrhea: Painful periods. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/gynecologic-problems/dysmenorrhea-painful-periods. Accessed April 1, 2020.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee Opinion No. 760: Dysmenorrhea and endometriosis in the adolescent. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018; doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000002978.
- Period pain: Overview. PubMedHealth. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279324/. Accessed April 1, 2020.
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Cramps but No Period: What Are The Causes?
What Causes Cramps with No Period?
Lots of women get pelvic pain and cramping, but your period isn’t always to blame. Cysts, constipation, pregnancy — even cancer — can make it feel like your monthly visitor is about to stop by.
It can be tough to tell whether having cramps without a period is caused by something simple or more serious. But there are common reasons for cramping without your period.
An inflammatory bowel disease (like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
What it is: You get long-term (chronic) swelling and irritation in different parts of your digestive tract. It happens when something goes haywire in your immune system. It isn’t the same as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Crohn’s can affect any part of your digestive tract (including your mouth). Ulcerative colitis involves only the large intestine (colon).
What the cramps feel like: It depends on the type of IBD you have. With Crohn’s, you’ll feel cramps and pain in the right lower or middle parts of your belly. They can be mild to severe. If you have ulcerative colitis, the cramps will be on the lower left side of your stomach.
Other symptoms: Which ones you have depend on the specific type of IBD. They include:
What it is: If you haven’t gone through menopause and still have your ovaries, you might get cramps mid-month, about 10-14 days before your period. This happens when your ovaries release an egg to ready your body for a possible pregnancy. The harmless twinge of discomfort is called “mittelschmerz,” which means middle pain.
What the cramps feel like:You’ll notice pain on one side of your lower belly. It lasts a few minutes to a few hours. It can be sharp and sudden, or you might just have a dull cramp. The side of the pain depends on which ovary released the egg. It may switch sides every month or strike the same place each time.
Other symptoms: There aren’t any.
Ruptured ovarian cyst
What it is: A cyst is a sac of fluid. Sometimes they form on your ovaries. One type, called a follicular cyst, breaks open to release an egg and later dissolves in your body. If this doesn’t happen, a different cyst can form. Most are harmless. But if one grows large, it could burst.
What the cramps feel like: A ruptured cyst doesn’t always cause pain. If it does, you might have sudden, sharp cramps on either side of your lower stomach below the belly button. The location depends on which ovary had the cyst.
Other symptoms: You may also have some spotting. Before the cyst ruptures, you may feel pain or pressure in your lower belly, thighs, or lower back.
What it is: Your growing baby is attaching to the lining of your womb, or uterus. This is called “implantation pain,” and it’s a sign of pregnancy progress.
What the cramps feel like:You might have a few slight cramps about 4 weeks into your pregnancy — around the time when you’d get your period. If you aren’t sure whether you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to take a test.
Other symptoms: There are none. If you’re pregnant, you might start to feel queasy around the fifth or sixth week.
What it is: This is when a baby grows somewhere other than your womb. Most often it happens in one of your two fallopian tubes. It’s life-threatening for the mother and can’t result in a live birth.
What the cramps feel like: You may have mild cramps followed by sudden, sharp, stabbing pains on one side of your lower belly. The pain can get so severe that you also feel it in your shoulder and lower back.
Other symptoms:Before the cramps, you may have had typical pregnancy signs, like nausea and sore breasts. But not all women with an ectopic pregnancy have those. You might not even know you’re pregnant.
What it is: It’s the loss of an unborn baby before the 20th week of pregnancy.
What the cramps feel like:They might start out like period pains, and then get more severe.
Other symptoms: You may have vaginal bleeding or spotting. Some pregnant women have these symptoms but don’t miscarry. But if you’re expecting and either one happens, always call your doctor.
What it is:This is a long-term (chronic) condition in which tissue similar to your womb’s lining attach to other organs and begin to grow.
What the cramps feel like: They seem like regular period cramps, but they can happen any time of month. You may also have cramps and pain in your low back and stomach below your belly button.
Other symptoms:Sex that involves deep penetration may be painful. Some women have painful bowel movements. Endometriosis can make it hard to get pregnant.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
What it is:It’s a bacterial infection that’s usually spread by sex. It affects the parts that help you conceive and grow a baby. This includes your fallopian tubes, womb, ovaries, vagina, and cervix.
What the cramps feel like: You’ll have pain on both sides of your lower belly and lower back. It can happen any time of the month.
Other symptoms:PID causes abnormal vaginal discharge and, sometimes, spotting. You might have pain or burning during sex or when you pee. Your periods might be heavier or longer. You might run a fever or have nausea and vomiting. You’ll need to get the disease treated by a doctor.
Pelvic-floor muscle dysfunction
What it is: Severe spasms happen in the muscles that support your bladder, womb, vagina, and rectum. It can happen after you have trauma with vaginal childbirth or after an injury, like a car accident.
What the cramps feel like: They’re severe — like sudden leg cramps in your lower belly. You may also have ongoing pain in your groin and back.
Other symptoms:You might have pain during your periods or sex, a burning feeling in the vagina, and problems pushing out stools. It could burn when you pee, or you may have a strong urge to go all the time. If you have these symptoms, see a doctor for a urine test to rule out a bladder infection. If you have one, the doctor will see bacteria in your urine.
What it is: This long-term condition affects your bladder. Some doctors call it “painful bladder syndrome.”
What the cramps feel like: You’ll notice them in your lower stomach (pelvic) area and in your genitals, along with pain and tenderness. They’ll get worse as your bladder gets full and when it’s almost time for your period.
Other symptoms: You’ll feel like you have to pee a lot, and it’ll be urgent. Sex might also hurt.
Irritable bowel syndrome
What it is: This disorder causes stomach pain and bloating with diarrhea, constipation, or both.
What the cramps feel like: They’re sudden and in your belly. They might go away after you poop. Your specific pain will depend on whether you have constipation or diarrhea. You might go back and forth between the two or only have one type. Symptoms usually get worse during your period.
Other symptoms:You might feel pressure, like you tried to go, but couldn’t fully empty your bowels. You might feel sick to your stomach, have gas, or spot mucus in your poop.
