What Are Period Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)?
If you deal with painful periods, during that time of the month, rest assured you’re not alone. Also called Dysmenorrhea, Period cramps affect more than half[i] of women on their periods for 1-2 days a month, and sometimes longer. Period pain ranges from dull to severe and is typically concentrated in the lower abdomen and lower back.
What Causes Period Cramps and Pain?
Painful period cramps, also called primary dysmenorrhea, happens when natural chemicals called prostaglandins[i] rise and cause the lining of the uterus to contract, leading to pain. Secondary dysmenorrhea is period pain resulting from a condition or disease in the reproductive organs. Talk with your doctor if you feel that an underlying condition may be causing your cramps.
How to Relieve Period Cramps and Pain
Period pains can range from mild to severe, but they don’t need to impede your lifestyle. Consider these period pain management tips to help find relief from period cramps. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.
- Exercise[ii]– Exercises may help with the symptoms of dysmenorrhea. Consider adding activities like yoga, walking, swimming, or strength training to your day.
Talk to your healthcare professional before starting or changing any exercise regimen.
- Use a Heating Pad[ii]– In general, localized heat helps muscles relax and increases blood flow to the tissues, which may reduce the severity of cramps.
- Relax with Yoga[ii]– Put stress to rest with meditation and yoga. These relaxation techniques may help with period pain. Talk to your healthcare professional before starting or changing any exercise regimen.
- Try an OTC Pain Reliever[ii] – Ibuprofen, found in an OTC pain reliever such as MOTRIN®, works to reduce the production of prostaglandins. This can help temporarily relieve minor aches and pains due to menstrual cramps.
Be sure to always read and follow the product label of the OTC pain reliever and talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
Again, while some period pain is common, sometimes painful cramps are a sign of a more serious medical condition. Be sure to contact your doctor if you’re concerned, or if symptoms suddenly get worse.