Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea or period pains, are painful sensations felt in the lower abdomen that can occur both before and during a woman’s menstrual period. The pain ranges from dull and annoying to severe and extreme.
Menstrual cramps tend to begin after an egg is released from the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube (ovulation).About half of women experience menstrual cramps, and about 15% describe the pain as severe. It has been shown that women who do not exercise experience more painful menstrual cramps. So many women have the belief that menstrual pain stops after childbirth
There are two primary types of these difficult or painful periods
- In primary dysmenorrhea, there is no underlying gynecologic problem causing the pain. This type of cramping may begin within six months to a year following menarche (the beginning of menstruation), the time when a girl starts having menstrual periods. Menstrual cramps typically do not begin until ovulatory menstrual cycles (when an egg is released from the ovaries) occur, and actual menstrual bleeding usually begins before the onset of ovulation. Therefore, an adolescent girl may not experience dysmenorrhea until months to years following the onset of menstruation.
- Secondary dysmenorrhea is characterized by cramping pains that are due to an identifiable medical problem such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Ways to reduce menstrual pain
- Use a heating pad on your abdomen and back which will provide a soothing effect and also reduce the pain to some extent.
- Avoid oily food, meat, caffeine at all costs during the menstrual cycle.
- Banana is known to reduce the cramp sensation. So make sure you eat one.
- There are some who crave for food during their menstrual cycle. So even while you binge on all your favourite foods, avoid junk food or better still, eat fruit and vegetables.
- Make walking everyday a habit, this would improve blood circulation and ensure less pain during the period