Whether at work, school, at the gym, or out with the family, pain related to menstrual cycles can significantly disrupt your life. Menstruation can be painful and distressing at times, and studies have found that nearly 90% of women experience some type of discomfort during their periods.
As there are many different reasons why menstruation causes pain, there are also several different ways women can combat their menstrual pain. Keep reading to learn more about menstrual pain relief.
What Is Menstrual Pain?
There are many different reasons why you might have menstrual pain. If you have severe pain or feel that the pain is unusual, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
The most common type of menstrual pain is cramps. Cramps are usually sharp pains or aches in the lower abdomen that coincide with your period and can last from one hour to multiple days. They are caused by the contraction of the uterus during menstruation.
Although cramps are common, certain women are more likely to have more severe cramps and menstrual pains.
A woman is more likely to experience menstrual pain if she:
- Has never been pregnant
- Started her period at an early age
- Is overweight or obese
- Smokes cigarettes
- Has periods that last five days or longer
Why Does Menstruation Hurt?
Periods can be painful because of the contracting the uterus does in order to shed the lining it has built up.
When an egg is not fertilized within a certain window, it must be released from the body. The process is initiated by decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones cause the lining of the uterus to break down, producing an inflammatory compound called prostaglandin. These compounds make the uterus contract so that it can shed its lining and the unfertilized egg.
This process is completely natural, as are its side effects. The pain women experience during this time, though, can be extremely uncomfortable and distracting, which is why many seek effective ways to relieve it.
Treatments for Menstrual Pain
If you are one of the 90% of women who get cramps, there are a few things you can do. If the pain is sharp and seems unusual for your cycles, make sure you talk to your doctor.
Aspirin and ibuprofen work well for many women. There are some home remedies such as applying heat at the site of pain and practicing yoga poses. It is also important that you get plenty of rest and avoid caffeine, smoking, and alcohol. Another option is alternative medicines, which do not introduce any synthetic hormones into the body. They can provide a safe way to control fluctuating hormone levels and ease the contraction process during menstruation.