How Much Period Pain Is Normal
If youre like most women, youve experienced period pain at some point in your life. ;A little bit of mild cramping can be considered normal, especially at the beginning of your period. But ideally, you wont even feel your period coming at all.
If youre consistently having to pop painkillers like candy, or youre in too much pain to go to work or school, then something deeper is going on. That type of period pain is not normal. In medicine, painful periods are called dysmenorrhea.;
Your period is like a barometer of your overall health.;It tells you how well your body is being nourished , how much stress youve been under, and how much inflammation might be going on in your body.
Its important to uncover the root causes of why;your hormones are in turmoil so that you can find the least invasive, safest and most effective solution.
The great news is that womens hormonal issues respond beautifully to natural medicine and, with a little detective work, you can troubleshoot your problems to get back on the road to wellness.
First, lets explore;the causes of menstrual pain.;
Im going to get all sciency because I want you to really understand whats going on inside of your body. I even made a cute little drawing to help explain everything. Bear with me and keep reading. Itll all make sense I promise!
How Can You Tell If The Pain Of Your Menstrual Cramps Is Normal
If you have severe or unusual menstrual cramps or cramps that last for more than two or three days, contact your healthcare provider. Both primary and secondary menstrual cramps can be treated, so it’s important to get checked.
First, you will be asked to describe your symptoms and menstrual cycles. Your healthcare provider will also perform a pelvic exam. During this exam, your provider inserts a speculum . The provider is able to examine your vagina, cervix and uterus. The doctor will feel for any lumps or changes. They may take a small sample of vaginal fluid for testing.
If your provider thinks you may have secondary dysmenorrhea, you may need additional tests, such as an ultrasound or a laparoscopy. If those tests indicate a medical problem, your healthcare provider will discuss treatments.
If you use tampons and develop the following symptoms, get medical help right away: over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dizziness, fainting or near fainting.
- A rash that looks like a sunburn.
These are symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, a life-threatening illness.
Take Otc Pain Medseven Before Your Period Starts
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen act by blocking prostaglandin production, and several studies have shown that they can be very effective in treating menstrual pain. All of the NSAIDs studied seem to work better than acetaminophen , according to a 2015 Cochrane Review of previous researchbut its not clear which one of the two is the best medicine for severe menstrual cramps.
Taking Motrin or Tylenol, or a combination of the two, every four to six hours can be helpful, says Dr. Worly. Sometimes it can also be helpful to start taking those medicines before your period startsso if you know its going to start on a Friday, start taking those medicines on Thursday.
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Why Do You Get Period Pain In Your Legs
The reasoning behind why your thighs hurt on your period is actually quite straightforward , and understanding how period pain works is the key to understanding why you feel pain in certain areas of your body. Put simply, the pain arises from contractions within the womb, states the NHS.
If these contractions are mild, you’re unlikely to notice them. But, during your period, these contractions become stronger in order to encourage the lining of the womb to shed. This results in blood vessels being compressed, which, in turn, leads to a lack of blood and oxygen supply to the area. When tissues don’t have oxygen, they release chemicals that cause pain.
âMenstrual pain is mainly related to levels of prostaglandin,â Dr Cynthia Graham PhD, Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health at University of Southampton, tells Bustle. The purpose of prostaglandin is to encourage more shedding, which, as you’ve likely guessed, results in more pain.
âUnfortunately, prostaglandins donât just affect the uterine muscles, but can cause cramps in other muscles too,â Dr Molly O’Shea wrote on the U by Kotex site. This unfortunately results in pain in areas other than your pelvis, such as the back, and legs, and is sometimes called âreferred painâ.
How Common Is Period Pain
The medical term for period pain is dysmenorrhoea and it’s a condition that many women are familiar with.
The research on just how many women have painful periods varies but, in a 2012 study from Italy, 84% of young women experienced period pain.
In an Australian study of female high school students, it affected 93%.
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Foods That Hurt: Hot Peppers
For many people, spicy foods and an upset stomach donât mix. Chili peppers have stuff called capsaicin. Not only does it make your mouth burn, but it may also turn on nerves in your gut and make your cramps worse. Case in point: Research shows that people with IBS had more pain after eating a spicy meal made with chili peppers.
Why Do I Have Cramps But No Period
Pelvic pain similar to a menstrual period can happen at times when no period is due or can occur because of conditions other than the monthly cycle. Sometimes it is hard to tell the exact reason for cramps that feel like a menstrual period.
The following diseases and conditions are examples of situations that can cause pain or cramps when not on your period.
