Menstrual pains: types, causes, symptoms, & treatment

Relieving menstrual pains.

Menstrual cramps means painful menstruation. It is one of the most frequent gynaecological complaints. It is a symptom complex and not a disease. Many women experience mild discomfort during menstruation, but the term “dysmenorrhoea” is reserved for those whose pain prevents normal activity and requires medications.

Menstrual cramps occurs in 30-50% of females and 10% are incapacitated for 1-3 days each month.

Types of menstrual pain/dysmenorrhoea

The are two types of menstrual pain…..

  1. Primary dysmenorrhea: occurs in women who experience pain before and during menstruation. It is most frequent in virgins, arises few months to 3 years after menarche and maximal between 15 to 25 years of age. It is less frequent in married women and practically never a problem in women that have given birth. It most times occurs during ovulation. A hormone called prostagladin triggers uterine and fallopian tubes contraction in order to expel the lining. This contractions can cause pain and inflammation. The level of prostagladin rises just before menstruation starts.
  2. Secondary dysmenorrhoea: occurs in women with normal/painless periods that become painful later in life.

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causes of menstrual pains

Common causes of secondary menstrual pains are:

  • endometriosis,
  • uterine fibroid,
  • adenomyosis,
  • pelvic infections (chronic PID),
  • intrauterine contraceptive device
  • cervical stenosis
  • fibroid polyps
  • ovarian cyst
  • ectopic pregnancy

symptoms of menstrual cramps

  • intense abdominal pain
  • low back pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • leg pain, radiating down the leg
  • weakness
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • headaches

treatment of menstrual cramps

Treatment could be medical or surgical (especially for secondary dysmenorrhoea)

medical

Most cases of primary menstrual pain will be relieved by drugs that suppresses prostagladin production or action. Some other drugs that suppresses ovulation.

The drugs are below:

  1. Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs(NSAIDs) e.g.
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (advil)
  • mefenamic acid (ponstel)
  • flufenamic acid
  • piroxicam (felvin)

Felvin 20mg once daily, mefenamic acid 500mg 8hourly, flufenamic acid 200mg 8hourly gives excellent relief in more than 85% of women.

The above drugs causes stomach ulcer. Please take NSAIDs with meals. If you are an ulcer patient don’t take these drugs.

2. Oral contraceptives: cyclical administration of oral contraceptives to suppress ovulation over a period of 6-12 months offers great relief. Many women continue to be free of menstrual pain after treatment has been discontinued.

3. Analgesics and antispasmodics: drugs such as Buscopan and Baralgin do provide good pain relief in some persons especially in the mild to moderate menstrual pain.

simple home treatment/remedy for menstrual pains

  • massaging your abdomen
  • have a warm bath
  • regular exercise
  • use a warm pad on your back or pubic area
  • eat light/well
  • stop/reduce alcohol intake
  • reduce sugary foods
  • no caffeine
  • raise your legs up
  • lay in a knee-chest position
  • do yoga
  • relax

CAVEAT: This article is not a substitute to seeing a doctor.

Sources

Healthline

WebMd

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