Are you suffering from extreme period pain and is it hindering your work life and personal life? Do you know extreme period pain can be a predisposition factor for many nutritional imbalances? I was 13 years old when I hit my puberty age and started getting my menstrual cycles. I used to cry out of pain when the cycle started to begin and it remained for about 4 days making my life so painful. That pain caused me blackouts and vomiting and I used to hold my stomach and lie on the bed skipping my school for a day or two. My mom told me to drink hot water and apply a hot pack to get relieved from the pain. But it didn’t provide much relief to me, and I experienced the terrible pain for almost 3 months. I discussed this with my mom and went to visit the nearest gynecologist, these painful periods made me visit the nearest gynecologist in Delhi where we stay.
Upon visiting a gynecologist, I was able to understand the reason behind the painful periods, what causes it and what the treatment options available are.
Periods are like a health monitor that depicts our overall health and makes you realize how well your body is nourished. Menstruation that occurs once a month can cause shredding of the uterus lining that passes through a small opening in the cervix towards and outside of the vaginal canal in the form of blood. Painful periods or menstruation is a very common problem experienced by women of all ages but mostly experienced by teens. It is also termed as dysmenorrhea which is classified into two type’s primary (pain that occurs during and throughout your cycle) and secondary (pain that occur in later stages).
What are the causes of a painful period?
Any pain in the body is caused due to an increase in the prostaglandins in the body. Similarly, painful periods are also a result of the same where prostaglandin triggers muscle contractions in the uterus promoting the expulsion of the lining. Prostaglandins help heal the body and during the process, a female can experience pain, fever, chills, redness, and swelling. The cause for painful periods is not definite and can include any one of the following or multiple causes.
- Females who are under age 20
- Genetically inherited from family
- Certain bad habits like smoking
- Women suffering from irregular periods and having heavy bleeding during their cycle.
- Women who never had a baby
- Hitting puberty at an early age.
- Hormonal changes in the body that starts 1 to 2 weeks before menstruation. It is also called as premenstrual syndrome
- Sometimes the uterine cells grow in other parts of the reproductive system like fallopian tubes, ovaries, or in the tissue lining of the pelvis, which is often termed as endometriosis.
- Tumors or fibroids in the uterus put pressure on the uterus and cause abnormal menstruation and pain
- An infection in the uterus or another reproductive organ in the pelvic region can cause inflammation of the reproductive organs and pain
Whatever the case may be its always important to understand the root cause behind the painful periods in order to find the least invasive, safest and most effective solution to combat the situation of painful periods.
How a gynecologist Diagnose the cause of painful periods?
- A gynecologist can ask your symptoms and check your medical records to evaluate your medical history and determine the underlying cause of your painful menstrual periods.
- Your doctor can also conduct a physical examination which includes checking you’re pelvic to identify any abnormalities or signs of infection in your reproductive system.
- If the condition is still not ruled by physical examination, then your doctor may ask you to undergo an ultrasound test that creates images of your reproductive organs when placed over the skin.
- The doctor can also prescribe you to go for a CT scan or an MRI scan.
- Your gynecologist after evaluating all the test reports of imaging techniques can use a fiber-optic laser light to see inside your abdominal cavity. The abdominal cavity is made accessible by making small incisions in the abdomen.
What are the various treatment options available for painful periods?
Home care remedies – some Home care treatments may help soothe your pain and can control the symptoms. Some of them include
- Placing a heating pad on your back or near the pelvic area, this allows relaxation of the blood vessels by dilating it and allowing blood flow to the area.
- Similarly massaging with gentle hands at your abdomen can also provide relief from the symptoms.
- Taking a hot shower, doing certain exercises like yoga or other relaxation techniques.
- Eating good light, healthy and nutritious food.
- Cutting down the regular intake of salt, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol can also help relieve the painful symptoms.
- Taking vitamin B supplements, calcium, and magnesium supplements.
- Raising your legs from your pelvic area, or bending them can also provide temporary relief from pain.
Medical treatment that can be used to treat the painful symptoms of the menstrual cycle include
- Consuming non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which can lower the levels of prostaglandin levels in the body and help fight pain.
- Certain pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium
- Antidepressants drugs that regulate your mood swings caused by the pain and hormonal changes in the body.
Also Read: Common Questions to Ask Your Gynecologist