There’s no denying that feeling: you start cramping and, for some of us, that means everything else becomes a blur. While not all women experience cramping during their period, those of us that do envy those that don’t. Some women’s menstrual cramps are so extreme that even the most mundane tasks go uncompleted. Heating pads, warm baths, exercise or curling up in the fetal position – we all have our coping mechanisms.
Menstrual cramps result from your uterus shedding its lining. As your uterus contracts, the muscles may press blood vessels and cut off the oxygen, resulting in cramps. Some women have mild cramping, others have severe cramping. If you have mild cramping, an over the counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen will help curb the pain so you can carry on with your day-to-day activities. More severe cramping may cause you extreme fatigue and pain that makes you blind to everything else.
Relief: Is it Possible?
If your cramps are causing pain or reducing your functionality, you have a few options to help curb the pain and get back to your life. Heat is something women may overlook as an option, although it’s among the cheapest and most readily available forms of relief. A heating pad on your abdomen or even your lower back can greatly reduce the pain from your cramps as it relaxes the contracting muscles. A lower back massage is another option and one that provides almost immediate relief for many women. Some women experience great fatigue at the same time they’re cramping: there’s no shame in sleeping it off and giving your body what it needs!
Certain factors may increase your risk of cramping: women under 30, women with heavier bleeding during their periods, and women who smoke. This isn’t a catch-all, some women outside of these groups experience extreme cramping.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
If you have severe cramping that prevents you from living your life or doing daily tasks, such as going to work, come see us! Some women have great success in using various prescriptions to help manage their cramps, such as birth control options that change your hormonal structure. If you’re experiencing cramping not related to your period, you may have an underlying issue and, unfortunately, it may be serious. Uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, and cervical stenosis may all cause pain and cramping, along with issues not related to your reproductive system, such as a bowel disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis).
It’s no secret that we at Seven Oaks take women’s health seriously. We’re here to keep you healthy so you can get back to living your best life! Whether you need medical intervention or some tips on helping to reduce and manage your cramps, we’re here to help you navigate your choices and make the correct decision.