Menstrual Pains, Cramps: Causes & What to do

Menstrual Pain

A good number of our women are not happy to have their menses (except when they are scared of being pregnant, unplanned) due to a whole number of reasons, but the main one is menstrual pain. Its so severe enough to make the lady to be absent from work, school or other important social and personal functions.

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What is Menstrual Pain

Dysmenorrhea, is the medical name given to this form of Painful menstruation, and it is a very common findings in a number of women in their reproductive age.

Menstrual Pain
Image Credits: Pulse.ng

Should I be worried about it?

It is important for you to know that this is completely normal.
For majority of the cases, especially for women who have been experiencing this pains during their periods since they started seeing their menses (around 11-16yrs), they might not really have much to worry about.

However, for some women whom have usually been experiencing menstrual periods without pains for a good part of their life, and all of a sudden, for some unknown reasons, they started experiencing painful menstruation, up to unbearable levels. These women might have some underlying conditions that they should be wary of. Hence, its important that they schedule a visit to their doctor (especially their gynaecologist).

What Causes Painful Menstruation (Dysmenorrhea)?

For painful menstruation that’s has been noticed since the onset of your first menstrual flow, there is usually no underlying cause. This usually improves with childbirth & some times with increasing age.

However, for women who previously experience no pain during their menstruation, and all of a sudden started experiencing severe pain, there are a number of possibilities that can lead to this. A few of them worthy of mention include: Endometriosis, Adenomyosis or Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases.
We wouldn’t like to go much deeper into that, but we’d discuss that another day.

What do I do if I experience Painful Menstruation?

It is important to differentiate if the pain is experienced before the onset of the menses, or during the menses.

It is also important to first understand the severity of the pains. Different people experience different amount of pains, and hence, require different types & dosages of drugs to manage the pain.
It is advised & very important to see your doctor, so as to investigate further on the possible cause, especially if it started suddenly. Ultrasound scans should be done to rule out possible secondary etiologies.
For most cases, treating the underlying cause takes care of the menstrual pains.

What drugs can I take for Painful Menstruation/Menstrual Pains?

For other cases who has been experiencing painful menstruation since the onset of their menstrual flow, various drugs are available & used in its management. They include;

  1. NSAIDS like Ibuprofen: This is commonly used by most persons experiencing menstrual pains. It is very important to note that individuals having any form of Ulcers (Peptic, Duodenal, etc), should not use this drug.
  2. Hormonal contraceptives: COCP is widely used.
  3. Hyocine Bromide/Scopolamine butyl-Bromide (popular brand here is Buscopan): This has also proved very helpful in patients going through painful menstruation.
  4. FlexiCAM: Some women get some benefit with this drug which contains diclofenac, paracetamol & Chlorzoxazone.

For dosages and how to take them, please see your doctor.

Other non-medical methods of management that has shown some level of efficacy are:
Lifestyle changes: so far, some evidence suggests that a low fat, vegetarian diet may improve menstrual pains. Also, it is suggested that exercise may improve symptoms.
Heat: Soaking in a hot bath or using a heating pad, hot water bottle or heat patch on your lower abdomen, there is strong evidence to prove its benefit. It appears to be as effective as NSAIDs.

Nigerian Nutritionist Uche Kesiena-Arueya when speaking to BBC Pidgin, also recommends some Foods that helps in Management of Menstrual pains to include:

1. Ginger: wash, peel and place inside boiling water (not cooking the ginger). Leave for 2-3 hours. Drink one shot in the morning, afternoon and night. You might add honey to sweeten it.

2. Pineapple: Note, those with Diabetes shouldn’t take this

3. Turmeric: Used same way with ginger. One morning, afternoon and night.

4. Garlic: chewed or mix with ginger to form drink. Can cause mouth odour

Finally, it is important that we emphasize that you should not self-medicate. Its always important to consult your doctor before taking any drugs. You can always contact us using any of our contact forms, or by comment below, and one of our doctors would get to you as soon as possible.

Authors

  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

2 thoughts on “Menstrual Pains, Cramps: Causes & What to do”

  1. Tnx
    I heard ibrupofen causes fibroid,it prevents d smooth flow of unwanted menstrual blood,or so

    Is this true?

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