Once a lady had descibed her menstrual cramps as “imagine having a trailer of childbirth which reruns every month with vengeance”
Menstrual cramps are one of the most commonly reported gynaecological complaints ranging from mild discomfort to a severe temporarily debilitating condition. Yet, it is underdiagnosed and undertreated, women have continued to endure the pain as a part & parcel of womenhood, a notion that dates back to dark ages.
Medical term for menstrual pain is DYSMENORRHOEA.
We encounter 2 types:
- Primary Dysmenorrhoea : Pain without any identifiable cause (pathology),usually begins 6 to 12 months of menarche( first period).
- Secondary Dysmenorrhoea : Pain due to an identifiable pathology.
Some of the recognized causes of secondary dysmenorrhoea:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease/ infection
- Ovarian cysts
- Cervical stenosis
- Congenital obstructive malformation of reproductive system.
Symptoms you may experience:
- Cramping or throbbing pain in the lower abdomen of varying intensity.
- Pain may spread to low back or upper part of thighs.
- May start with onset of periods or a couple of days before and last approx 2 to 3 days.
- May also experience nausea, loose stools, dizziness, headache.
Can lifestyle modification or home remedy help?
Answer is YES, but only to a certain extent or if your symptoms are mild.
- Mild pain relief ( NSAIDS) in recommended dosage.
- Hot water bag (wrapped in a towel) to lightly compress the lower abdomen.
- Relaxing hot shower / bath (@a temperature you can tolerate & not scald your skin)
- Exercise ( regular routine)
- Avoid constipation
- Avoid smoking, sugary carbonated drinks & reduce alcohol,
- Eat high fibre, low salt diet, plenty of fresh vegetables and salads.
I need to emphasize that opprox 80% of menstruators experience period pain, most have mild discomfort but approx 5 to 10% of them suffer from severe debilitating disorder making them take time off work/ school/daily activities.
Its time to set the record straight about “period pain”, it is not “normal” to have pain and accept it as a part and parcel of life. Period pain may be an indicator of a pathology / serious condition that needs to be investigated and treated by your doctor.
Menstruators should stop ignoring their symptoms and seek medical help. Forcing yourself to live with the pain will make your life downright unpleasant not to mention the physical and psychological impact it will have.
“Stop suffering in silence & seek medical help, liberate yourself from pain.”