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Foods That Hurt: Dairy Products
Too much dairy can trigger stomach cramps for some people. Thatâs because it has a type of sugar called lactose, and many people donât make enough of the enzyme that digests it. That can cause stomach pain, bloating, and nausea within a couple of hours after eating. You may need to cut back on milk, cheese, or other dairy foods, or you can eat lactose-free versions or take an enzyme supplement.
Massage Your Tummy With Essential Oils
Oils that seem to be most effective at reducing period cramps, due to their ability to boost circulation, include:
You can find essential oils online, or at your local health food store. Some drugstores may sell them, too.
Before using essential oils, youll want to mix them with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba oil. Carrier oils work by safely carrying the essential oil into your skin, and helping to spread the oil over a large area.
Once your oil mixture is ready to use, rub a few drops between your hands and then give your tummy a gentle massage.
Experts say massaging in a circular motion for just five minutes a day before and during your period may help lessen cramps and boost circulation in your abdomen.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen , naproxen , and aspirin are effective treatments for period cramps.
These medications work best if theyre taken at the first sign of cramps or pain.
You can find ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, at any drugstore. Be sure to take only as directed, and talk to your doctor first if you have a history of heart, liver, or kidney problems, or if you have asthma, ulcers, or bleeding disorders.
recent study , low-to-medium intensity aerobic exercise can help reduce pain caused by period cramps.
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What Counts As Severe Cramping
Many women hear that stomach cramps before periods are normal, so they try to power through their pain. This common misconception may be keeping you from getting the help you deserve. When asking Is it normal to have cramps 5 days before period?, you need to distinguish between light and severe cramping. Truly bad cramps before period are never normal. Light twinges of pain are common, but intense discomfort is not.;
Signs that you have severe cramping include:
- Your cramps dont improve if you take over-the-counter pain medication.
- You cannot focus, talk normally, or breathe easily during a cramp.
- Youve quit doing certain daily activities due to cramping.
- Your cramps are worse than your usual level of period cramping.
- Your cramps are accompanied by pelvic pain, especially during intercourse.
- You experience vomiting, dizziness, abnormal discharge, or fever alongside your cramps.
Could Endometriosis Be Causing Your Abdominal Pain
- Period pain: Although many women experience cramping during their periods, those with endometriosis describe their level of abdominal pain as being far worse than usual. The pain can begin before menstruation starts and extend several days into the period. Lower back pain is not uncommon. The Mayo Clinic advises women to contact their healthcare provider if severe pain and cramping lasts longer than two-to-three days.;
- Spotting: Light vaginal bleeding prior to or between periods.
- Pain with intercourse: Pain during or after sexual intercourse is common for those with endometriosis.;
- Pain with bowel movements or urination: These symptoms are more likely to occur during a womans period.;
- Excessive bleeding: Endometriosis can cause occasional heavy periods or bleeding between periods in some women.;
- Infertility: Endometriosis is often first diagnosed in women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
- Additional symptoms: Other symptoms women with endometriosis can experience include bloating, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea, especially during menstruation.
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You Have Intense Stomach Cramps In Your Lower Abdomen But You Feel Better After You Poop
This can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome , a disorder thats related to how your brain and gut work together , the NIDDK says. Basically, IBS can cause your gut to be more sensitive and change how the muscles in your bowel contract, the NIDDK explains. That can lead to myriad issues, like persistent stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and more. With IBS, the abdominal cramping is usually in the lower abdomenand often improves after completing bowel movements, Dr. Tripathi says. IBS is a chronic disorder, but its symptoms can come and go, the NIDDK says.
Stomach cramps that recede post-poop can also sometimes be a sign of good old-fashioned constipation. Since IBS can cause constipation , the lines are a little blurred here. If these symptoms havent been an issue for you in the past, theres a chance youre just dealing with regular constipation, Dr. Tripathi says. But if this is a recurrent thing for you, definitely mention that to your doctor and ask if it could be a sign of IBS based on other symptoms you may or may not have.
You Have Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where eating gluten causes serious damage to the small intestine.
Many health care practitioners dont realize that the symptoms of celiac disease can vary, so many people go undiagnosed. In fact, less than half of people with celiac disease have the classic symptoms of GI pain and diarrhea.
Skin rashes, neurological symptoms, fatigue, painful sex and menstrual pain can all be clues that you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.;Remember, anything that causes inflammation in the gut will cause inflammation in the rest of your body!
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What To Do If Your Stomach Hurts During Your Period
To get rid of abdominal pain during your period, you can take spasms and analgesics. Now there are a large number of drugs that can quickly relieve pain. However, do not overuse pain pills, because moderate pain during periods this is normal.
To prevent painful periods in the future, you need to adhere to the standard rules of a healthy lifestyle: sleep at least 8 hours, eat right, spend your free time outdoors more often, minimizing stress and engage in moderate physical activity. In this case, the period will not be very painful.
