When discussing women’s health with a women’s health professional, many patients may ask questions regarding menstrual cramps. However, familiarizing yourself with what causes them, what is normal, and how to alleviate them can help you understand your particular cramp discomfort. Below is a comprehensive guide to period cramps.
Understanding Menstrual Cramps
What Causes Them?
When you have your period, your body pushes out an unfertilized egg and sheds the uterine lining. To expel the tissues, your uterus contracts, causing pain throughout the pelvic region and lower back. The hormones that cause this cramping also cause inflammation around the abdomen, which contributes to the pain.
How Much Pain Is Normal?
For most women, mild cramps in the few days leading up to and after the onset of a period are normal. They can range from mild to incredibly uncomfortable, but normal cramps are easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and at-home remedies. If you’re experiencing intense pain for longer than the few days surrounding the start of your period, or if your cramps don’t readily respond to pain medications, there may be an underlying condition. Disorders like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and cervical stenosis can cause worsened pain during your period as a signal that something is wrong. If your periods are debilitating, severe, or causing concern, you should see your women’s health specialist to ascertain the cause.
What Can Help Them?
Taking anti-inflammatories (as approved by your gynecologist or physician) in the days leading up to your period can drastically reduce discomfort, and over-the-counter pain relievers should help as well. Heat can encourage your muscles to relax, so holding a heating pad or hot towel over your lower abdomen will relieve pain as well. Moderate exercise and stretching—like walking or yoga—will also stretch and loosen your muscles while stimulating healing blood flow. Massaging the area should provide relief, too. For more lasting relief, speak with your women’s health provider about birth control options that are known to ease period symptoms.
For quality women’s health services—including birth control options and diagnostic tests for severe periods—schedule an appointment with a women’s health care professional at Oswego County OB-GYN, PC in Fulton, NY. Since 1960, they’ve provided comprehensive services, including family planning, obstetrics, infertility treatments, surgical procedures, and general gynecology. With a skilled team and compassionate providers, you’ll receive advanced care in a comfortable setting. View their services online, and call (315) 343-2590 for an appointment.