What is menstrual pain and why does it occur

menstrual pain
What is menstrual pain and why does it occur

What is menstrual pain and why does it occur?

Menstrual pain and discomfort affects around 80% of women at some point in their lives. The discomfort, commonly known as dysmenorrhea or period pain, can be subtle and inconvenient or severe and excruciating. After ovulation, when the ovaries release an egg that travels down the fallopian tube, menstrual pains usually begin.

Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea are the two forms of dysmenorrhea. People with primary dysmenorrhea report pain before and during menstruation. It could be secondary dysmenorrhea if you’ve always had regular periods that have gotten painful later in life. This can be caused by a disorder that affects the uterus or other pelvic organs, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids.

What are the causes of menstrual pain?

Your uterus contracts during your menstrual period to shed its lining. The contractions of the uterine muscle are triggered by hormone-like molecules (prostaglandins), which are implicated in pain and inflammation. More severe menstrual cramps are linked to higher levels of prostaglandins.

Few causes of excessive menstrual pain are:

  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Adenomyosis
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Cervical Stenosis

How can you cure menstrual pain?

Here are some home remedies to consider if you’re suffering from period pain:

  • Natural dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium, according to some results, may help to relieve period pain.
  • Emotional stress might make your period pain worse. Hence, try meditation and relaxation.
  • Menstrual cramps may be relieved by physical activity, particularly yoga.
  • During your period, try placing a heating pad or a microwaveable heated blanket on your abdomen. Some women find that soaking in a hot bath or shower relieves period pain. 
  • You can also use devices such as pocket TENS machines for excessive period pain.
  • Stop smoking and stay away from alcohol. Both substances have been shown to exacerbate menstrual cramps.
  • You could also try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) as an over-the-counter pain treatment (NSAIDs). Ibuprofen and naproxen are two NSAIDs. They limit the quantity of prostaglandins produced by your uterus and minimise their effects, in addition to alleviating discomfort. This aids in the relief of cramps. When you first notice symptoms or when your period begins, you can start taking NSAIDs. 

The traditional OTC treatments oftentimes cause several contraindications such as ulcers, asthma and allergic reactions. Hence, many women nowadays have turned to tens units.

TENS is an excellent therapy option for painful menstruation. It is a non-invasive method and does not involve any use of drugs. Pads are applied to the back around the painful spot. TENS works by sending relaxing pulses into the skin and through nerve fibres via these pads. The pulses block pain signals from reaching the brain and urge the body to manufacture more endorphins and enkephalins, which are natural painkillers.

Does the pocket TENS machine actually work?

Several ob-gyn highly recommend these devices. They are  battery-powered devices that send low-voltage electrical impulses into muscle tissue via small electrodes on the skin. 

A recent study found that these devices are effective in treating period discomfort. Those who utilised the devices experienced less pain and accompanying symptoms, required fewer analgesic prescriptions, and had a higher quality of life.

There are several hypotheses as to why a TENS unit helps with pain. One theory proposes that the electric currents activate the neurons involved in sending pain impulses to the brain, thus, halting the sensation of pain. Another notion is that the nerve stimulation provided by these devices can cause endorphin release. 

These devices can help with acute menstrual pain. A study demonstrated that TENS dramatically reduced diarrhoea, menstrual flow, clot formation and weariness while providing good to exceptional subjective pain relief. 

Menstrual cramps are a typical ailment that happen during the monthly period. Various treatments such as pocket TENS machines are also available to alleviate the pain and discomfort they can cause. However, It’s a good idea to contact a doctor if the symptoms are severe and also occur at other times of the month.

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