Menstrual cramps

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1. Overview

Menstrual cramps are the pain in the belly and pelvic experienced by women in the menstrual period. Not about menstrual cramps during PMS discomfort. So many women suffer from PMS and menstrual cramps. Menstrual cramps can range from mild to severe.

Mild menstrual cramps are felt fine and are of short duration and sometimes perceived as a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen. Severe menstrual cramps can be so painful that they can not interfere with the normal activity of a woman for several days.


1. Overview
2. Frequent menstrual cramps
3. Dysmenorrhea
4. Causes
5. Why are menstrual cramps so painful?
6. Risk factors
7. Diagnosing menstrual cramps
8. Alert
9. Remedies

2. Frequent menstrual cramps

Menstrual cramps are estimated to affect approximately 50% of women and 15% of these complains of pretty severe symptoms. Surveys on teenagers show that over 90% of them exhibit menstrual cramps.

3. Dysmenorrhea

The medical term for menstrual cramps is dysmenorrhea. There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is not involved in any gynecological problem or what could cause pain.

Menstrual cramps begin within 6 months-1 year after menarche (first menstruation). Menstrual cramps usually not present until ovulatory menstrual cycles occur, and actual menstrual bleeding.

Therefore a teenager cannot experience dysmenorrhea until after she pass for at least several months after the onset of menstruation.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by some abnormal conditions that contribute to menstrual pain.

4. Causes

During menstrual periods, uterus contracts to expel mucous that covers it. Hormone-like substances called prostaglandins are those that cause pain, inflammation and triggers muscle contractions.

As prostaglandin levels are higher, the cramps are more severe. Many experts believe that severe contractions constrict blood vessels that supply the uterus. The resulting pain can be compared with angina that is triggered when the coronary arteries are blocked and are deprived of nutrients and oxygen.

Menstrual cramps can be caused by:

- Endometriosis – due to this painful condition, the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside, most commonly in the fallopian tubes, ovaries or even covers the pelvis.

- Uterine fibroids – noncancerous growths located in the uterine wall can sometimes cause pain.

- Adenomyosis – due to this condition, the tissue that covers the uterus begins to grow inside the muscular walls of the uterus.

- Pelvic inflammatory disease – the infection of the female reproductive organs is usually caused by sexually transmitted bacteria.

- Cervical stenosis – in some women, opening the cervix may be so small that prevents the menstrual flow, causing increasing painful pressure, to the uterus level.

5. Why are menstrual cramps so painful?

Menstrual cramps are caused by uterine contractions that occur in response to the release of prostaglandins and other chemicals.

Cramps are especially painful when blood clots or pieces of tissue lining the cervix go through, especially if the cervical canal is narrowed. The difference between the painful and less painful menstrual cramps depend on a woman’s levels of prostaglandins.

Women with menstrual cramps have high levels of prostaglandins in the uterine lining compared with those not experiencing menstrual cramps.

Menstrual cramps are similar to those found when pregnant women are receiving prostaglandins, as medicine, to induce labor.

6. Risk factors

Among the risk factors associated with dysmenorrhea include:
- Age under 20 years
- Early onset of puberty
- Heavy bleeding during menstrual periods
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Absence of pregnancy
- Family prior history of dysmenorrhea
- Smoking.

7. Diagnosing menstrual cramps

First, the patient will be asked to describe symptoms and menstrual cycles. The doctor will perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, will introduce a speculum (an instrument that allows the clinician to visualize the vagina) and will examine the vagina and cervix.

It may also be necessary to harvest vaginal discharge for analysis. The doctor will then manually examine the ovaries and the uterus to detect any abnormality. If the cramps are painful, may require further investigation. If you have a medical problem diagnosed, the doctor will recommend specific treatment.

8. Alert

Women who use internal tampons and develop these symptoms should seek emergency medical help:
- Fever over 38.5 degrees Celsius
- Vomiting
- Diarrhea
- Dizziness, fainting or feeling faint
- Rash that looks like a sunburn.

These events are specific to toxic shock syndrome, which can endanger a person’s life.

9. Remedies

- Beer is considered a muscle relaxant and relieves pain immediately.
- Peppermint tea has the same role as a gentle muscle relaxant that reduces menstrual cramps.
- Ginger tea helps reduce menstrual cramps quickly.
- Valerian root is a good option to relieve pain, even if it is used specifically for treating insomnia.
- Evening primrose oil is another remedy suitable for reducing the incidence of menstrual cramps. It contains high levels of GLA an essential fatty acid that decreases the intensity of menstrual cramps.

Remedies for menstrual cramps will be administrated according to the intensity of menstrual cramps. Regular menstrual cramps can be treated with pain medications.

Often, wet compress may help reliving the painful menstrual cramps. If the pain is not extreme, it can be a useful tool, but if the condition is severe, it is strongly recommended to seek medical advice regarding treatment methods.



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