What Causes Period Pain & How Can You Stop It?
Many women experience terrible cramps (dysmenorrhea) in their lower abdomen during menstruation, especially during the first one or two days. The throbbing pain in the stomach is often accompanied by severe headaches, body aches, frequent mood swings, nausea, and fluctuating blood pressure levels can disrupt your entire day.
Common causes of period pain
Period cramps can be mild or severe and can strike right before the onset of or during your period. Period pain happens due to the shedding of the uterine lining, which cuts off oxygen to the uterus resulting in the release of pain-triggering chemicals. Menstruation cramps can also occur because of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Cyst), a condition where small, harmless cysts grow in the ovaries resulting in painful periods.
Other conditions that might trigger menstrual cramps include:
- Adenomyosis: If the tissue lining of the uterus starts to grow into the muscular walls, it can cause great pain during the periods.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases or Cervical Stenosis: The cervix in some women is not large enough, thus impeding blood flow. This leads to intense pain because of increased pressure within the uterus.
You have a greater chance of having period cramps if you:
- Are less than 30 years of age
- Started early puberty
- Have an irregular menstrual cycle
- Have a family history of period cramps
Tips to stop period pain
Here are a few simple tips to ease menstrual pain:
- Stay hydrated: While bloating can worsen your cramps, drinking lots of water can help decrease bloating and relieve period pain. It is even better to drink hot water as it increases blood flow, relaxes the muscles, and reduces pain.
- Drink herbal tea: The anti-inflammatory properties and the antispasmodic compounds of herbal teas reduce cramp-causing muscle spasms in the uterus. Herbal tea is also effective in relieving stress which is common in irregular periods.
- Avoid junk foods: Junk foods can be extra harmful during periods because they contain sugar, trans fat, and salt, which causes bloating and inflammation. Therefore, it's important to eat healthy food like fruits or veggies to prevent period pain.
- Work out regularly: Even gentle exercises such as yoga, walking, or light stretching release endorphins that make you feel happy, relax your muscles, and reduce period pain.
- Apply heat: Applying heat helps improve blood flow and relieve muscle tension. You can either take a hot shower or place a hot water bag or heating pad on your abdomen to ease menstrual cramps.
How can you relieve period pain immediately?
For quick relief from menstrual cramps, you may consider:
- Using painkillers: Painkillers can help relieve period pain quickly. However, excessive use of painkillers should be avoided because it can have long-lasting side effects, such as addiction and a weakened immune system.
- Having sex/orgasm: Sexual activities, including masturbation, release a rush of dopamine and serotonin, which act as natural pain relievers.
- Exercising: Certain exercises, such as walking, running, or riding a bike, can help ease blood flow and relieve pain.
If your period pain lasts for over three days and is affecting the quality of your life, you should seek medical assistance. Contact our team at North Atlanta Women's Care if you are experiencing any problems with your menstrual cycle. We offer excellent medical support for painful menstruation and other gynecological health concerns.
Related Article: Are Your Periods Regular? Here’s Why You Should Keep Track of It.
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