What Causes Stomach Pain During My Menstrual Cycle
Abdominal pain during the menstrual cycle can have more than one cause. In a normal menstrual cycle a chemical prostiglandin is released in higher levels. This causes contractions of the smooth muscle of the uterine wall and assists in the sloughing to the lining which then becomes the menstrual flow. The prostiglandins can also affect smooth muscle in other parts of the body, including the intestines. The contractions of the intestines are sometimes felt as painful.
Another source of abdominal pain during menses is the brain misinterpreting the source of the pain. The sensory nerves of the abdomen are not highly organized. Pain messages from the uterine cramps that occur during menses may âreadâ as pain in the abdomen by the brain.
Finally, an abnormal source of abdominal pain during menses may occur if endometriosis is present. Endometrial implants on the intestines grow and then bleed with menstrual flow. The presence of active bleeding in this tissue causes irritation and pain.
Pain In The Stomach After Eating While On Your Period
At some point, people experience abdominal pain after eating 1. This pain can be linked to many minor and major health problems. During the menstrual cycle, women may experience abdominal pain as part of premenstrual syndrome or due to many other conditions that can occur during menses 1.
At some point, people experience abdominal pain after eating 1. This pain can be linked to many minor and major health problems. During the menstrual cycle, women may experience abdominal pain as part of premenstrual syndrome or due to many other conditions that can occur during menses 1. Severe pain should never go overlooked even if it is experienced after eating a meal.
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What To Do If You Have Pain In Lower Left Abdomen
The lower left side of your abdomen is home to the last part of your colon, and for some, the left ovary in those who have them. Minor pain in this area is usually nothing to worry about. It may clear up on its own in a day or so. If you have pain related to an accident or injury, call 911 or local emergency services right away.
Symptoms of indigestion usually include pain in the upper part of the abdomen, feeling overly full, or feeling too full after eating. Bloating and gas can also cause symptoms that may feel like cramping in the lower abdomen. What is pelvic inflammatory disease ?
Many people experience mild cramping that may later go away on its own. Some mild symptoms are relieved with a few home remedies such as: Taking a rest. Taking enough fluids. Going for a walk. Applying heat to the lower abdomen. Relaxing exercises and deep breathing. Doing yoga.
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Adenomyosis: Painful Cramps And Sex
Adenomyosis is like endometriosis, except instead of the endometrium implanting itself outside of the uterus, it is found embedded deep within the uterine muscle. In women with adenomyosis, the uterus acts like a bruised muscle, said Sinervo. Symptoms of adenomyosis include painful central cramps and painful intercourse, which can hurt up until a day or two after. Adenomyosis is usually seen in women over age 30 who have already had children. However, Sinervo added, it has been seen in teenagers as well.
Jagged Little Pill: Is Birth Control To Blame
If your symptoms are truly unbearable and last beyond your period, you may want to investigate whether your birth control pill is to blame.
Hormones in the pill might make the immune system wonky, increase inflammation, and change the balance of bacteria in the gut in a way that is simply not cool, setting the stage for inflammatory bowel disease , according to research from 2016. Khalili H. . Risk of inflammatory bowel disease with oral contraceptives and menopausal hormone therapy: Current evidence and future directions. DOI: 10.1007/s40264-015-0372-y
The link between the pill and IBD symptoms is especially pronounced in women who smoke. So Google some ways to quit and ask your healthcare provider whether you can switch to a non-hormonal mode of protection, like condoms, a copper IUD , or listening to Peanut Butter Jelly Time at earsplitting volume in a public place. Khalili H, et al. Oral contraceptives, reproductive factors and risk of inflammatory bowel disease. DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2012-302362
You might be craving a cigarette, but if youre also craving a period that doesnt turn your backend into a faucet of liquid-brown misery, you may want to put the lighter back in your pocket.
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Food & Proper Hydration
- Staying hydrated actually prevents your body from retaining water and avoids painful bloating. Warm water helps cramps by increasing blood flow to the skin and relaxes cramped muscles. Bring your tea thermos to work with you and sprinkle some ginger in as a digestive aid. You should also bring water-based foods such as celery, cucumbers, watermelon and berriesyou can even throw them all into a salad.
- It might be helpful to drink more milk during this time since calcium reduces depressive and anxious feelings in the brain while vitamin D regulates the enzyme that converts tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate moods. Another great source of these vitamins is yogurt, which also contains live cultures to promote healthy digestion. Try switching your breakfast to a natural yogurt and granola parfait for the week of your period.
- Bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes rich in potassium can help boost moods, aid sleep and regulate bowel movements. Throw a banana in your gym bag for a snack or add a few slices of avocado to your lunch or dinner.
- Salmon and tuna are both fish that are rich in Omega 3s and other fatty acids that are great for relaxing the muscles in your body, which may decrease the severity of your cramps.
Uterine Defects: Structural Oddities That Can Lead To Menstrual Cramps And Infertility Too
While a female fetus is still in its mother’s uterus, its own uterus develops from two structures known as Müllerian ducts. In some cases, the uterus does not form correctly, which can cause infertility, period pain, and painful intercourse. For women with structural anomalies such as a bicornuate uterus , septate uterus , unicornuate uterus , uterus didelphys menstrual cramps stem from blockages and membranes dividing the uterus and vagina.
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If You Have Agonizing Cramps And A Heavy Flow
It might be: uterine fibroids. These benign growths on the wall of the uterus are common, says Masterson, but they increase the surface area of the uterine lining so the amount of cramping and bleeding you have during your period may become super-intense.
What to do: See your doctor, especially if you know other women in your family have had fibroids . Youll likely be sent for an ultrasound to make sure there are no abnormal growths, and then prescribed low-dose birth control pills to minimize the pain during periods. Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, you may also be a candidate for surgery, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development .
When Should I Get Medical Help For My Period Pain
For many women, some pain during your period is normal. However, you should contact your health care provider if
- NSAIDs and self-care measures don’t help, and the pain interferes with your life
- Your cramps suddenly get worse
- You are over 25 and you get severe cramps for the first time
- You have a fever with your period pain
- You have the pain even when you are not getting your period
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When To Get Medical Advice
Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or as directed by your provider
Pain or cramping gets worse or doesnt get better with medicine
Pain or cramping lasts longer than normal or occurs between periods
Abnormal vaginal discharge between periods
Bleeding becomes heavy
Pink or gray tissue passes from the vagina
What Period Cramps Feel Like
Cramps can vary in intensity and duration for everyone. They typically vary over the course of your period, with the pain or discomfort lessening after the first few days. This is because the level of prostaglandins is reduced as the uterine lining is shed and the prostaglandins in the lining are expelled from your body.
Often, people will have pain in their lower abdomen or back. But some will only experience pain in the lower back. Some people also experience cramping in their upper thighs.
The uterus is a muscle. When it contracts and relaxes during cramping, it can feel:
- aching or tightening similar to a muscle cramp-like pain
- like a mild stomachache, or even a more painful stomachache, like when you have a stomach virus
Along with menstrual cramps, some women also experience:
- diarrhea or loose bowel movements
Cramps can be uncomfortable or even painful, but they shouldnt keep you home from school or work. That level of pain or discomfort is not typical, and is something you should see your doctor about.
Some cramping with your period is normal and nothing to worry about. Talk to your doctor if:
- your cramps interfere with your life or daily activities
- your cramps get worse after the first few days of your period
- youre over the age of 25 and suddenly start having cramping, or your periods seem more painful than usual
You can try the following remedies to lessen your cramps:
- light exercise
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Endometriosis: A Common Cause Of Severe Period Pain
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition in which endometrium-like tissue is found outside the uterus on other structures throughout the pelvis, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, pelvic floor, and in more severe cases, the bowel, diaphragm, liver, lungs, and even the brain.
According to Ken R. Sinervo, MD, the medical director of the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta, We dont really know why endometriosis causes menstrual pain may have to do with where is located and how it presents.
Untreated endometriosis can lead to adhesions, chronic inflammation, chocolate cysts , and internal bleeding all of which can prompt excruciating pelvic pain. Endometriosis pain isnt limited to period pain that goes on 24/7, says Dr. Sinvero. Many women also experience backache and other bowel symptoms, not to be confused with IBS, he added.
How To Treat Menstruation Cramps Before Period
For typical period cramps and PMS cramps, a safe remedy is an over-the-counter painkiller. This can help dull the pain or make it go away entirely. Many women also find that a warm heating pad or hot bath helps to relax the muscles. Some research has also found cramping can be linked to certain nutritional deficiencies. Make sure you get plenty of water and magnesium in the days leading up to your period.
If you are getting cramps outside of your normal period and PMS, the best gynecological treatment will be identifying the underlying cause of the issue. There are all sorts of diagnostic tests available for abnormal menstrual cramps. You can start by taking a pregnancy test at home to see whether the cramps are caused by pregnancy. To identify problems like a UTI, your doctor may need to test the area for bacteria. Cysts can be seen with imaging tests like an ultrasound or an MRI. Issues like endometriosis may need exploratory surgery to diagnose.
