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More than half of women who menstruate experience period pain — known clinically as dysmenorrhea — for at least a day or two every month. The team of expert gynecologists at Contemporary Women’s Care in Winter Park and Lake Nona, Florida, can help you manage your period pain. They diagnose and treat conditions that cause severe menstrual cramping to improve your overall well-being and health. Call the nearest office or make an appointment online today.
Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for period pain and cramps. Many women experience cramping, although the severity of period pain varies significantly between women. You may have pain in your abdomen, hips, lower back, or thighs.
Doctors classify dysmenorrhea as either primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea begins soon after you start having periods and is caused by your period. Your periods may become less painful over time.
Secondary dysmenorrhea begins later in life and is linked to a reproductive health disorder. This period of pain caused by another condition usually gets worse over time. Your period pain typically starts a few days before the first day of your period and may last longer than your period.
When you get your period, your body releases hormones, including prostaglandin, which makes your uterus contract. If the contractions in your uterus are too intense, they can compress blood vessels and cut off the oxygen supply to the muscle tissue of the uterus. The oxygen deprivation causes the pain.
However, secondary dysmenorrhea can be caused by a variety of reproductive health problems including:
Your risk of menstrual cramps is higher if you’re under the age of 30, you have heavy or irregular periods, or you started puberty early. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking or being overweight, can also increase your risk of having severe menstrual pain.
Your doctor at Contemporary Women’s Care may suggest remedies, including over-the-counter painkillers, heating pads, and exercise, to your relieve pain. Stomach crunches might be the last thing you want to do when you have cramps, but contracting and stretching the muscles around your uterus can also help reduce your period pain.
Your doctor may also prescribe birth control pills to regulate your hormones and reduce your pain. A hormonal intrauterine device (IUD), birth control implants, and injections may also be options to help reduce your pain.
If another condition causes your period pain, your doctor treats the underlying health issue while also suggesting treatments to manage your pain. For example, if uterine fibroids are causing your period pain, your doctor may recommend fibroid removal procedures.
You don’t have to put up with painful periods that disrupt your life and regular activities. Call Contemporary Women’s Care or make an appointment online today.