Dysmenorrhea (more commonly known as menstrual cramps) is a condition that occurs immediately before or during a woman’s period. Although most menstrual cramps only cause mild discomfort, many women find themselves wondering, why are my menstrual cramps so bad?
Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus that happen during menstruation. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can cut off the blood supply of oxygen to the uterus by pressing against the nearby blood vessels.
Relieving Painful Periods
There are several things women can do to minimize the symptoms of painful periods, including:
- Placing a heating pad on the abdomen or lower back
- Taking over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol, Motrin, or Aleve
- Avoiding foods that are high in caffeine or salt
- Getting plenty of rest
- Avoiding alcohol and cigarettes
Studies have found that women who take birth control pills have less menstrual pain than women who do not. If you are interested in taking birth control pills, speak with your doctor. Together, you can determine your best birth control option.
Reasons for Severe Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps that are so painful that they cause you to miss work or social events could be a sign of endometriosis, a condition that occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows outside the uterus. According to Mayo Clinic, “In endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down, and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped.”
In addition to painful menstrual cramps, symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Pain during sex
- Excessive bleeding
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
- Bloating or nausea
Other conditions that can cause severe menstrual cramps include:
See a Healthcare Professional for Severe Menstrual Cramps
If you experience severe menstrual cramps that last longer than two or three days, contact a healthcare provider. FastMed Urgent Care has locations throughout North Carolina, Arizona, and Texas that are open seven days a week and never require an appointment..
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Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/basics/definition
Merck Manuals: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/womens/health-issues/noncancerous-gynecologic-abnormalities/cervical-stenosis