Once your doctor helps you figure out what is wrong, you can move on to treating it. For infections, a round of antibiotics could resolve the cramping for good. Hormonal contraceptives can help with many of the symptoms associated with ovarian cysts and endometriosis. However, some women may need surgery to completely solve the problem.
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Diagnosing Period Gas Pain
Anyone can develop abdominal pain from gas. Women can develop more gas during their period because of the hormonal changes and a tendency to eat gas-causing foods they might not usually eat to help them cope with the pain.
If your period gas pain is bad enough for you to see your doctor, they will inquire about your medical history and ask if it is normal for you to have gas pains during your period. They may conduct a physical examination of the abdominal area to locate where the gas is built up.
If necessary, the doctor may order some tests to find out why gas might be building up. Tests can include:
- Upper gastrointestinal series
The doctor uses X-rays to look for signs of any blockages or other abnormalities that might be causing you to have gas pain.
Doctors perform a colonoscopy to look for signs of cancer, narrowing, polyps, tumors, or obstructions.
A sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that uses a light and a camera that is inserted through the anus to look at the lower colon area for inflammation, obstructions, sores, or anything else that is out of the ordinary.
Ways To Start Feeling Better
Some women may benefit from hormonal contraception, like birth control pills or a hormonal IUD, to help decrease the hormonal fluctuations that contribute to digestive issues, said Davis. But for those of us that may also be struggling with IBD or IBS flare up during your period, its important to get treated for these specific digestive issues by a specialist first.
Davis also recommended keeping a journal. Write down and keep track of symptoms, diet, and physical activity to determine if certain triggers, like a type of food, worsen symptoms. From there, try to eliminate or avoid those triggers right before and during your period.
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What Helps With Cramps
Here are a some things that can help ease cramps:
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.
Hormonal birth control .
Acupuncture and acupressure.
Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation therapy that uses mild electric currents to stimulate your nerves to relieve pain.
Certain vitamins and herbs like vitamin B1, fish oil, fenugreek, ginger, valerian, zataria, and zinc sulfate.
Cramps are a pretty normal part of getting your period, but sometimes people have period cramps that are so painful its hard to do everyday things . If your period pain is really bad, and over-the-counter medicine doesnt help, talk with your doctor. They can help with other ways to manage the pain, or they may want to check to see if theres something more serious going on.
Cramps that are really bad may be a sign of:
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease an infection in your reproductive organs.
Endometriosis a condition where the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterus.
Adenomyosis when the tissue that lines your uterus grows into the muscle wall of your uterus.
Uterine fibroids non-cancerous tumors that grow inside your uterus, in the walls of your uterus, or on the outside of your uterus.
Pregnancy Cramps Vs Period Cramps
Pregnancy cramps usually happen when the pregnancy first takes place. These cramps are caused by the body adapting and changing to prepare for birth as well as to accommodate the baby growing inside of you. Women may get alarmed and fear that the baby is in danger, but you shouldnt be worried. Mild cramping during this time is very normal. Its also a little different from menstrual cramps. Theyre usually:
- More mild
- Lower than normal
- Cramping on both sides
However, most women say that the cramping is similar to their normal menstrual cramps. It is only very few women that feel sharp twinges of pain in their lower abdomen that can last months after pregnancy occurs. This is absolutely normal thoughthe uterus and muscles inside of your body are just stretching to accommodate the baby.
The only time that cramps during pregnancy can be cause for concern are when:
- Cramping is very severe and painful
- Cramping is consistent and doesnt go away
- Blood is present
You should not have any cramping and bleeding seen together when youre pregnant. Any vaginal bleeding at this time should result in an immediate visit to your doctor.
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What Causes Menstrual Cramps
- Endometriosis: The tissue that lines your uterus becomes implanted outside your uterus, most commonly on your fallopian tubes, ovaries or the tissue lining your pelvis
- Uterine fibroids: These noncancerous growths in the wall of the uterus may be the cause of pain
- Adenomyosis: The tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow into the muscular walls of the uterus
- Pelvic inflammatory disease : This infection of the female reproductive organs is usually caused by sexually transmitted bacteria
- Cervical stenosis: In some women, the opening of the cervix may be so small that it impedes menstrual flow, causing a painful increase of pressure within the uterus
While WebMD might tell you the five causes of your symptoms are all reason to run to the doctor, there are often much less severe and more common reasons for your symptoms.
You probably think that menstrual cramps just include the pain in your lower stomach however, it actually includes a lot more.