Menstrual cramps, medically known as dysmenorrhea, are throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Over 50% of women experience it just before and during their menstrual periods.
Menstrual cramps may be caused by identifiable problems uterine fibroids or infections. Treating any underlying cause is key to reducing the pain. Menstrual cramps that aren’t caused by an underlying condition tend to lessen with age and often improve once a woman has given birth.
Risk factors of menstrual cramps include: age of less than 30 years, starting puberty at age 11 or younger, heavy bleeding during periods, irregular periods, ladies who’ve never given birth, having female siblings who usually have pain during periods and smokers.
Symptoms of menstrual cramps include; cramping pain in your lower abdomen that may be intense & constant ache and may radiate to the lower back and thighs. There may also be, nausea, loose stools, headache, or dizziness
If the periods started within the past few years and accompanied with menstrual cramps, chances are that the pain isn’t a cause for concern. However, if menstrual cramps disrupt your life every month, if your symptoms progressively worsen, or if you’re older than 25 and just started having severe menstrual cramps, see a doctor.
During periods, the womb (uterus) contracts to help expel its lining. Hormone-like substances (prostaglandins) involved in pain and inflammation cause the uterine muscle contractions and exacerbate the pain.
Menstrual cramps don’t cause any other medical complications, but they can interfere with school, work and social activities.
To diagnose cramps, a doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, your doctor will check for any abnormalities in your reproductive organs and look for signs of infection. Ultrasound scan imaging for further investigations
Doctors may recommend certain medications to relieve the pain or other curative procedures depending on the cause of the cramps
Home remedies include:
- Exercise either by jumping over a swinging rope, taking a walk, jogging around or any form of exercise you’re comfortable with
- Soak a piece of cloth or sponge in warm water, squeeze the water out of it, then gently massage it over the painful region
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco because they make the pain worse.
- Reducing stress by regularly exercising for at least for 30 minutes, 3 times a week