Painful Menstrual Cramps

Painful Menstrual Cramps

Painful period cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, can be a debilitating condition that affects many female’s quality of life — having this symptom monthly can be a big bummer in life.

Woman experiencing menstrual cramps

How can it present? What is the cause?

Primary Menstrual Cramps
This is a condition that typically occurs in adolescents during the period of the commencement of their period. Patients with primary menstrual cramps have no actual pelvic abnormalities. Often patients complain of dull crampy aches over the lower abdomen. One can experience other myriad symptoms such as stomach bloatedness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, backache, dizziness, and headache.

Secondary Menstrual Cramps
The onset of secondary menstrual cramps occurs after the establishment of the ovulary cycle and tends to occur in more mature females. Typically, the female presents with intermittent intense crampy menstrual pain or a continuous prolonged dull ache. Similar to primary menstrual cramps, it can be associated with fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and headache. As the name suggested, there can be infections, lesions, or structural abnormalities of the womb that can cause such symptoms. This will be further discussed in other topics of women’s health.

What should I do if I have Dysmenorrhea?

Simple home remedies:
1. Improvise daily life: Consider heat pad, heat wrap, hot water bottle over the painful abdominal site

2. Keep yourself adequately hydrated with 1.5-2L of daily fluid
Eat healthily: Cut down on caffeine intake, moderate alcohol intake (14 units/ week), Reduce intake of refined and processed high sugar food. Instead, opt for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant foods such as cherries, blueberries, tomatoes, squash. Consider food with good high omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, Vitamin D, Magnesium, calcium-rich beans, leafy dark green vegetables, almonds.

3. You can try Cinnamon, Fennel, Chamomile tea, pycnogenol, curcumin, ginger, which are helpful in some people.

4. Cease smoking

Speak to your doctor:
You will be assessed by your doctor with a thorough medical relevant history and physical examination targeted over your abdomen and pelvis. Your doctor may offer blood tests and an ultrasound scan of the pelvis to assess any abnormalities in the womb and the ovaries. In certain more complex cases, you may be referred to the gynecologist for a surgical, diagnostic procedure known as laparoscopy to obtain tissue samples from the womb and ovaries.

Treatment Options

Painful menstrual cramps are usually managed with pain killers. The choice of painkillers is NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as mefenamic acid. Your doctor may consider prescribing combined oral contraceptive pills to regulate the flow and menstrual cycle, thereafter, improving the menstrual pain.

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