Menstrual cramps are caused due to uterine contractions. These can be mild to severe. This write-up provides information on the contributing factors for these cramps.
For some women, menstrual cycle is associated with so much pain that it becomes impossible for them to carry on with their daily activities. The unbearable pain and cramping during period leaves them completely exhausted.
Cramps during menstrual cycle are caused due to the contraction of uterus. These might be mild to severe. During periods, the uterus tightens and relaxes, thereby pushing blood from the vagina. The uterine lining releases special chemicals called “prostaglandins” which have the ability to increase the intensity of the contractions.
High levels of prostaglandins can cause severe muscle cramps, along with nausea and lightheadedness. When these intense contractions cut the supply of blood to the uterus, oxygen is unable to reach the related muscles, which causes severe pain. This condition related to painful and difficult periods is known as dysmenorrhea.
Severe Menstrual Cramps
These are classified into primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. In case of primary dysmenorrhea, one is likely to experience cramping pain in the lower abdomen. The pain might be felt before the period and it may last for 2-4 days. It might be accompanied by lower back pain.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused due to a medical condition such as endometriosis, which is characterized by the abnormal location of the uterine tissues such as the fallopian tube and the side walls of the ovaries. Pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroid tumors, and intrauterine devices could also lead to severe period cramps.
Severe blood loss can cause a deficiency of essential minerals such as iron and magnesium, which can cause the leg muscles to contract. The deficiency of key minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium makes it difficult to regulate the activities of the nerves and the muscles. Therefore, the thigh, calf, and foot muscles might contract causing severe pain.
The release of prostaglandins can cause the muscles in the lower back to contract as well. Dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficiency can also affect the lower back muscles and lead to contractions.
Women who are affected by secondary dysmenorrhea must seek medical help. following certain natural remedies might also provide relief.
- Massaging the lower back might help.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid standing for long periods if you often experience back pain during periods.
- Using a hot water bottle might also provide relief.
- If possible, go for walks or do some light exercises.
- Certain herbal teas are known to provide a soothing effect.
If you often experience painful cramps during your period and you are finding it hard to tackle the pain, it would be best to consult a gynecologist.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.