During your periods, your uterus contracts and expands to shed its lining.
This cramping action compresses your blood vessels temporarily cutting off your blood and oxygen supply. This lack of oxygen leads to your tissues releasing chemicals that trigger period pain.
In some women, this sometimes leads to mild discomfort, pain, and cramping in the stomach, thighs, lower back, or groin. Some amount of tolerable period pain for one or two days is normal. However, when you experience severe period cramps and pain each time you menstruate that interferes with your ability to do your daily tasks it becomes chronic and needs attention. This condition is known as dysmenorrhea.
What are the types of dysmenorrhea?
Dysmenorrhea, or period pain, is classified into two types:
- Primary: When your period pain comes and goes and is a part of the normal menstruation process. This affects almost 50% of women and is the most common in late adolescence and the early 20s.
- Secondary: This includes painful period cramps that are caused due to some underlying gynecological disorder.
What are the symptoms of excessive period pain?
Here are some of the signs of dysmenorrhea to look out for:
- Feeling severe pressure in the abdomen.
- Excessive and throbbing pain in the stomach and lower back.
- Pain in the inner thighs that radiates down the legs.
- Severe headaches
What are the signs you should see a doctor?
Some amount of menstrual pain and cramps usually occur during menstruation. However, it is strongly advised to see a doctor in case your period cramps start disrupting your normal life and last for more than two-three days. Here are some other signs of serious period pain to look out for:
- If you have a persistent fever during your periods.
- Uncontrollable nausea and vomiting.
- Fatigue or dizziness leads to fainting.
- A sunburn-like rash.
- Progressive worsening of period pain and other symptoms.
- Discharge of blood clots.
- Swollen abdomen.
What causes severe period pain?
Different risk factors form the underlying causes of primary dysmenorrhea. These include:
- Having a family history of chronic bad period cramps.
- Being below the age of 20 years.
- Being in the habit of smoking and drinking.
- Suffering from obesity.
- Suffering from irregular periods or heavy bleeding.
- Never having had a baby.
- Experiencing early puberty before the age of 11 years.
- Being under acute psychological or social stress.
Secondary dysmenorrhea and severe menstrual cramps are caused due to medical conditions including:
- Fibroids: A benign tumor in the wall of the uterus or attached to it.
- Acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.
- Endometriosis: This is the condition in which the tissues lining the uterus are found outside the uterus. Discharge of these issues along with the menstrual blood causes severe pain, swelling, and scarring.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: This is a bacterial infection that begins in the uterus and spreads to other reproductive organs.
- Cervical stenosis: This causes the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus, to become narrow.
- Adenomyosis: In this condition, the lining of the uterus grows into its muscles and causes it to expand more than it naturally should.
How can you relieve period pain?
There are several very effective ways for period cramps relief. Primary dysmenorrhea or period pain can be relieved by simple techniques such as:
- Taking a warm bath.
- Massaging your abdomen.
- Placing a heating pad or hot water bottle on your abdomen or the lower back.
- Taking adequate rest and not exerting yourself too much.
- Avoid foods that contain too much caffeine, salt, and sugar to avoid bloating.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
- Avoiding stressful situations.
- Eating nutritious and light meals.
- Taking supplements like vitamin B1, B6, E, omega-3, calcium, magnesium, etc.
However, when it is secondary dysmenorrhea, the treatments for period pain differ. You can easily search for an online gynecologist for getting a diagnosis and following it up with a treatment. These include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are commonly used for period pain relief. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before using these.
- Anti-depressants are sometimes prescribed to reduce psychological symptoms of PMS and period pain.
- Surgery for the treatment of fibroids and endometriosis.
How does yoga help in period pain?
Periods and menstrual pain cause not only physical discomfort but also impact your mood, ability to finish important tasks, and your general enjoyment of life.
One of the most effective ways to tackle period cramps is through yoga. Here are some benefits of practicing the holistic art of yoga:
- The gentle poses that involve stretching your body and breath control treat more than just period pain. They calm your mind and relieve the stress associated with menstrual cramps.
- Yoga offers menstrual cramp relief by gently stretching your back, legs, and abdomen.
- Yoga for period problems asanas improves the blood flow in your abdominal area offering long-term period pain relief.
- It makes your muscles less stiff, thereby offering period cramp relief.
Which are some of the best yoga poses for period pain relief?
Experiencing fatigue is common during your periods. This makes doing heavy exercises difficult. What comes to aid are poses of yoga for women. Here are some of the most effective yoga asanas for period pain relief:
- Apanasana (Knees-to-chest pose):
- Lie on your back and draw your knees in gently towards your chest.
- Inhale and draw the knees away.
- Exhale and hug them.
2. Uttanasana (Standing forward Pose):
- Stand straight with your hands on your hips.
- Exhale and bend forward from the hips.
- Cross your forearms and hold your elbows.
- Lift the sitting bones towards the sky.
- With each inhalation, lift and lengthen your torso lightly.
3. Balasana (Child Pose):
- Sit on your knees and spread them shoulder-width with your big toes touching each other.
- Bring your belly to rest between your thighs and place your forehead on the floor.
- Stretch your arms forward with your palms facing the floor.
- Relax your face, shoulders, and arms.
4. Shavasana (Resting corpse pose):
- Lie down comfortably on your back with your arms at your side.
- Take your attention to different body parts from your feet to your head as you start to relax.
- Keep breathing gently and deeply.
- Roll onto your right side and gently sit up.