Many women know when their period is about to begin due to menstrual cramping. This mild to severe pain in the lower abdomen can last anywhere from one to four days and can also include additional symptoms like fatigue, irritability, dizziness, headache, and loose stool. Here is what your gynecologist wants you to know about the causes of menstrual cramping and how to manage the issue.
Understanding Menstrual Cramps
Why Do You Cramp Around Your Period?
As part of your monthly cycle, hormones prompt the uterus walls to thicken in case of pregnancy. During your period, your body expels this excess uterine lining when conception does not occur. To expel this lining, your uterine muscles contract with the help of prostaglandins. Since this hormone-like substance is linked to your inflammation and pain triggers, the higher the prostaglandins levels, the more severe the cramping and discomfort you experience as the uterus contracts. Beyond this natural process, some women experience menstrual cramps due to fibroids or noncancerous growths in the uterus, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
What At-Home Remedies Do Gynecologists Recommend?
To combat discomfort associated with your menstrual period, gynecologists recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication. Taking a hot bath or using a heating pad on your stomach can also soothe symptoms. Many women find that exercising helps combat cramping. If your cramps are a result of another reproductive health issue such as fibroids or endometriosis, surgery and removal of the uterus can provide relief. If hormone levels are causing extreme symptoms, birth control in the form of a pill, IUD, or implant can be helpful to manage the problem.
When Should You Visit a Gynecologist About Cramps?
While some discomfort in the days leading up to your period and the start of menstruation is normal, the symptoms should not be overly disruptive to your daily life. If your cramps get worse after you reach the age of 25 and they cause vomiting, nausea, or headaches that affect your daily activities, or if they pair with an extremely heavy and painful flow, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist. They can determine if there is an underlying issue or if you’re a candidate for birth control to balance hormones.
If you’re in the Greater Rochester, NY, area, and you’re dealing with intense menstrual cramping, visit the team at Greece OB-GYN. With over 30 years of experience, you can depend on this gynecologist to provide comprehensive care through every stage of development to ensure your periods are manageable and that your reproductive system as a whole is healthy. For your convenience, they offer evening hours. For more information on the treatment options this gynecology clinic offers, from birth control and breast exams to robotic surgery, visit their website. Call (585) 225-6680 to schedule an appointment.