By Dr. Staci Tanouye OB/GYN, MD
Have you ever experienced pain in your lower abdomen during your menstrual cycle and wondered why? The medical term for this pain is dysmenorrhea but is more commonly referred to as period cramps and is a common side effect of menstruation. In fact, pain is the most common problem that women have with their periods.
The cause of these cramps is the uterus contracting to expel its lining. Hormonelike substances called prostaglandins, that are involved in pain and inflammation trigger uterine muscle contractions. High levels of prostaglandins can lead to more severe period cramps. Cramping itself can also constrict blood vessels which further exacerbates pain.
Menstruators might experience emotional changes like increased tiredness and irritability, or more physical changes like acne, sore breasts, stomach aches or feeling bloated/crampy. These side effects are due to fluctuating hormone levels.
Your risk for period cramps may be higher if you:
It’s important to seek advice and treatment recommendations from a medical provider if you feel that your period cramps are severe and impact your day-to-day activities.
Normal period cramps should be well controlled by the simple measures above. If they are not, it’s time to discuss your pain with your doctor.
Period cramps are a common side effect of menstruation. In fact, so common that nearly 80% of women experience period pain at some point in their life. Understanding what causes them and what you can do to prevent cramps and treat discomfort is important. Take some time to try out the various period cramp treatment options listed above and see what works best for you.About Staci Tanouye OB/GYN, MD : Staci Tanouye OB/GYN, MD is a physician in a private practice and an expert in adolescent health, sexual health, reproductive health, and menopausal health. She has become one of the leading gynecologists on social media with the mission to educate women and all people with vulvas to love their bodies through knowledge and empowerment.
This is not intended to be medical advice. Everybody is different so please make sure to consult your physician if you're having issues. Do not delay or refrain from seeking professional medical advice from your physician because of something you have read on this site.
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