Period pain is also known as menstrual cramps. Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for period pain. Many women have experienced menstrual cramps during their periods. Period pain is as painful as muscle cramp in the abdomen (tummy), extending to the back and thighs. Many factors are responsible for the causes of period pain; some are mentioned below.
The intensity of the pain varies from woman to woman and the level of prostaglandin. This lower abdominal (tummy) pain is very common. These pains can affect women day to day activities. Let’s understand the causes of period pain to alleviate the suffering.
Two Types Of Period Pain
1. Primary Period Pain
Primary period pain refers to common menstrual cramps. This pain is not caused by any medical conditions. Generally, during the period when a girl starts her first menstrual cycle, she experiences some lower abdominal pain. In this type, the pain lasts for the 1st to 4th days of their periods.
2. Secondary Period Pain
Secondary period pain is a result of a disorder in the reproductive organs. These pains are caused by underlying medical conditions. Secondary dysmenorrhea starts in the 30s or 40s of women. They can experience pain when they are not on their periods and multiple times too.
Different Causes Of Period Pain
1. Common Cause For Period Pain
A main and common cause of period pain is muscular wall contraction of the womb. There is continuous tightening and contracting of the muscular wall of the womb but it is mild, that is why it is not felt. But during periods, it contracts more vigorously. This contraction sheds the womb lining as a part of the period.
During the contraction, there is a temporary cut down of blood supply in the uterus and due to the lack of oxygen, chemicals are produced from the tissues of the uterus that triggers the pain. Prostaglandin is also one kind of chemical that is produced. This chemical increases the contraction more.
2. Underlying Medical Conditions
These medical conditions affect mostly 30 to 45 age women.
- Endometriosis: This is a painful medical condition where the cell is implanted in other places like ovaries, fallopian tubes, etc., and not in the uterus. This is an inflammatory disease. Endometriosis can cause fertility problems.
- Fibroids: Fibroids are benign tumors that are noncancerous tumors that grow in the uterus.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: In this, the upper genital tract (fallopian tubes, ovaries, and upper part of the uterus) is affected by bacteria. This is also an inflammatory disease. PID can scar the fallopian tubes and increase the risk of fertilized egg implants outside the uterus which is also known as ectopic pregnancy.
- Adenomyosis: The tissue lining the uterus starts growing into the muscular wall of the womb. Adenomyosis can cause heavy bleeding with severe and sharp cramps (knife-like pelvic pain during periods).
- Cervical stenosis: The cervix is the passageway from the vagina to the uterus. The cervix is completely closed or narrowed in the cervical stenosis which can be due to menopause where there is a lack of estrogen. And this cervical stenosis is one of the causes of period pain.
- STIs: Sexually transmitted infections can also cause painful periods as there is infection such as chlamydia, herpes, or HPV. These infections cause pain during menstruation.
3. Contraceptive Devices
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) is a type of contraceptive device that is inserted in the uterus. It is made up of copper and plastic. In the first few months of insertion, it causes severe pain during periods.
Risk Factors Of Period Pain
- Puberty started early at age of 11 or younger
- Being under the age of 30
- Drinking excess caffeine
- Heavy bleeding during periods
- Irregular periods
- Family history of painful periods
Period pain is common in many menstruating women. Menstrual cramps don’t cause other medical complications. One needs to know why they have cramps and take proper treatment. The above mentioned are the most common causes of period pain. You need to consult the gynecologist when you experience severe pain even when you are not on your periods, have heavy bleeding, and worse pain during the periods, or if the pain is not relieved from medication.
Read Also: 12 Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance In Women