Period pain is a common symptom that people who menstruate experience at different points of their menstrual cycle. It is typically felt in the stomach area, particularly lower stomach and can spread to the back and thighs. Typically, menstrual cramps occur just before and during the period.

How painful are period cramps?

The pain of period cramps varies among different people. Some people report intense spasms of pain whilst other times it can be a dull and constant feeling. There are conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids which cause menstrual cramps to be extremely uncomfortable. Typically, if menstrual cramps occur and you do not suffer from a specific condition, they tend to get less painful and frequent with age, and often improve after giving birth.

What causes cramps during your period?

During your period, your uterus is shedding is lining and it contracts during this time. These contractions are triggered by hormone like prostaglandins which are associated with menstrual cramps and inflammation. The higher the level of prostaglandins, the more severe the menstrual cramps. There are various things that can affect the likelihood and the intensity of cramps. For example, younger people under the age of 30 tend to suffer more, especially those who started puberty early. You are also more likely to experience cramps if you also suffer from heavy bleeding or irregular menstrual bleeding. Moreover, smoking has been reported to make cramping during and before the menstrual period more frequent and more painful.

There are various conditions which can cause stronger menstrual cramp pains:

Endometriosis: This is a disease whereby there is tissue, which resembles the lining of the uterus, is found outside the uterus. As a result, a chronic inflammatory reaction results and there is a formation of scar tissue within the pelvis. One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is menstrual cramping.

Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are growths that appear in the uterus and are not usually dangerous but can cause discomfort such as cramps, fatigue and heavy blood loss.

Adenomyosis: This occurs when the tissue of the uterus grows into the muscles of the wall of the uterus. This causes the uterus to grow double or triple in size and leads to abnormal bleeding and painful periods.
Pelvic inflammatory disease: Also known as PID, is an inflection, usually transmitted sexually. It is often not noticed but can cause pain.

How do you relieve period camps?

There are various ways to help relieve period cramps. Here are 5 top tips to relieve pain:

  1. Apply heat: heat applied locally can help to relax the muscles which are causing the discomfort due to the cramping. Our hot&cold pack can be used to apply heat directly to the area.
  2. Light exercise: exercise can actually reduce the pain of cramps. Due to the endorphins which are released when doing/post exercise, it can help the body to block the perception of the pain and to reduce overall stress.
  3. Give yourself some time to relax: Stress can cause cramping to feel much worse. Try out different methods to reduce stress such as by practicing yoga or meditating
  4. Eat healthy food: Whilst you might be tempted to reach out to the chocolate and chips, a healthy diet may actually be more beneficial. Certain minerals and vitamins can help reduce menstrual cramps such as vitamin B1 and magnesium which can be focus in foods such as whole grains, spinach and avocado.
  5. Drink herbal teas: like applying heat, the same idea works with tea. Herbals teas can be great in relieving inflammation and muscle spasms. 
February 01, 2023 — Grace Forsyth