Why menstrual cramps happen, and how to relieve them
Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) are throbbing or cramping symptoms in the lower abdomen. Menstrual cramps affect many women immediately before and throughout their periods.
The pain is just irritating for some ladies. For others, period cramps might be severe enough to prevent them from going about their daily lives for a few days each month.
What causes period cramps?
An overabundance of prostaglandins—hormone-like chemicals produced by the uterine lining (the endometrium) as it prepares to shed—is most likely to blame for menstrual cramps. Prostaglandins aid in the contraction and relaxation of the uterus, allowing the endometrium to detach and flow out of your body. They are an important component of the process, but if the uterus contracts severely, blood flow is decreased, and the availability of oxygen to the uterine muscle tissue reduces, discomfort occurs.
Most persons with period cramps don’t know what causes them to have painful menstruation while others don’t. Inflammation might be a factor. Prostaglandin production is linked to inflammation, and inflamed tissue produces more prostaglandins. Even after controlling for variables associated with chronic inflammation such as BMI, smoking, and alcohol use, those who have more menstrual discomfort have higher levels of inflammatory markers in their blood. Inflammation has also been linked to the deterioration of other premenstrual symptoms, such as mood swings.
People who have heavy or lengthy periods, who started menstruation early in life, or who have irregular cycles are more prone to have painful periods. Smoking, being skinny, being younger than 30, having a pelvic infection, and being sterilized are all variables that have been linked to painful periods.
How do I relieve my period cramps?
If your periods are heavy, irregular, or excruciatingly painful, it may be critical for your health to identify and address the source of your abnormalities. Other methods of cramp relief, such as hormonal birth control, work by inhibiting the formation and shedding of the endometrium.
- Apply a heating pad or a hot water bottle to your tummy, or soak in a warm bath. Heat increases blood flow and may help to relieve discomfort.
- Sleep down with a cushion or pillow between your legs, or lie on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest. This may aid in the relief of back pain.
- Instead of tampons, use pads. If you also have vaginal discomfort, this may assist.
- Get some exercise on a regular basis. This improves blood flow and may help to alleviate cramps.
If you’ve tried prescription and home remedies to relieve your cramps but still don’t feel better, see your doctor. If your cramps are caused by something other than your period, such as endometriosis, you may need to seek medical help.
Sex and period cramps
When individuals get their periods, one of the most common symptoms is cramps. According to Sherry A. Ross, MD, OB/GYN and women’s health specialist in Santa Monica, California, and author of Period sex can help ease menstrual cramps “She-ology” and “She-ology” are two different terms for the same thing. The She-quel”
The uterus contracts to help it shed its lining, which is prompted by the production of hormones called prostaglandins, causing menstrual pains. According to Ross, orgasms from sex constrict and then relax the uterus, which helps ease cramp discomfort.
Aside from the physical relaxing of the uterus, endorphins, or feel-good chemicals, are released after orgasm, according to Ross. Endorphins assist to temporarily alleviate pain by activating opioid receptors in the body. Opioid receptors are part of the body’s pain-control mechanism.
You don’t have to have coupled sex to reap these benefits; solitary sex will suffice. Orgasming from masturbation, according to Ross, will also create similar positive benefits.
If you’re having coupled sex, make sure you’re using a condom to avoid STIs and unintended pregnancy.
Try dietary supplements
Vitamin D can aid calcium absorption and decrease inflammation. Omega-3, vitamin E, and magnesium, among other nutrients, can help decrease inflammation and may even make your periods less uncomfortable. Take vitamins every day, not just during your period, for the best benefits. Also, because certain supplements interfere with medicines, consult your doctor before beginning any new supplement regimen.