Why Do Periods Hurt So Much?

Source – International Planned Parenthood Federation

Menstruation refers to the process through which your uterus loses its lining each month. While some discomfort is normal during your period, extreme or devastating pain that interferes with your life is not.


Medically reviewed by Dr K on 20th June 2022. 

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  1. What is the source of your period pain?
  2. Prostaglandins
  3. Estrogen and progesterone

Why Do Periods Hurt So Much?

Menstruation refers to the process through which your uterus loses its lining each month. While some discomfort is normal during your period, extreme or devastating pain that interferes with your life is not.

Dysmenorrhea is a disorder that causes painful periods. It is the most prevalent menstrual disorder: Every month, more than half of menstrual women suffer soreness for at least one or two days.

Painful periods are divided into two types:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea often begins shortly after the first menstruation. Prostaglandins, which exist naturally in the body, are often to blame.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea is more common later in life and is generally caused by a reproductive disorder.

There are strategies to treat and lessen the pain regardless of the one you are feeling.

Source - SpunOut

What is the source of your period pain?

Menstrual cycles may cause a range of painful symptoms. Symptoms might sometimes appear just before your period begins. They usually start to fade within the first few days of your menstruation.

Prostaglandins

Cramps are produced by prostaglandins, which are hormone-like lipids that force your uterus to contract in order to clear itself of its lining.

Prostaglandins have a role in inflammation and pain responses as well. They live in the uterine lining and are also removed from it.

When they are released, they enhance the force of your contractions in the first few days of your period. The more prostaglandins there are, the more intense the cramping.

Extremely high amounts might also result in nausea and diarrhoea. The amount of prostaglandins in your body decreases when the lining sheds. This is why pains usually go away during the first few days of your period.

The following factors may also cause menstrual cramps:

  • endometriosis
  • fibroids
  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • cervical stenosis

Ibuprofen (Advil) and other pain medicines may help ease cramps. However, if an over-the-counter pain killer does not help the pain at all, see your doctor see whether hormonal therapy is a possibility.

Estrogen and progesterone

Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that assist in regulating the menstrual cycle. They can also affect chemicals in the brain that are linked to headaches. There is a drop in oestrogen levels in the body just before your period, which may cause headaches.

It’s better to address a headache as soon as you see one coming on. The sooner you begin therapy, the more probable you will find relief. Check to see whether you’re getting enough water. If at all possible, lay down in a dark, quiet room.

You can also wish to relax by placing a cool cloth on your head or doing some deep breathing. Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen (Aleve) may also be effective.

Hormone fluctuations may also trigger breast pain and tenderness, which can be quite painful for some women. Estrogen causes the breast ducts to grow, while progesterone causes the milk glands to swell. This causes breast soreness.

Breasts may also feel “heavy." NSAIDs may often be effective in reducing premenstrual breast tenderness or discomfort. If your pain is severe, you may benefit from prescription hormone medication.

The Takeaway

While some period pain or discomfort is natural, severe or debilitating, or pain that interferes with your life or regular activities is not. However, services are available.

Here are some tips to help you cope with the discomfort of your period:

  • To alleviate menstruation cramps, try several home cures.
  • Some lifestyle adjustments might help reduce your symptoms of breast swelling and soreness.
  • If hormone-related headaches are a problem during your period, here are some strategies to get relief and avoid them from happening.

You don’t have to put up with painful periods. There are remedies for your pain, regardless of its cause.

See your doctor if home cures, alternative treatments, and lifestyle changes do not relieve menstruation pain. They can help you in obtaining relief.

Begin monitoring your pain and bring it with you to your visit. A pain diary might prove that your symptoms are indeed related to your menstrual cycle and give some confirmation. It will also assist your doctor in understanding what is going on.

Make a note of the following in your log:

  • when the symptom appeared
  • symptom classification
  • the symptom’s intensity and duration

You may either print one or create your own.

More rigorous treatment, such as birth control pills or other drugs to cope with hormone changes, may be required at times. Your doctor may also order tests to rule out any other conditions that might be triggering your symptoms.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-periods-hurt

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