What it is:It’s irritation and swelling of a small pouch (appendix) on the end of your large intestine.
What the cramps feel like:You may notice pain around your belly button at first. Then, it gets worse and moves to the right lower side of your stomach. Cramps get bad fast, and they may wake you up. It could hurt if you cough, sneeze, or move.
Other symptoms:About half of people with appendicitis also have a fever, feel sick in their stomach, or throw up. Medical treatment is a must. A burst appendix can be life-threatening.
What it is:This type of cancer starts in the ovaries, the organs that make your eggs.
What the cramps feel like: Vague. You may write the pain off as something else, like constipation or gas. But the hurting and pressure in your lower belly won’t go away.
Other symptoms: Your belly may swell so much that you find it hard to button your pants. You might get full quickly when you eat and notice a strong, frequent need to pee. See a doctor if you have these symptoms for more than 2 weeks.
Diagnosing Cramps with No Period
Always call a doctor if you have cramps that won’t go away, whether or not you have your period. (Get medical help right away if you have sudden, severe belly pain that continues to get worse.)
Your doctor will want to know if your pain is sudden or ongoing. The more details you can give, the faster they may be able to diagnose and treat you. You’ll be asked questions about your symptoms and your periods.
Your doctor may do tests or procedures to learn the cause of your cramps. If your doctor suspects it is related to your uterus, or ovaries, common tests are:
Laparoscopy, a type of exploratory surgery to look at the structures inside your pelvic area, including your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Your doctor may refer you to someone who specialize in stomach or intestinal disorders or a urologist if they suspect that cramps are caused by any of those areas .
How to relieve menstrual cramps, and why they happen
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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.
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.
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 anecdotal 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.
What It Is, Treatments, Causes
What is are menstrual cramps?
Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for pain with your period (menstruation) or menstrual cramps. There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the name for common menstrual cramps that come back over and over again (recurrent) and aren’t due to other diseases. Pain usually begins one or two days before you get your period or when bleeding actual starts. You may feel pain ranging from mild to severe in the lower abdomen, back or thighs.
Pain can typically last 12 to 72 hours, and you might have other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and even diarrhea. Common menstrual cramps may become less painful as you get older and may stop entirely if you have a baby.
If you have painful periods because of a disorder or an infection in your female reproductive organs, it is called secondary dysmenorrhea. Pain from secondary dysmenorrhea usually begins earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than common menstrual cramps. You usually don’t have nausea, vomiting, fatigue or diarrhea.
Symptoms and Causes
What causes painful menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps happen when a chemical called prostaglandin makes the uterus contract (tighten up). The uterus, the muscular organ where a baby grows, contracts throughout your menstrual cycle. During menstruation, the uterus contracts more strongly. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to muscle tissue. You feel pain when part of the muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.
How does secondary dysmenorrhea cause menstrual cramps?
Menstrual pain from secondary dysmenorrhea is a result of problems with the reproductive organs. Conditions that can cause cramping include:
- Endometriosis: A condition in which the tissue lining the uterus (the endometrium) is found outside of the uterus. Because these pieces of tissue bleed during your period, they can cause swelling, scarring and pain.
- Adenomyosis: A condition where the lining of the uterus grows into the muscle of the uterus. This condition can cause the uterus to get much bigger than it should be, along with abnormal bleeding and pain.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): An infection caused by bacteria that starts in the uterus and can spread to other reproductive organs. PID can cause pain in the stomach or pain during sex.
- Cervical stenosis: Narrowing of the cervix, or the opening to the uterus.
- Fibroids (benign tumors): Growths on the inside, outside or in the walls of the uterus
What are the symptoms of menstrual cramps?
If you have painful periods, you may have:
- Aching pain in the abdomen (pain may be severe at times).
- Feeling of pressure in the abdomen.
- Pain in the hips, lower back and inner thighs.
Diagnosis and Tests
How can you tell if the pain of your menstrual cramps is normal?
If you have severe or unusual menstrual cramps or cramps that last for more than two or three days, contact your healthcare provider. Both primary and secondary menstrual cramps can be treated, so it’s important to get checked.
First, you will be asked to describe your symptoms and menstrual cycles. Your healthcare provider will also perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, your provider inserts a speculum (an instrument that lets the provider see inside the vagina). The provider is able to examine your vagina, cervix and uterus. The doctor will feel for any lumps or changes. They may take a small sample of vaginal fluid for testing.
If your provider thinks you may have secondary dysmenorrhea, you may need additional tests, such as an ultrasound or a laparoscopy. If those tests indicate a medical problem, your healthcare provider will discuss treatments.
If you use tampons and develop the following symptoms, get medical help right away: over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dizziness, fainting or near fainting.
- A rash that looks like a sunburn.
These are symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening illness.
Management and Treatment
How can you relieve mild menstrual cramps?
To relieve mild menstrual cramps:
- For the best relief, take ibuprofen as soon as bleeding or cramping starts. Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They reduce the output of prostaglandins. If you can’t take NSAIDs, you can take another pain reliever like acetaminophen.
- Place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your lower back or abdomen.
- Rest when needed.
- Avoid foods that contain caffeine.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Massage your lower back and abdomen.
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 relieve pain, your healthcare provider can order medications for you, including ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medication in a higher dose that is available over the counter. Your healthcare provider might also suggest oral contraceptives since women who take oral contraceptives tend to have less menstrual pain.
If testing shows that you have secondary dysmenorrhea, your provider will discuss treatments of the condition causing the pain. This might mean oral contraceptives, other types of medications, or surgery.
What types of alternative therapies might help with menstrual cramping?
Women who have painful periods often try to find natural ways of dealing with the pain. Studies on alternative or complementary methods have not been conclusive about results. Remember that most supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Other methods that you might find useful include:
- Acupuncture and acupressure.
- Relaxation or breathing exercises.
Can you prevent menstrual cramps?
The answer is “probably not.” However, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise may help stop cramps from being as intense.
When should you contact your healthcare provider about menstrual cramps?
