Symptoms of menstrual cramps are multiple

Posted by Lea | Posted in Symptoms | Posted on 01-04-2011

The main symptom is crampy pain in your lower abdomen. Often, the first few periods that you have are painless. Period pains may only develop 6-12 months after you have started your periods. The pain:

  • May spread to your lower back, or to the top of your legs.
  • Usually starts as the bleeding starts, but it may start up to a day before.
  • Usually lasts 12-24 hours, but lasts 2-3 days in some cases.
  • Can vary with each period. Some periods are worse than others.
  • Tends to become less severe as you get older or after having a baby.

The main symptoms also include:

  • Aching pain in the abdomen (Pain can be severe at times.)
  • Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
  • Pain in the hips, lower back, and inner thighs

When cramps are severe, symptoms may include:

  • Upset stomach, sometimes with vomiting
  • Loose stools

 

What Causes Common Menstrual Cramps?

Posted by Lea | Posted in Causes | Posted on 15-03-2011

Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus, which is a muscle. The uterus, the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows, contracts throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain results when part of a muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.

It is important to note that menstrual cramps can occur without pain. Some women experience uterine contractions without noticing or with very little discomfort. Many, however, deal with pain each month, caused by long-lasting and intense contractions. The pain of menstrual cramps is experienced when these powerful contractions cut the blood supply to the uterus, leading to a lack of oxygen to the related muscles. Fortunately, the oxygen deprivation, as well as the pain, is only temporary.

What are period pains?

Posted by Lea | Posted in Causes | Posted on 24-01-2011

Period pains are pains in the abdominal (belly) and pelvic areas that are experienced by a woman as a result of her menstrual period. Period pains are not the same as the discomfort felt during premenstrual syndrome (PMS), although the symptoms of both disorders can sometimes be experienced as a continual process. Many women suffer from both PMS and menstrual cramps.

Menstrual cramps can range from mild to quite severe. Mild menstrual cramps may be barely noticeable and of short duration – sometimes felt just as a sense of light heaviness in the belly. Severe menstrual cramps can be so painful that they interfere with a woman’s regular activities for several days.

Lots of girls experience cramps before or during their periods. Cramps are caused by prostaglandins (say: pross-tuh-glan-dunz), chemicals a girl’s body produces to make the muscles of the uterus contract. The contracting muscles help push the blood out through a girl’s vagina during her period.

You probably know periods usually come once a month. Sometimes, younger girls aren’t that regular, so they may skip a month. But as a girl’s periods get more regular, cramps are more likely.

Menstrual cramps are the leading cause of absenteeism in women younger than 30 years. Although over half of women who have menstrual periods experience some discomfort, 10% are temporarily disabled by symptoms.

The following circumstances may make a woman more likely to experience menstrual cramps:

  • She started her first period at an early age (younger than 11 years).
  • Her menstrual periods last 5 days or longer.
  • She is overweight or obese.
  • She smokes cigarettes or uses alcohol.
  • She has never been pregnant.

How common are menstrual cramps?

Menstrual pain of some degree affect more than an estimated 50% of women, and among these, up to 15% would describe their menstrual cramps as severe. Surveys of adolescent girls show that over 90% of girls report having period pains.

The different types of period pain

Posted by Lea | Posted in Menstrual cramps | Posted on 10-02-2010

There are two different types of period pain:
Primary dysmenorrhoea


This commonly occurs in teenage girls and young women, towards the beginning of menstrual life. The cramping pains are caused by the womb contracting to shed its lining. There may also be pain caused by the decreased supply of blood to the womb. The pain is mainly in the lower part of the abdomen but can go into the back and down the front of the thighs. Some women feel nauseated at the same time. It is a perfectly natural condition and for many women is simply a mild monthly discomfort. Primary dysmenorrhoea can be eased with the contraceptive pill as well as some relaxation techniques.

It is the kind of menstrual or period pain found in younger woman.
So, if there is no ovulation, there can be no period pain of this kind.
Primary dysmenorrhoea in it self is thus not an illness. Things that can predispose a woman to having this kind of pain include

  • Similar pain in mother or sister
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Secondary dysmenorrhoea
This is period pain commonly found in older women above 30 years of age. It is less common than primary dysmenorrhoea.
This may not start until your mid-twenties or later. It is unlikely to cease after childbirth. The pain is not restricted to “time of the month” bleeding and can occur throughout the cycle. Periods may become heavier and more prolonged, and intercourse may be painful. Secondary dysmenorrhoea can be a sign of other conditions, including pelvic infections, which may need urgent attention. If you start to experience period pain as an adult you should not hesitate to consult a GP.

Other than these two types, you can have menstrual irregularities. Menstrual irregularities are common abnormalities of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Menstrual irregularities include a variety of conditions in which menstruation is irregular, heavy, painful, or does not occur at all.
Common types of menstrual irregularities include:

 

  • Amenorrhea (when a teenager does not get her period by age 16, or when a woman stops getting her period for at least three months and is not pregnant)
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual periods)
  • Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual periods)
  • Oligomenorrhea (menstrual bleeding occurring more than 35 days after the last menstrual period, that is, less than 10 periods a year)
  • Polymenorrhea (menstrual bleeding occurring less than 21 days after the last menstrual period, that is, more than 12 periods a year)
  • Spotting (light irregular vaginal bleeding or vaginal bleeding between periods)