If you have a stomach ache and no painkillers at your fingertips, use such useful life hacks.
Put a heating pad or a bottle of warm water on the bottom of your stomach. It will help relax the abdominal mice and reduce the intensity of uterine contraction. Massage can also relieve your suffering. Massage the abdomen clockwise until the pain subsides.
During periods, the body often swells, so you need to drink enough water. If you use herbal teas, you can achieve and reduce the intensity of pain. Choose mint or chamomile tea.
To reduce pain, you can lie down in a pose that will relax the abdominal muscles. Rest curled up, and the pain will gradually come to naught.
Signs You Should See A Doctor About Stomach Pain
Stomach pain can be tricky for even the best doctors to diagnose, so if all youre armed with is Google, M.D., sussing out whats causing your discomfort can be hard. For starters, stomach pain is a pretty broad description. Are we talking a mild yet persistent twinge or a cramps-that-hurt-so-badly-youre-on-the-floor kind of situation? Then theres the fact that stomach pain can crop up pretty much anywhere in your abdomen, and health issues that cause problems in one part of your belly might not affect others. These seemingly little nuances all matter when it comes to narrowing down what could be behind your stomach pain.
If youre struggling with stomach pain that makes you wonder if you should see a doctor, you probably should. Nothing beats an evaluation from an expert. That said, its understandable that you might want to have some inkling of what may be going on before then. Here are some common types of stomach pain you can experience, plus the health issues that could be behind them.
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Cook At Home More Often
Of course, not everyone has the time or ability to make home-cooked meals nightly. But when you can, try to make it a habit, as making your own meals can drastically decrease bloating.
People are often unaware of hidden salt in restaurant meals, as well as in processed foods, Dr. Streicher says. Of course, thats why restaurant meals taste so good, but if you do your own cooking you can make sure not to over-salt your food, which can make a huge difference as far as keeping bloating down.
Probiotics: Tiny Fighters On Your Side
Rather than take a harsh laxative thatll leave you crampy and running for the toilet, give probiotics a try for constipation relief. These helpful bacteria dont cause disease like their harmful cousins. Instead, they help maintain a healthy balance in your GI tract.
One study found that probiotics like Bifidobacterium lactis keep stool moving smoothly through your digestive tract. And while smooth-moving stool may sound gross, its a great way to prevent backups and blockages. Dimidi E, et al. The effect of probiotics on functional constipation in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.089151
Better out than in.
Lactobacillus GG, acidophilus, and bifidobacteria are other strains of bacteria that can give gut health a kick. Probiotics may also be helpful for slowing diarrhea down along with unclogging constipation.
You can buy probiotics in a supplement bottle or find them in fermented foods like these:
- pickled ginger
Yogurt with added live cultures will also help restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut.
Frozen yogurt, however, will never be ice cream, no matter how many well-intentioned bacteria it contains. Yes, even if it believes in itself.
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What Is Are Menstrual Cramps
Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for pain with your period or menstrual cramps. There are two types of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary.
Primary dysmenorrhea is the name for common menstrual cramps that come back over and over again and arent due to other diseases. Pain usually begins one or two days before you get your period or when bleeding actual starts. You may feel pain ranging from mild to severe in the lower abdomen, back or thighs.
Pain can typically last 12 to 72 hours, and you might have other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and even diarrhea. Common menstrual cramps may become less painful as you get older and may stop entirely if you have a baby.
If you have painful periods because of a disorder or an infection in your female reproductive organs, it is called secondary dysmenorrhea. Pain from secondary dysmenorrhea usually begins earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than common menstrual cramps. You usually dont have nausea, vomiting, fatigue or diarrhea.
What I Can Do To Relieve Pms
Many of the things that help ease cramps can also help with PMS. Here are some different ways to relieve PMS symptoms:
Take over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen , naproxen , or acetaminophen . Always follow the instructions on the bottle. Talk with your doctor before taking pain medication if you have an allergy to aspirin or severe asthma.
Do aerobic exercise, like walking, running, riding a bike, swimming, or any activity that gets your heart rate up. Regular exercise is ideal.
Do breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
Get plenty of rest. Sleeping regularly every night can help with stress, mood changes, and feeling tired or fatigued.
Eat healthy foods like fruits, veggies , whole grains, and yogurt.
Limit fat, salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Make sure you get enough vitamins in your diet, or take vitamin supplements. If you dont get enough calcium, take a supplement of 1200 mg of calcium daily. Magnesium and Vitamin E might also help.
Use hormonal birth control . Your doctor can help you find a birth control method that can help with PMS.