Bad cramps keep some women from working and going to school. You don’t have to suffer and you don’t have to put your life on hold. Contact your healthcare provider if you have painful periods.
It may be helpful to keep track of your periods and the days on which pain is the worst so you can make a complete report. If you notice other symptoms, like headaches or heavy flows, you should keep track of those, too.
Your provider will probably ask you when you started getting your period, how long they last, if you are sexually active, if other women in your family have problems with their periods and what kinds of treatments you might have tried already.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Menstruation is normal. You might get cramps, but you don’t have to suffer silently with them. There are ways to make painful periods less painful. Make sure you talk to your healthcare provider about painful periods.
7 Reasons for Painful Periods and Menstrual Cramps
What causes menstrual cramps? Most women ask this question at some time in their life. It seems that when it comes to that time of the month, mild cramps, bloating, and irritability — although nuisances — are all to be expected. However, crippling period pain, heavy bleeding, serious fatigue, and other symptoms that affect your quality of life are not.
With menstrual cramps, mild to intense abdominal cramping begins within 24 hours of the start of your period and continues for days. Symptoms of period pain include:
- Dull, constant ache
- Menstrual cramps that radiate to your lower back and thighs
- Throbbing or cramping pain in your uterus during the period
Some women also experience:
- Loose bowels
But what causes cramps during your period? Menstrual cramps are generally categorized as “primary dysmenorrhea,” which is caused by the elevated production of prostaglandins, hormones produced by the uterus that cause it to contract. When you have strong uterine contractions, the blood supply to the uterus is momentarily shut down, depriving the uterus muscle of oxygen and setting up the cycle of menstrual cramps and pain. Some studies show that women with severe menstrual cramps have stronger uterine contractions than others do when giving birth.
According to Mayo Clinic, certain conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease are associated with menstrual cramps. Endometriosis can cause fertility problems. Pelvic inflammatory disease can scar your fallopian tubes, which increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg implants outside your uterus. Other risk factors include use of an intrauterine device (IUD), uterine fibroid tumor, and sexually transmitted diseases.
If you have period pain, here are some home-care treatments to consider:
- Dietary supplements Some findings report that natural dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium may reduce period pain.
- Relaxation While emotional stress may increase your period pain, meditation and relaxation exercises can reduce their severity.
- Exercise Physical activity, particularly yoga, may ease the pain of menstrual cramps.
- Heat Try using a heating pad or microwaveable warm cozy on your abdomen during your period. Some find great period pain relief with a soak in a hot bath or shower.
- Stop smoking and avoid alcohol. Both substances have been found to make menstrual cramps much worse.
A study published in October 2017 in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies concluded that women who practiced yoga 30 minutes per day, two days a week, for 12 weeks at home had a significant improvement in menstrual pain and physical fitness over the control group. Another study, published in January 2017 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that Hatha yoga practice was associated with a reduction in levels of chronic pelvic pain in women with endometriosis.
If your periods are causing you significant pain, consult your doctor, because menstrual pain can be a sign of a serious problem. Here are seven conditions known to cause painful menstrual cramps.
Is this your child’s symptom?
- Cramps in the lower belly or pelvis. They start during the first 1 or 2 days of a girl’s period.
- Cramps only happen during menstrual bleeding
- Report of similar cramps in the past are helpful
- Cramps often don’t start until periods are present for over 1 year
- The medical name for painful cramping during a girl’s period is dysmenorrhea.
- Normal cramps happen in over 60% of girls.
- This cramping is caused by strong muscle squeezing of the uterus. This is triggered by a high prostaglandin (a hormone) level.
- An egg release from the ovary (ovulation) is needed to cause cramping. Therefore, the onset is most often 12 months or more after the first period.
- Medical causes of severe menstrual cramps include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and endometriosis. An ovarian cyst can also cause very bad cramping.
Age of Onset of Menstrual Cramps
- Peak age of onset: 1 to 2 years after periods first start
- During the first year after periods start, only 7% or less of teens will have cramping. Some of these girls will have a medical cause such as a blockage.
- Mild: Your child feels pain and tells you about it. But, the pain does not keep your child from any normal activities. School, play and sleep are not changed.
- Moderate: The pain keeps your child from doing some normal activities. It may wake her up from sleep.
- Severe: The pain is very bad. It keeps your child from doing all normal activities.
When to Call for Menstrual Cramps
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
- Pregnant or could be pregnant
- Not able to walk like normal
- More severe cramps than ever before
- Your teen looks or acts very sick
- You think your teen needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Vaginal discharge that is not normal started before period began
- Pain only on 1 side
- You think your teen needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Cramps last more than 3 days
- Cramps keep your teen from doing normal activities even after using pain medicine
- Vomiting or diarrhea also present
- Pelvic cramps happen when not bleeding
- You have other questions or concerns
Self Care at Home
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Care Advice for Menstrual Cramps
- What You Should Know About Menstrual Cramps:
- Cramps happen in over 60% of girls.
- Pain medicines can keep cramps to a mild level.
- Cramps can last 2 or 3 days.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Ibuprofen for Pain:
- Give 2 ibuprofen 200 mg tablets 3 times per day for 3 days.
- The first dose should be 3 tablets (600 mg) if the teen weighs over 100 pounds (45 kg).
- Take with food.
- Ibuprofen is a very good drug for cramps. Advil and Motrin are some of the brand names. No prescription is needed.
- The drug should be started as soon as there is any menstrual flow. If you can, start it the day before. Don’t wait for cramps to start.
- Note: acetaminophen products (such as Tylenol) are not helpful for menstrual cramps.
- Naproxen if Ibuprofen Doesn’t Help:
- If your teen has tried ibuprofen with no pain relief, switch to naproxen. No prescription is needed.
- Give 220 mg (1 tablet) every 8 hours for 2 or 3 days.
- The first dose should be 2 tablets (440 mg) if the teen weighs over 100 pounds (45 kg).
- Take with food.
- Use Heat for Pain:
- Use a heating pad or warm washcloth to the lower belly. Do this for 20 minutes 2 times per day. This may help to reduce pain.
- A warm bath may also help.
