Menstrual cramps are a condition characterized by throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Almost all women experience some form of pain or cramping either just before or during their menstrual periods. However, for women the discomfort is acute with the cramps being be severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month.
Some of the possible factors for menstrual cramps could be endometriosis or uterine fibroids and treatment for menstrual cramps focusses on reducing the pain & discomfort. Menstrual cramps without any underlying factors progressively reduce with age and often improve after childbirth.
Symptoms of Menstrual Cramps
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pain radiating down into the lower back
Causes of Menstrual Cramps
- Inflammatory disease of pelvis
- Cervical stenosis
Menstrual cramps treatment is two-pronged with clinical intervention and lifestyle modification being two of the methods to provide relief. The clinical intervention includes medication to relieve pain, women are advised to take the pain reliever at the beginning of the period, or as soon as the symptoms manifest. In some cases, oral contraceptive pills can also be helpful. The oral birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps.
For menstrual cramps caused by conditions such as fibroids or polyps or endometriosis – a surgical intervention may be necessary.
Risk of Menstrual Cramps
- Less than 30 years of age
- Early puberty
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Excessive bleeding