Menstrual Cramps - Period Pain

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Menstrual Cramps - Period Pain
Menstrual Cramps - Period Pain

Video: Menstrual Cramps - Period Pain

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Video: A Surprising Solution for Menstrual Cramps (Period Pain) 2023, January
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Menstrual cramps

Menstruation refers to the monthly bleeding in girls from puberty (between the ages of nine and 15) and in women up to the menopause. There are different names for this, such as rule, period, menstrual period or days. The first menstrual period is called "menarche". Menstrual cramps are one of the most common problems women have. Menstrual bleeding associated with exceptionally cramping pelvic pain is known as dysmenorrhea…

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Menstrual cycle

The time from the first day of your period to the day before your next menstrual period is called the menstrual cycle. This takes between 25 and 32 days. The exact length and duration of the cycle vary from woman to woman. For most girls or women, periods are almost painless and this rarely changes over the course of the fertile years. For others, however, the monthly bleeding is often associated with more or less pain.

Symptoms & causes

In addition to cramping pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea can be accompanied by additional symptoms. These include, for example, nausea, vomiting, headaches, a feeling of tension in the breasts and general malaise. The maximum symptoms usually occur on the first and second day of menstruation.

Note Some women suffer from symptoms such as abdominal pain and / or headache as well as mood swings in the days before menstruation. In medicine, one speaks of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Why some women have painful periods and others don't is unknown. The causes of severe menstrual pain can be very different. The most common are:

  • Fibroids, adenomyosis uteri
  • Endometriosis
  • possibly psychogenic factors (e.g. stress, partner conflicts, etc.)
  • Flow obstruction due to a narrow cervical canal or vaginal stenosis / septa

In addition, uterine malformations, uterine position or shape anomalies can lead to menstrual cramps.

Forms of dysmenorrhea

According to its temporal occurrence, dysmenorrhea is divided as painful menstruation into a primary (from the first bleeding on) and a secondary (occurring in the course of life).

Primary dysmenorrhea

In each monthly cycle, the lining of the uterus (endometrium) builds up anew and is finally shed with the menstrual period (exception: pregnancy). During menstruation, the muscles of the uterus contract in an irregular rhythm and then relax again (contractions). These contractions cause the lining of the uterus to separate from the wall of the uterus. The tissue mixed with blood drains through the cervix and vagina.

Primary menstrual cramps usually start shortly after menarche (first occurrence of the menstrual period) and often last until menopause in affected women. In some women, the contraction of the uterus goes unnoticed or is only expressed by a slight pulling. For others, however, the contractions are very painful.

In medicine it is assumed that during menstruation due to the decrease in luteal hormones (progesterone), prostaglandin accumulation occurs in the endometrium (uterine lining), which is one of the decisive factors for uterine contraction.

Note In the development of dysmenorrhea, psychological factors such as stress or fear of pain and expectation can also play a role.

Secondary dysmenorrhea

In secondary dysmenorrhea, menstrual pain only appears after a few years. Before that, the bleeding was always painless or painless. Secondary menstrual pain is often caused by benign growths in the lining of the uterus (e.g. myomas). Sometimes menstrual symptoms improve after childbirth; in some women they only appear for the first time after childbirth. Exceptionally severe pain can also indicate endometriosis.

Note Mechanical contraceptive methods such as the IUD can also lead to secondary menstrual pain.

Diagnosis & Therapy

Many girls or women can often no longer pursue everyday activities (e.g. work, school) in the usual way because of their severe menstrual cramps. It is therefore important that women do not suffer in silence, but rather consult the gynecologist if they have severe menstrual pain. Various diagnostic methods are available for determining the underlying causes of dysmenorrhea.

Using a gynecological examination (with vaginal ultrasound) and an ultrasound of the lower abdomen, the doctor can rule out organic causes such as malformations and myomas.

Painkiller

Pain relieving or antispasmodic medication can be used to combat pain. Most drugs aim to affect prostaglandin production.

Note The pill can also help relieve menstrual pain, as it prevents ovulation. However, in very young girls who suffer from menstrual symptoms, pill administration is a controversial therapy, as the hormonal balance is not yet sufficiently established due to the ongoing puberty and the early administration of the pill could be disturbed.

If organic causes are suspected, an inpatient admission to the hospital may be necessary in order to carry out surgical interventions such as removal of polyps and / or a curretage (possibly hysteroscopy) or, for further diagnosis, a laparoscopy (verification of endometriosis).

Self help

There are many different ways and means of relieving menstrual cramps. Sometimes the symptoms can also be alleviated with self-treatment measures. These include:

  • Heat applications (e.g. hot water bottles, warm full bath, sauna)
  • Herbal preparations, homeopathic remedies
  • acupuncture
  • Regular sporting activity (promotes blood circulation and relieves cramps)

Note However, the methods or means mentioned have not been scientifically proven.

Whom can I ask?

A visit to a gynecologist is necessary for the diagnosis or treatment.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The costs for all necessary diagnostic and therapeutic procedures are covered by the social security agencies.

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