- Stay Active:
- It’s fine to go to school.
- Your teen can take part in sports during her period.
- She can also swim, bathe, or shower like normal.
- What to Expect:
- Cramps last 2 or 3 days.
- They will often happen with each period.
- The cramps sometimes go away for good after the first pregnancy and delivery.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Neither ibuprofen or naproxen helps the pain
- Cramps cause her to miss school or other events
- Pain lasts over 3 days
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.
Last Reviewed: 10/08/2021
Last Revised: 09/30/2021
Copyright 2000-2021. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.
Home Remedies & When to See a Doctor
Ah, the dreaded menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea. Most women who’ve had periods have also had these pains, which come on either a day or two before or during menstruation. One study of young college women showed about 84% had experienced menstrual pain; about 43% had it with every period. Menstrual cramps can be so severe for some women that they disrupt their daily lives, causing them to miss work, school or other obligations. When should you see a doctor for menstrual cramps relief?
Common Causes of Severe Menstrual Cramps
Most cramps are caused by menstruation itself. This type of period pain is called primary dysmenorrhea. During your period, your body produces hormones called prostaglandins that help your uterus shed its lining. The prostaglandins cause contractions, which you feel as cramps. Some women are believed to create more prostaglandins than others or be more sensitive to them, and thus have more cramps.
Other risk factors for dysmenorrhea are:
Having started your period early or late
Having long periods
Being new to menstruation (younger females tend to have more pain, which goes away as they get older)
Being a smoker (or secondhand smoker)
Never having been pregnant
Having a family history of painful menstrual cramps
Other conditions can cause cramps too. If your severe menstrual cramps are caused by something other than your period, you’re considered to have secondary dysmenorrhea. Some common conditions that can cause cramps are:
Menstrual Cramp Treatment at Home
You may be able to relieve your menstrual pain through at-home treatments, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, supplements, and lifestyle changes. Researchers also are studying other possible remedies, including Zumba dancing, yoga, and light therapy. More common menstrual cramp home treatments, which have been supported by research include:
Over-the-counter pain relievers: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, relieve pain and reduce prostaglandins. (If you have stomach problems, such as ulcers, or if you have an aspirin allergy, ask your doctor before taking NSAIDs.) Acetaminophen is not quite as effective, but can offer some pain relief.
Vitamin and mineral supplements: vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6 and omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) may cut pain. Magnesium also may help, but can have side effects and interact with many medications. Check with your doctor before taking magnesium.
Herbal medicine: pycnogenol and fennel.
Heat therapy: Taking a hot bath or using a hot water bottle, heating pad, heat wrap or other heat source of about 102 degrees Fahrenheit on your lower abdomen. (Place a cloth or wear clothes between your skin and the heat source to prevent skin irritation.) Studies show this can be as effective as ibuprofen for cutting pain.
Exercising at least 30 minutes daily, five days a week.
Reducing stress, such as by relaxing with yoga or meditation.
Getting enough rest.
Avoiding tobacco and alcohol.
When to See a Doctor for Menstrual Cramps
You’ve tried the home remedies, and still your cramps are interfering with your life. That’s one reason to make an appointment with your doctor to see what can be done. He or she might prescribe medications that can help, such as birth control pills or patches, or prescription-strength pain relievers. Other signs you need to visit your doctor include:
Your periods are getting heavier and cramps getting worse over a 2- to 3-month time period.
You experience pain when you’re not on your period.
Your period pain isn’t relieved by medication.
Your pain spreads to other parts of your body, such as into your back or down your leg.
Your cramps suddenly get worse.
You’re older than 25 and get severe cramps for the first time.
You have a fever along with your cramps.
Some signs that your menstrual cramps need immediate medical attention—as in, call 911 or get to the emergency room:
Severe pain, such as pain that causes you to double over
Heavy vaginal bleeding coupled with feeling faint or dizzy
Sudden chest pain or trouble breathing
Your pain is extreme and paired with excessive bleeding
You’re pregnant and having severe menstrual cramps
Who to See for Menstrual Cramps
A gynecologist is a specialist with expertise in the female reproductive system, so if you have a gynecologist this would be the doctor you would most likely turn to for menstrual cramp problems. Your primary care physician (usually a family practitioner or internist) may also be able to advise you concerning these questions or can refer you to a specialist (some insurance companies may require referral to a specialist first).
It’s always important to pay attention to your symptoms or to any changes in your health. You don’t have to live with very painful menstrual cramps. If cramps are disrupting your life, seek medical advice. Your doctor is your best resource for answering questions and providing treatment that can help relieve your dysmenorrhea symptoms.
90,000 Night cramps: causes and remedies
A sharp burning pain in the calf muscles is familiar to almost everyone. Painful sensations can be strong or weak, but they usually last only a few seconds. If the pain was severe, then after night cramps for another 1-3 days, pain in the legs during movement may bother you.
As a rule, nocturnal cramps affect only the calf muscles. In some cases, fingers, foot, thigh can be brought together. In essence, a cramp is a muscle contraction that occurs involuntarily and is accompanied by burning pain.In this case, the muscles become hard. Usually people in middle and older age face such a problem, but it is possible to experience seizures in childhood.
Causes of leg cramps at night:
1. Lack of certain substances: calcium, potassium, magnesium. This problem usually occurs in people who drink a lot of fluids during the day or sweat a lot. Along with excess fluid, the necessary elements are also excreted from the body. In addition, during pregnancy, a woman gives all the necessary substances to the developing fetus, which also provokes a lack of potassium, calcium and magnesium in the body.
2. Excess caffeine in the diet, smoking.
3. Lack of vitamin D, which contributes to better absorption of calcium by the body. A lack of calcium can cause this unpleasant phenomenon. Vitamin D is produced by the body through exposure to sunlight. In places where the sun is rare, for example, in the north, people are often faced with a lack of this vitamin.
4. An excess of cortisol, which is produced during depression and stress.Cortisol is a hormone that inhibits the absorption of calcium from food, and also increases its excretion through the kidneys.
