Period cramps and pain are habitual events for most of us, aren't they?
It's absolutely normal to experience mild aching, spasms in the lower abdomen, mood swings and sweet cravings several days before menses or in the beginning of the periods.
But it may be a great problem, if menstrual discomfort and pain interfere with your activities and make you feel too bad to do anything.
Painful menstruation is medically called dysmenorrhea. There are two types of this disorder.
Primary dysmenorrhea can be diagnosed, if your period pain is not related to any health conditions. Experts say that smoking, early age of the first menstruation, nulliparity, obesity and family history are the main risk factors of primary dysmenorrhea.
It was found that women with this problem have increased levels of chemicals called prostaglandins, which make nerves in the womb more sensitive for aches.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by certain underlying disorder and can be treated with medicines or surgery.
Sometimes severe menstrual pain may be a symptom of these disorders:
#1. Leiomyoma – uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors, which frequently stay asymptomatic, till they become large enough to cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pain, pressure and sense of heaviness in the pelvic area.
#2. Endometriosis – occasionally endometrial cells, which normally line the uterine, may appear anywhere outside their normal location (most commonly, in the ovaries). Misplaced endometrium continues to thick and shed, according to normal menstrual cycle. That usually leads to pain in the lower abdomen, which worsens during periods, bloating, uncomfortable urination and dyspareunia (painful intercourses).
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#3. Pelvic inflammatory disease – chronic inflammation in the womb and fallopian tubes, caused by sexually transmitted infection (Chlamydia, Neisseria etc.). The most frequent symptoms include aching in the lower part of the belly, which occurs in the end of the menstruation or during some days after it, abnormal vaginal discharge, nausea and low-grade fever.
#4. Adenomyosis – in this disorder, glandular cells from the uterine endometrium tend to grow into the muscular tissue of the womb. Painful periods and heavy menstrual bleeding may be the only signs of this poorly-understood disease.
#5. Cervical stenosis – narrow cervical canal may be a result of some procedures like surgical removal of the uterine polyp or cancer treatment. Actually, polyp by itself can also decrease a lumen of the cervical canal, leading to painful menstrual periods.
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