Being a woman isn’t easy. Life changes such as pregnancy and periods are physically draining, but they can easily take a toll on your mental well-being.
As far as periods are concerned, the shedding of the uterus lining each month is defined as the monthly cycle. A level of pain, cramps, and discomfort are average while menstruating. Some women also tend to break out during their cycles.
Even though almost all women go through it and find it a complete nuisance, a percentage of women go through such acute period symptoms that they may have to cancel their plans entirely.
While abdominal pain, bloating, and lower back pain are usual symptoms during your monthly menstruation cycle, severe pain that causes you to skip work or school isn’t. Such a painful degree of pain during periods is better known as dysmenorrhea.
In this article, we will go through the complete details about dysmenorrhea, its causes, symptoms and signs, available treatment options, the diagnosis, and what we should know about this specific condition.
Thus, without further delay, let’s discover all there is about dysmenorrhea and all that you, as the reader, should know.
Dysmenorrhea – an Overview
As of now, it is clear that dysmenorrhea is another popular name for the occurrence of quite painful periods. Therefore, if your periods are heavy and cause an unbearable degree of pain, you might suffer from dysmenorrhea.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea classified:
- Primary Dysmenorrhea.
- Secondary Dysmenorrhea.
A doctor will characterise your symptoms by one of the two headings mentioned above according to the signs and symptoms displayed by your body.
Primary dysmenorrhea stands for any cramping solely associated with any cramping that happens because of your periods.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is slightly different from primary dysmenorrhea. This is the cramping related to other reproductive health issues such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), fibroids, or polyps.
Causes of Dysmenorrhea
As frustrating as it may sound, there aren’t always possible options to identify the actual cause. In cases like dysmenorrhea, there isn’t an exact way to know why some go through painful periods.
Sometimes, some percentage of us are at a higher risk of having painful periods and cramps. However, below are some of the risk factors stated that can make you an easy victim of conditions such as dysmenorrhea:
- Having irregular periods
- Having heavy bleedings during periods
- Having a family history of painful periods
- Being under the age of 20
- Hitting puberty before the tender age of 11
- Having no experience being pregnant
A hormone known as prostaglandin is responsible for triggering the muscle contractions in the female uterus and expels the lining.
These contractions can cause inflammation and pain. In addition, the level of prostaglandin rises just before the period begins.
At times there may be a valid reason why you are going through such periods. For example, they may be happening due to some underlying medical issues.
1. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome is a typical condition caused by the hormonal changes in the female body, occurring 1 to 2 weeks before menstruation. Such PMS symptoms go away once the period cycle begins in full swing.
Fibroids are known as non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They are made up of tissues and put intense pressure on the uterus. Fibroids can cause abnormal menstruation, even though there won’t be many symptoms.
Endometriosis is a painful medical condition. This is because the uterus lining cells start to grow in other body parts, such as the fallopian tubes, tissue lining of the pelvis, and ovaries.
4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is the infection of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes due to sexually transmitted bacteria. This, in turn, causes inflammation of the reproductive organs and induces pain levels.
Often described as a rare condition, in Adenomyosis, the uterine lining grows into the muscle layer of the uterus. This also puts pressure on the uterus, causing pain and inflammation. Apart from the information mentioned, it can inflict heavier periods too, which can be extended instead of the standard time.
6. Cervical Stenosis
Cervical stenosis is also a rare condition where the cervix is too small or narrow to interfere with the period flow. It halts the uterine lining from coming out fully during your period. This act causes pressure and pain.
Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea
If you suffer from dysmenorrhea, your symptoms will be pretty much the same as those of females with regular periods.
The following symptoms may be evident while you’re menstruating:
- Pain in the belly.
- A feeling of pressure in the belly.
- There is a level of pain in the hips, inner thighs, and lower back.
However, if you’re are having heavier, more prolonged and painful periods, then you might experience the following:
- Feeling nauseous and vomiting.
- Loose stools (Diarrhoea)
- Pain radiating in the lower legs.
Treatment Options for Dysmenorrhea
As much as it may sound shocking, treating dysmenorrhea at home through different remedies may prove helpful in reducing painful period cramps and bloating.
Whether you are suffering from primary or secondary dysmenorrhea, it’s pretty apparent that you’ll look for methods and options to relieve your pain.
If you want to give home methods and remedies a try, then you should go for any one of the treatments mentioned:
- Take a warm bath.
- Massaging the lower abdomen.
- Using a heating pad.
- Eating healthy and nutritious food instead of junk food.
- Performing regular aerobic exercise.
- Practising body relieving movements such as yoga.
If you practice these options and don’t seem to feel a difference in your mood or pain, it would be best to reach out for professional medical help.
The doctors may recommend taking painkillers over the counter, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. In addition, if you are suffering from any reproductive health issues such as PID, then your doctor may prescribe certain antibiotics to treat the disease.
Bearing period pain is something that a woman has to put up with once she hits puberty. However, periods and dysmenorrhea can potentially lower a person’s quality of life. Nevertheless, home treatments or gentle medical care can help you ease the pain to a great level.
But, if you find yourself constantly struggling with your period pain, or if the pain has escalated in the recent months, then it would be best to meet a professional and seek medical help immediately upon notice.
It could be that the reason behind your painful periods is some reproductive health issues such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Therefore, talk to your doctor if you find yourself in severe period pain.