5. Curvature of the foot due to trauma, flat feet.
6. Taking medications for heartburn, gastritis, intestinal disorders also interferes with the normal absorption of trace elements from food intake, which as a result leads to nocturnal cramps.
7. The presence of a disease such as varicose veins.
8. Taking proteins for building muscle mass.An overabundance of protein in the diet leads to the appearance of ketosis, which becomes the main reason for the elimination of calcium from the body.
What to do in case of cramps in the calves:
1. As soon as the pain makes itself felt, you need to grab your toes with your hands and pull towards yourself, hold your fingers in this position for about a minute. Then slightly relax your legs and pull your toes again.
2. Pinch the muscle with your fingers to relax a little.
3.Massage the muscle using a warming ointment.
4. If the pain is not very severe, then you should get out of bed and walk barefoot on the cool floor.
5. Raise your legs, placing them on a soft pillow to start the blood outflow.
To avoid the appearance of a problem in the future, you need to take a full-fledged vitamin complex, enrich the diet with seafood, dairy products, fresh herbs, and fruits. If cramps at night have become a frequent occurrence, then you need to see a doctor.
The doctor told whether to be afraid of seizures in a dream
The doctor told whether to be afraid of seizures in a dream
The doctor told whether to be afraid of seizures in a dream – RIA Novosti, 08/31/2020
The doctor said whether to be afraid of seizures in a dream
In a dream, a person relaxes, which is accompanied by short convulsions. In what cases – there is nothing wrong with that, and when it is a sign of illness, she said… RIA Novosti, 31.08.2020
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MOSCOW, Aug 31 – RIA Novosti. In a dream, a person relaxes, which is accompanied by short convulsions.In some cases, there is nothing to worry about, but when it is a sign of illness, the head of the Unison sleep service, neurologist-sleep specialist Elena Tsareva told radio Sputnik. An involuntary muscle contraction during falling asleep is a normal phenomenon. It’s called myoclonus and is found in many, if not all, people. From the point of view of neurology, this is not a disease and there is no need to treat it. According to her, myoclonus should not be confused with restless legs syndrome, which is characterized by tension that causes an intolerable urge to move.It occurs at rest in the evening or at night. Improper nutrition can provoke it. “This can be especially true if a person drinks a lot of caffeine amid stress. Tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks at night can provoke physical activity, since caffeine affects the receptors that are responsible for this. People with restless legs syndrome, refusing caffeine, solve their problems, if it is a mild degree, “Elena Tsareva clarified in an interview with Sputnik radio. But if a change in diet does not help, and muscle contraction occurs more than one or two times, then this is already a sign of illness.”If four seizures in a row after a period of time, then this may already be a neurological disease or a concomitant state of restless legs syndrome. This can provoke stress,” the somnologist said.
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MOSCOW, Aug 31 – RIA Novosti. In a dream, a person relaxes, which is accompanied by short convulsions. In what cases – there is nothing terrible in this, and when it is a sign of illness, the head of the Unison somnological service, neurologist-somnologist Elena Tsareva, told radio Sputnik.
Involuntary muscle contraction while falling asleep is normal. It’s called myoclonus and is found in many, if not all, people. From the point of view of neurology, this is not a disease and there is no need to treat it.
“Before falling asleep, we flinch.This is called myoclonus. This is one or two flinching of the whole body, or some part. It is believed that this is a release of stress accumulated during the day. It is not necessary to treat it, it is not a pathology, it does not speak of any diseases. One or two seizures does not affect either quality or life expectancy, “Elena Tsareva told Sputnik radio.
According to her, myoclonus should not be confused with restless legs syndrome, which is characterized by tension that causes an intolerable desire to move.It occurs at rest in the evening or at night. Improper nutrition can provoke it.
“This can be especially true if a person drinks a lot of caffeine during stress. Tea, coffee, chocolate and energy drinks at night can provoke physical activity, since caffeine affects the receptors that are responsible for this. People with restless legs syndrome, withdrawing caffeine , solve their problems if it is a mild degree, “Elena Tsareva clarified in an interview with Sputnik radio. July 29, 2020, 13:45 The doctor named the main causes of leg cramps
, then this is already a sign of illness.
“If four seizures in a row after a period of time, then this may already be a neurological disease or a concomitant state of restless legs syndrome. This can provoke stress,” the somnologist believes.
Which doctor should I go to in case of painful cramps in the leg muscles
Neurologists of Moscow – latest reviews
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04 October 2021
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Show 10 reviews of 15,053 90,000 Cramps in the legs at night – causes and treatment
You may have noticed more than once that the calves, abdomen, legs or arms began to move on their own when the muscles involuntarily contract or excessively tense.This happens most often at night. This can be due to muscle fatigue, nervous tension, repetitive sedentary work, prolonged walking or swimming, dehydration, and other various diseases. It is important to understand what kind of signal your body is transmitting.
There are two types of seizures: clonic, in which the muscles quickly contract and then relax, and tonic, which is characterized by more prolonged muscle tension.Both types occur due to a number of infectious diseases, poisoning, intoxication, craniocerebral trauma, metabolic disorders, neuroses, blood diseases, heart disease, deficiency of vitamins and trace elements. If a cramp occurs frequently over a prolonged period, it is important to see a doctor to determine the cause. Although the specific reasons why cramps of the calf muscles occur at night are still unknown (they happen even in the absence of any diseases), we will analyze the most popular of them:
Moisture is lost in the summer, in the sauna, during exercise.During this, sweating increases, the body loses fluid. In addition, in the treatment of heart failure, diuretics have to be used, which can also cause cramps in the calves at night, since the body loses potassium, magnesium, sodium, which are necessary for the correct transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and relaxation.
Imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory signals
This happens with a decrease in the formation of adenosine triphosphoric acid (ATP), therefore metabolic processes inside the muscles of the lower extremities deteriorate, the muscles cease to relax well.Metabolic processes begin to slow down due to changes in blood viscosity, vascular pathology, muscle fatigue, which increases the reflex to contraction.
High body temperature up to +38 .. + 39C
Poisoning by waste products of microbes becomes the cause.
During stress, adrenaline is produced, breathing quickens, which leads to a decrease in carbon dioxide levels and convulsive muscle contractions.
