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Is Pain From Period Cramps Genetic?

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Have you ever experienced cramps so bad that they interrupted your daily activities? What most women don’t know is there is a link between severe menstrual cramps and genetics. In 2016, 11,800 people with periods were surveyed on the severity of their menstrual cramps.

These cramps, medically known as dysmenorrhea, are the most common gynecological condition among women over 18. The study found a genetic variant in women of European descent. Menstrual cramp pain is primarily a function of an increase in lipid productions. This variant found by scientists is in a genome region that also regulates ovarian and fat tissue known as the gene encoding nerve growth factor (NGF).

Since then, there hasn’t been much more research on this topic, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay misinformed. If you suffer from severe cramps, begin asking the women in your life about their experiences to learn more on how to better help with your own. Everyone is different. Your experiences may be different from your peers, but staying informed is a powerful tool in managing your menstrual cycle. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • How old were you when you first got your period?

  • What symptoms of the menstrual cycle were/are most severe for you?

  • Do you have any particular cravings while menstruating?

  • How severe are your cramps?

  • Has the pain of your cramps fluctuated in intensity throughout the years?

  • Have you seen any, or when did you start seeing, signs of menopause?