If you’re a woman who has experienced the excruciating pain brought by menstrual cramps, then you can most definitely agree that it is difficult to put into words just how much it hurts. A few women even attempted to describe it in this article the best way they could.
“Imagine someone stabbing you in the stomach and twisting the knife. That’s cramps. Plus, your boobs get sore, your muscles ache, you experience nausea and headaches, and are constantly tired.”
“Like someone is kneading your abdomen 24/7.”
“Imagine your emotions are placed on a keyboard, then someone is slamming their hands on the keyboard. All you want to do is sleep and sit on something soft. If you have front cramps, it feels like someone has your abdomen in a vice. If they are back cramps, it feels like someone is kicking you in the tailbone over and over.”
Needless to say, it’s an awful kind of pain. A few articles are even circulating the internet based on a claim that menstrual pains are equated to the pain of having a heart attack. Now before you get your thoughts into a frenzy, whether you agree or disagree, let’s find out exactly how this statement came about.
Claim that Menstrual Pains are Similar to Heart Attacks
The media outlet, Quartz, released an article about menstrual pains containing a statistic from the American Academy of Family Physicians that “dysmenorrhea, the clinical term for painful menstruation, interferes with the daily life of around one in five women,” to which many women can relate to.
In support of this statement, John Guillebaud, a professor of reproductive health at the University College London added, “patients have described the cramping pain as ‘almost as bad as having a heart attack.’”
If you regularly suffer from menstrual pains, then this claim (though it isn’t backed by scientific research at the moment) most likely hits home for you. It speaks volumes for every woman who suffers from menstrual cramps that it is a seriously tormenting pain that you can imagine as being painful as a heart attack.
With that said, let’s take a look at the medical research behind the causes of menstrual pain.
Facts about Menstrual Pain (Dysmenorrhea)
According to Women’s Health Network, well over 40% of women suffer from dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps as they’re popularly known. These pelvic pains are often accompanied by heavy bleeding, mood swings, fatigue and bloating. For some women with severe cases of dysmenorrhea, they’re left bedridden and have to miss to work.
When you consider that menstrual cycles are usually 25 to 32 days, then it’s quite a realization that women spend one-third of their lives suffering from menstrual pain. Also, it comes primary and secondary forms.
Causes of Primary and Secondary Dysmenorrhea
Primary dysmenorrhea is most common in younger women. It’s the type of pelvic pain that occurs during your monthly blood flow and can last several days. It can be accompanied by a number of symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, headaches, back pain, and diarrhea.
This dysmenorrhea is caused by excess prostaglandin, which are hormones that send pain signals to the brain. As a result of these additional prostaglandins, the small muscles in the uterine wall contract accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms.
On the other hand, secondary dysmenorrhea occurs as early as two weeks before the start of your menstrual period. It’s usually characterized by congested, dull pains that are most common with women in their 30’s and 40’s. This pain is often accompanied by bloating, weight gain, headaches, lower back pain, and irritability.
The common cause of secondary dysmenorrhea is fluctuating estrogen levels, which in turn causes fluid retention in the body. Other underlying symptoms are: (1)
- Endometriosis (ectopic endometrial tissue)
- Ovarian cysts
- Adenomyosis (endometrial tissue within the uterine wall)
- Pelvic infection
- Cervical stenosis (stricture of the internal cervical os, the opening of the uterus)
- Congenital uterine or vaginal abnormalities
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
If you’re experiencing severe dysmenorrhea that persists or worsens over the course of a few months, visit your doctor immediately.
Home Remedies to Help with Average Menstrual Cramps
To help with your menstrual cramps, here are some remedies you can to do at home.
1. Eat more of the right kinds of fats
Eating fats such as quality organic meats, butter tallow, ghee and coconut oil help boost proper hormone production. Coconut oil, in particular, provides the necessary building blocks for hormone productions, helps with weight loss, reduces inflammation, and has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Avoid eating foods like grains, dairy and vegetable oil, which exacerbates hormonal problems and causes inflammation in the body. Instead, focus on eating foods that help the body rebuild and reduce inflammation such as homemade bone broths, soups, and grass-fed meats.
3. Stay away from chemicals in food and your household
If you have hormone imbalances, avoid toxins found in processed foods, pesticides, plastics, and household chemicals. These toxins contain hormone-disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in the body that keep it from producing real hormones. To fix this problem, cook in glass or non-coated metal pans and avoid heating or storing foods in plastic. Also, eat organic produce and meat whenever possible.
Let us know if this article resonated with you regarding menstrual pains and how much it affects your daily routine. And if you’re one of the 40% of women who regularly suffer from it, then check out this article that lists drinks and massage oils that can help alleviate menstrual pain.
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