When the heel is tilted inward and causes a curvature in the ankle joint, the legs begin to tire quickly over time, they feel heaviness, knees, calves hurt, the veins of the feet and legs dilate. At night, the legs are cold, numb, cramps occur.
This disease affects the nerves. The cause is viral diseases, hypovitaminosis, intoxication, metabolic disorders in diabetes.During this disease, leg cramps occur, sometimes numbness of the limbs. Pain in the head, dizziness, hearing loss, discomfort in the heart region, increased irritability are other signs of the disease.
In this disease, the veins expand, reaching a large diameter. This occurs when the venous valves are weakened, the blood stagnates strongly and begins to stretch the walls of the veins. The calves swell and cause cramps at night.Legs can also ache, itch, and fatigue will be constantly felt in them. To prevent night cramps, stimulate circulation, it is worth giving your legs moderate physical activity, walking. It is worth purchasing special stockings or tights. It is necessary to abandon a tight belt, do not sit cross-legged. In addition, in late pregnancy, the veins in the legs, thighs, and perineum can expand, which can cause severe bleeding during childbirth.
The parathyroid glands regulate phosphoric acid metabolism in the body.Since they are located next to the thyroid gland, they are often damaged during surgery on it. Signs of hypoparathyroidism: muscle spasms, cramps of the feet, fingers, abdominal pain, loose stools, allergies, irritability, sleep impairment. The cause of painful, repetitive cramps in the calves is a lack of calcium caused by hypoparathyroidism. Calcium is found in cheese, milk powder, soybeans, nuts, cabbage, cream, beans, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Nails become brittle, immunity worsens, memory suffers, blood coagulates poorly.Vitamin D is also needed, which promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It is found in fish oil, cod liver, herring, tuna, cheese, cottage cheese.
A disease in which the veins of the rectum become dilated and pinched. This happens with constipation, a sedentary lifestyle, lifting various weights. The disease makes itself felt with a deficiency of magnesium, vitamins C, K, R. Pain or bleeding appears during bowel movements, leg cramps occur, and bruises form on the body.With such a disease, it is important to make up for the magnesium deficiency, which is found in wheat bran, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, nuts and lentils. It is also worth building your diet so that it is rich in vitamins C, K, R.
Before choosing a treatment, you should accurately identify the cause of their occurrence. The nature of the underlying disease is usually taken into account. Often, a special diet is prescribed as a concomitant treatment so that it contains more essential vitamins. There is currently no drug developed that can target seizures.If there is a disease that causes convulsions, the right therapy will eliminate both the underlying ailment and the symptoms.
Regardless of whether you have a disease that causes leg cramps or not, you should do some simple exercises before bed.
- To stretch the calf muscles, place the front of your feet on a small ledge (a low stack of books), stick to a table or chair.
- Press your heels to the floor, wait 10-20 seconds. Repeat the exercise with your toes together, your heels apart, and then your toes apart, your heels together.
- Pull the socks towards you as cramping approaches to stretch and relax your calves.
- If your leg is still bent, stand up, bring your bridged leg back, place your toes on the floor and gently press with your body weight to relax your calf muscles.
- To eliminate the convulsive contractions of the muscles, apply hot honey to the caviar, wrap the legs with cling film. Rinse off after 30 minutes.
- Lubricate your feet at night with lemon juice, let it absorb. Repeat for 1-2 weeks.
- To treat varicose veins, rub the affected vessels with apple cider vinegar for a month.
- To prevent cramping, mix the egg yolk, 1 tsp. turpentine, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Rub the ointment into your calves before bed.
Why does the legs cramp, and how to deal with it
Convulsions during swimming are not uncommon. Involuntary muscle spasm while swimming, sharp pain and a feeling of stone-like muscle cramps are what cramps are like. They can last for several minutes, and then painful sensations remain for some time.
We will tell you about the causes of seizures during swimming and what to do with them.
Why do swimming cramps occur
Most often in the pool, the calf muscles, sometimes the foot or thigh, are reduced. There are many reasons for the occurrence of seizures: some are associated with problems that are easier to track down and fix, and some with more serious pathologies.
Those that are easier to fix:
- a sudden high load or a sharp increase in the volume of training;
- Overwork after an unusually long workout;
- unusual movements;
- hypothermia and vasoconstriction caused by them;
- Insufficient or no warm-up, insufficient cool-down and stretching.
Those that may be associated with malfunctions in the body:
- Injury of muscles or ligaments;
- Vascular spasms due to stress, emotional decline, overexertion or illness;
- deficiency of trace elements in the body, namely potassium, calcium and magnesium.
What to do if the muscles of the legs are tight in the pool
- Don’t panic.
In a pool, it is much easier to overcome cramps and wait out them from a safety point of view than in open water.The swimmer has the opportunity to swim to the nearest side – and this should be done.
- You need to get out on the side, because in the water it is more difficult to relieve pain.
The main thing is to stretch the muscle. You have to do this, overcoming the pain. If the calf muscle is brought together, then it is necessary to sharply and strongly pull the toes towards you and hold the foot like this for 10-15 seconds. The pain will subside, and after that you need to stretch and massage the muscle with your fingers. Here it is no longer necessary to be zealous – only calm and clear movements.
Painful sensations in the muscle and something similar to weakness may remain for some time – it is good in this case to apply ice, although it is unlikely that it will be possible to get it in the pool. But you can hold your foot under the ice water in the shower.
You can stretch the muscle in this way, even while staying in the water. For example, clinging to the side and resting your foot on it, or simply standing on the bottom.
Training plans for marathon and half marathon. Download and start preparing today.
photo: Delly Carr / source: swimmingworldmagazine.com
What to do if your muscles are tight in open water
Again, don’t panic. It is better not to try convulsively to row to the shore, especially if it is far away and the cramp is severe. There are two ways to relieve pain in open water.
- Lie on your back and pull your knee to your chest, grab your foot and pull your toes towards you. Wait for the end of the cramp, then slowly, trying not to strain your leg, swim to the shore.
