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Menstruation also called as a menses or period, is the regular monthly passage of blood with mucosal tissues primarily from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina. It is a natural change that occurs in the female reproductive system that makes the female body ready for pregnancy. Slight uneasiness, pain, cramping, and discomfort during menstruation are normal. It is a very usual thing for young girls to have pain with their monthly cycle. But undue excessive pain may cause to miss work or school.

Menstrual pain: It is pain during menses, medically called dysmenorrhea. The intensity can range from dull to severe. There are two types: primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhea: It occurs after a few years of menarche in young adolescent girls with no detectable organic cause. The female experiences cramps and pain before and during menstruation.

Secondary dysmenorrhea: It occurs in women of 30-45 years of age. It is a painful period due to some underlying anatomic and pelvic pathologies such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. The women usually have normal monthly periods earlier in life.

Causes for Menstrual Pain:

Although there is no identifiable cause for menstrual pain, it is noticed that chemical called prostaglandins produced in a woman’s body may cause symptoms associated with menstrual discomfort. It is secreted from uterine cells as a result of the destruction of endometrial cells right before the menstrual period. Its main function is the contraction of the uterine muscles along with the other inflammatory mediators in the uterus. Women with high levels of prostaglandin experience more powerful contractions similar to labor pains. Prostaglandins act on parietal cells in the stomach wall and inhibit the secretion of acids. It is a regulatory hormone which induces labor. It may also be responsible for vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches that accompany painful periods.

Other causes: High levels of leukotrienes.
Mechanism: The muscles of uterus undergo contraction during menstruation due to change in hormone levels. If the muscles contract excessively, it can press against nearby blood vessels. This causes ischemia and briefly cuts off the oxygen supply to the uterus. This lack of oxygen causes pain and cramping.

Symptoms of menstrual pains include:

  • Soreness or cramping pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Intense pain during 1 – 3 days before the period, peaks 24 hours after the onset of the period which subsides in 2 to 3 days
  • Irritation and anxiety
  • Pain may radiate to lower back, loins, and thighs
  • Headache accompanied by dysmenorrhea
  • Nausea, vomiting, and dizziness may also be seen in some cases.

An Underlying Medical Condition May Also Cause Menstrual Pain, such as:

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids in the uterus
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Adenomyosis
  • Cervical stenosis

Risk factors

  • Age below 30 years.
  • Early menarche, at 11 or earlier
  • Menorrhagia, heavy menstrual cycles
  • Metrorrhagia, irregular menses
  • Family history of dysmenorrhea
  • Smoking

Complications of Dysmenorrhea or Menstrual Pain

  • It is the main cause of absenteeism in young girls, which interferes with their normal routine and social work, regular deeds. The underlying medical condition accompanying menstrual pains may cause fertility problems.
  • Endometriosis may cause pregnancy difficult. The inflammation and irritation make the conception a difficult phenomenon. There is adhesion among pelvic organs, resulting in diminished function.
  • PID may cause narrowing of fallopian tubes making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. It increases the chances of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Adenomyosis in which the tissue grows on the endometrial lining of the uterus causes heavy bleeding, painful menses, painful coition. It also doubles the risk of miscarriages.

Home remedies for menstrual pain:

Heating pad – microwavable heating pack placed on lower abdomen may help. Be sure to check that the heating pad is not too hot, as it can burn your skin.

Soothing warm bath – be sure the water is not too hot otherwise will burn your skin.

Acupuncture and Yoga are helpful to relieve stress and muscular cramps.

Tracking your menstrual cycle will help to notice any pattern in pain and your periods.

Homeopathic treatment for menstrual pain:

It is a natural solution for menstrual pain or any associated problems. It has an antispasmodic action, relieves abdominal cramps and colic associated with menstrual pain. It controls clotting of blood during menses.