How to Relieve Menstrual Pain? Why Does It Happen?
Many women, at least at one point in their lives, have suffered from pain in the groin and uterine area during menstruation. Menstrual pain can be mild or severe, reducing the quality of life and causing fatigue, stress and weakness. Sometimes, these pains last before the menstrual period or only on the first day of the menstrual period, but in some women, these pains can last for days. Menstrual period pains usually do not cause any harm, but intense and severe pain may be a sign of different diseases. You can learn more about menstrual pain, things to consider and its treatment from the rest of the content.
What is Menstrual Pain?
The cycle that enables women of reproductive age to expel unfertilized egg cells from their bodies every month is called the menstrual cycle, and the pain experienced during this period is called menstrual pain or, in other words, menstrual pain. Although menstrual pain is a pain that some women experience routinely every month, there are also women who do not experience menstrual pain at all. Menstrual pain can last a few hours or continue from the first day to the last day of menstruation. Although mild pain can be relieved with some rest, intense and severe pain may require treatments, especially medication, and even surgical interventions. For this reason, especially women who experience severe menstrual pain every month should definitely consult a gynecologist. Menstrual pain may be an ideal response of the body due to the normal contractions of the uterine muscles, or it may be a sign of any disease in the reproductive tract. For this reason, it should not be neglected and an expert opinion should definitely be obtained.
What Causes Menstrual Pain?
At the beginning of each menstrual period, a new egg cell is formed in the body. If this egg cell is fertilized by the sperm cell right in the middle of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy occurs and continues to grow and develop. However, if fertilization does not occur, it must be eliminated from the body. The period during which this unfertilized egg cell is expelled from the body is the period of menstrual bleeding. Contractions occur in the uterine walls and inside the uterus to expel the unfertilized egg from the body. Meanwhile, the blood vessels leading to the uterus become compressed, and the amount of blood flow and oxygen decreases. The uterus, whose amount of oxygen does not reach a sufficient level, secretes chemicals that cause pain to increase. Prostaglandins, a type of chemicals produced in the uterus, also have an effect that causes the uterine muscles to contract more. As a result of all these, pain may occur in the body during the menstrual period.
Apart from routine menstrual pain, any disorder in the reproductive system can also cause menstrual pain, especially severe ones. Menstrual pain, which is not due to any symptoms, usually begins on the first day of menstruation, becomes lighter and ends gradually. However, endometriosis, polycystic ovary, any inflammatory disease in the uterus, polyps and intrauterine fibroids can often cause severe and intense menstrual pain.
How to Relieve Menstrual Pain?
Menstrual pain that does not develop due to any discomfort can be relieved with a few simple recipes or small lifestyle changes that can be applied at home. Applications and suggestions that may be good for menstrual pain can be listed as follows:
- Reducing salty, simple carbohydrate, processed and caffeine-rich food and drinks a few days before your period can relieve menstrual pain.
- Drinking soothing and relaxing herbal teas such as chamomile, lemon balm, passiflora and ginger also soothes the pain.
- Vegetable-based and light foods facilitate the comfort of your digestive system and the minimum amount of inflammation in the body.
- Short and regular walks improve blood circulation.
- Again, pelvic floor exercises can accelerate blood flow in and around the uterus, reduce menstrual pain, and help you relax by increasing endorphins, the happiness hormone.
- It is very relaxing to rest or sleep for a few hours if possible.
- Painkillers and magnesium supplements can help relieve your muscle cramps, provided that they are strictly under the supervision of a gynecologist.
Can Severe Menstrual Pain Be a Sign of Other Diseases?
Mild menstrual pain on the first day of menstrual bleeding can often be considered normal. However, menstrual pain that is severe and leaves the person in bed for days and unable to continue their social life definitely requires a medical check-up and examination. Because the symptom of many diseases can be shown as severe menstrual pain. These diseases are listed below as follows:
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- cervical stenosis
- Inverted uterus shape
- Any inflammatory accumulation or discomfort in the uterus or adjacent internal organs
- uterine tumors
- Polyps in the uterus
- Psychological reasons
Sometimes one or more of these disorders can cause menstrual pain and it can be very severe. However, for these disorders that can be detected by gynecological examination, it is necessary to consult a gynecologist and get information and follow a personalized treatment plan.
How is Painful Menstruation (Dysmenorrhea) Diagnosed?
If menstrual pain is intense and painful, and if it is long-lasting and continuous, it is defined as painful menstruation, scientifically known as dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is a disorder that reduces the quality of life of many women on a monthly basis and causes them to suffer from pain for days. To diagnose dysmenorrhea, a gynecological examination is first performed by an obstetrician. Disease history and general health information of the person are taken. If important points such as the duration of menstrual pain, their severity, and the amount of bleeding are consistent with the uterine images taken with ultrasound, dysmenorrhea is diagnosed. The diagnosis of dysmenorrhea can be improved with a treatment plan tailored to the underlying conditions or the person’s general health condition. Although women suffering from menstrual pain do not have a condition such as not being able to have children or having regular menstrual cycles, dysmenorrhea may also be observed, especially in individuals with idiopathic infertility. When diagnosing dysmenorrhea, the most common symptoms during the menstrual period can be summarized as follows:
- Pain in the groin
- Vomiting and nausea
- Low back pain intense pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Feeling psychologically reluctant and exhausted, hopeless mood
- Pain radiating down the legs
What are the drugs used in the treatment of menstrual pain and their side effects?
Menstrual pain treatment is planned completely individually. Sometimes, a medication and supplement plan may be made by the gynecologist, using magnesium, omega 3 supplements and low-dose painkillers. In some special cases, hormonal balance is affected by birth control pills. In this way, it is aimed to ensure that the menstrual period becomes regular and that factors such as bleeding remain close to ideal. Although rare, side effects of birth control pills such as loss of appetite, nausea or weight gain may be observed initially. A different treatment protocol can be prepared for menstrual pains that occur due to conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. Drug doses and treatment supports may vary depending on the patient’s health history, menstrual cycle, height and weight. Menstrual pain is a discomfort that should not be ignored, regardless of the reason. Especially women who deal with this problem for months in a row should definitely consult a gynecologist. Do not be late to get information and an appointment from your gynecologist to have a healthy and painless menstrual period and improve your quality of life.