- Get into the float position, taking in more air and sinking headlong into the water.Grasp the big toe, which was twisted by the cramp, and straighten the leg at the knee. Hold this until the end of the convulsion – the air should not run out earlier. Then find a way to stretch the muscle – on land or lying on your back in the water.
If a spasm grabbed you in open water during a competition, then you will be kept in the water by a wetsuit – you cannot drown in it, and all the mentioned manipulations can be done with ease. If everything is really bad, raise your hand so that the rescuer sees you.
Additional measures against seizures
Two life hacks will help with cramps, not only during swimming, but also in any situations.
- Inject the contracted muscle.
This proven hiking method explains why many hikers carry a safety pin pinned to their clothing. In conditions of extreme physical exertion with a constant nutritional deficiency, seizures are common. If you prick a contracted muscle with something sharp, a sharp painful irritation will stop the spasm.
It is not necessary to prick strongly, deeply and many times. Remember that this is a rather extreme field method, a last resort, because with a needle you can infect an infection.
- Pinch or bite your lip.
A slightly odd piece of advice relies on the intricate connections in our bodies – the impact on the points, as in Chinese medicine. By pinching the middle of the upper lip, you can relax the muscles and alleviate pain in the upper body. Squeezing the middle of the lower lip, we act on the lower body.
Cramps when swimming in the thigh, in the arm, in the abdomen
- If the muscles of the front of the thigh have brought together, then you need to pull the leg bent at the knee to the buttock and press hard. Then knead.
- If the muscles of the hand have clenched, you need to vigorously squeeze and unclench your fingers.
- If the forearm is cramped, it is recommended to vigorously clench and unclench the fist.
- If your abdominal muscles have contracted, you should try to vigorously bend and unbend your knees, pulling them to your chest at the moment of bending.
In the case of any muscle contracted by a spasm, the principle is one – stretch, wait for the end of the spasm, stretch
Prevention of seizures during swimming
If the matter is in the physical causes of seizures, then the following recommendations are enough:
- Warm up. For training in the pool, ordinary joint exercises are suitable for warming up muscles and joints. Do it for five minutes before entering the pool.
- There is no need to rush into the water as soon as possible – an instantaneous change in temperature causes a sharp narrowing of blood vessels, and convulsions occur precisely because of poor blood circulation.
- After and during your free time, stretch the back of the leg and separately the calf muscles.
An excellent exercise for stretching the calves: stretch one leg in front of you, keep it straight, bend the back slightly at the knee and bend over to the front. Another option: to rest against the wall with your hands, and put your feet 60-90 cm from the wall at an angle, bend over to the wall and pull your heels to the ground in order to stretch your calves. You can also bend your legs alternately.
- Monitor the load. Increase intensity and duration gradually.
- Drink plenty of water. When swimming, you should drink in the same way as in any other workout – take a sip every 15-20 minutes. You can take a bottle with you to the pool and put it on the side. And after training, you can drink isotonic.
- Wear loose-fitting shoes.
- Massage the muscles with a roller or by hand.
Nutrition for the prevention of seizures
The cause of seizures can also be unbalanced or insufficient nutrition.The lack of micronutrients can be compensated for by revising the diet:
- In everyday life, and not only in training, drink more pure water, it is good to add lemon and even salt there. Make isotonic: 5 do-it-yourself isotonic recipes.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol, drink less coffee.
- Add foods rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium to your diet. These are buckwheat, avocado, legumes, bananas, leafy greens, spinach, nuts, cheese.
- Drink magnesium and potassium supplements.The heart, by the way, will also say thanks for this.
What to do if seizures occur regularly
There are cases when seizures can be a symptom of a serious illness. Frequent and very painful cramps, regular night cramps are a reason to take care of your health. Dangerous if:
- seizures occur regularly, several times a day or at night, several days or nights in a row;
- Spasms are accompanied by redness of the skin, fever, headache.
If the listed symptoms are not present, then everything is in order. But seizures with these symptoms can be caused by such serious problems as diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, initial neurological disorders (epilepsy), heart problems. Regular cramps are a good reason to see your doctor.
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90,000 9 reasons why your legs cramp at night / AdMe
Leg cramps are not a pleasant sensation. According to statistics, 30% of people have muscle contractions at least once in their lives.The pain from this is almost always unexpected and very sharp. Often, seizures begin at night, forcing us to experience not the most joyful moments. Fortunately, this can be avoided.
Bright Side will help you understand the reasons why your legs are cramping and tell you where to start treatment.
The classic cause of leg cramps at night is dehydration. Drinking enough fluids is very important for proper muscle function.According to doctors, a lack of water provokes hypersensitivity of nerve endings, as a result of which seizures occur.
What to do? Drink plenty of water, especially if it is hot outside or if you are active in sports.
Micronutrient deficiencies can cause many health problems, including seizures. Potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium are vital minerals that help maintain fluid balance in the body and are involved in muscle function.
Potassium and sodium chloride create electrical impulses that are responsible for muscle contraction. And magnesium regulates the amount of adenosine triphosphate in the body, which is the main source of energy for muscles. It is interesting that the main reserves of magnesium are “stored” in the muscles of the legs, so cramps are the first sign of a lack of it.
What to do? Eat and drink. No kidding: water and food contain all the necessary trace elements.
Magnesium is found in avocados, almonds, bananas and chocolate.
Calcium is rich in spinach, broccoli, sesame seeds and, of course, dairy products.
Potatoes, carrots and tomatoes are the champions in potassium .
Leg cramps – one of the “bonuses” of pregnancy, especially in the 2nd trimester. Scientists believe this is due to fatigue and poor circulation. In addition, the baby’s weight increases during this period, and it is difficult for the body to adapt to new conditions.
What to do? Pregnancy is the time when you have every right to say to problems and troubles: “Oh, everything!” Rest, balanced nutrition, walks in the fresh air are the best prevention of seizures.
Hypothyroidism is a pathological condition that occurs due to a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Low levels of these hormones can cause seizures because calcitonin (a peptide hormone in the thyroid gland) interferes with calcium absorption.It also damages the nerves that send signals from the brain and spine to the arms and legs.
With convulsions due to hypothyroidism, tingling and numbness occur in the limbs.
What to do? Consult a doctor. Such serious conditions require long-term and possibly lifelong treatment.
High sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes damage the nerves in the arms and legs. Unfortunately, this is not the only worrying symptom: dehydration and lack of minerals are also characteristic features of this disease.
What to do? And here you can not do without medical help. The doctor will prescribe antidiabetic therapy to stop further nerve damage. In addition, he may recommend anticonvulsants and pain relievers.
Systematic alcohol consumption leads to dehydration, damages the peripheral nervous system and deprives the body of important micronutrients. Therefore, alcohol is one of the causes of seizures.
What to do? If partying cannot be avoided, make up for the fluid deficit.
If there are no obvious reasons for seizures, check your medicine cabinet. Some medications can cause cramping.
- Statins. Used to lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Diuretics. Prescribed at high pressure. Diuretics are diuretics and can cause potassium and magnesium deficiency.
- Estrogens. Hormones for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
- Pain relievers. Some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have muscle cramps as side effects.
What to do? Call your doctor. The doctor will select other, more suitable drugs.
Muscle cramps are common in people with kidney disease. According to scientists, the imbalance of fluid and electrolytes, as well as damage to nerves and blood flow during inflammation, are to blame for everything.
What to do? Follow your doctor’s advice, diet and exercise.
Muscle overexertion and fatigue
Another cause of leg cramps can be banal fatigue. Intense sports, long walks – in general, any physical activity that you are not used to – can turn into night cramps.
However, a long stay in a static position is just as harmful as excessive activity.
What to do? Follow the training regimen, do not overwork and stay calm.
- Drink plenty of fluids, it should become a habit. Mineral-rich sports drinks can be a good alternative to clean water.
- Reduce your consumption of coffee and alcohol: they have a very strong diuretic effect.
- Stretch your leg muscles before bed.
- Sleep in loose clothing that does not disturb blood circulation.
- If you still have a cramp in your leg, just wiggle it, it will send a signal to the brain that everything is fine.
- Add magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds to your diet.
- A warm compress on the affected area relieves cramps.
- Wear comfortable orthopedic shoes.
- Be active, do not stay in one place for a long time, go in for sports.
Why are leg cramps dangerous and how to deal with them?
A spasm is a spasm in which muscles contract involuntarily and causes severe pain.With the regular appearance of leg cramps, a doctor’s consultation is required. The causes of seizures are well understood and can be corrected and treated.
By their nature, muscle cramps are tonic and clonic. Spasms of the first kind are characterized by a long duration of muscle contraction, and the second – short-term and alternate with periods of relaxation.
Tonic spasms are observed in the feet and calves, and are accompanied by local petrification and painful sensations.The attack appears suddenly, and the duration of the pain syndrome can be 2-5 minutes, which comes along with muscle relaxation.
The causes of leg cramps are as follows:
– Deficiency in the body of magnesium, calcium and potassium, as well as vitamin D, which are involved in the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. The reason for the lack of these substances has a connection with an unbalanced diet, the presence in the body of an excessive amount of harmful substances and the predominance of foods with a high protein content.In addition, the lack of trace elements and vitamins may be due to the action of drugs that impede their absorption.
– With the intensive release of moisture from the body, dehydration occurs. This process is accompanied by the loss of essential micronutrients, so doctors recommend drinking approximately 2.5 liters of water per day in hot weather and when playing sports, when intense sweating occurs.
– Increased physical activity and their uneven distribution, insufficient warming up of the muscles before training and monotonous physical labor lead to the fact that only one muscle group works hard.For normal muscle function, it is important to alternate periods of tension with relaxation.
– Low temperatures lead to a sharp contraction of the leg muscles and the appearance of cramps, therefore, temperature drops above 10 ° C should not be allowed.
– Metabolic disorders are often the result of the development of diseases or injuries of the limbs. In this case, qualified medical assistance is required to eliminate the cause.
- Stress conditions in the human nervous system are a common cause of leg muscle spasms.In this case, the entire body is exposed to significant stress, especially this is reflected in the nerve endings that are responsible for muscle contraction. An excess of cortisol, a stress hormone, leads to metabolic disorders and calcium deficiency, without which normal muscle function is impossible.
Features of leg cramps
The appearance of muscle cramps occurs due to impaired transmission of nerve signals to relax muscles.The lower leg and thigh muscles are most susceptible to these spasms. Their intensity varies in a wide range – from trembling to a sharp contraction and pain. Muscles in this state become extremely hard and they stand out noticeably. The attack can last 1-15 minutes and can be repeated many times during this time.
A metabolic disorder syndrome or disease progression may cause toe cramps.This phenomenon often accompanies diseases that affect the joints, veins and blood vessels of the legs, as well as diabetes mellitus. In addition, cramps can occur in people who are constantly on their feet or wear uncomfortable shoes. If seizures are observed often, then it is imperative to consult with a doctor of the appropriate profile.
Flat feet or neurological abnormalities can lead to cramps in the feet.If they appear regularly, you should seek the help of an orthopedist or neurologist. To reduce the frequency of seizures, it is recommended to choose more comfortable shoes, reduce the load on the lower extremities and take vitamins and minerals necessary to normalize muscle activity.
The appearance of cramps at night is associated with a slowdown in blood circulation, which leads to a decrease in the absorption of nutrients necessary for the functioning of the muscles.In addition, an uncomfortable sleeping position can lead to seizures.
If antispasmodic attacks are observed regularly, then the diet should be revised in favor of products containing trace elements necessary for the muscles.
The circulatory system and blood vessels suffer from the effects of various harmful substances, which leads to seizures. Thus, a person, having reconsidered the attitude towards nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and sugar, can get rid of the problem.
A decrease in the amount of animal proteins and the predominance of dietary meat in the diet will have a positive effect on the activity of the muscles of the legs and will eliminate the occurrence of seizures. A combination of outdoor walks with moderate physical activity is very useful.
The quality of sleep affects the activity of the whole organism as a whole, therefore it is important to choose the most comfortable sleeping place.