Menstrual cramps are a condition characterized by throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. Almost all women experience some form of pain or cramping either just before or during their menstrual periods. However, for women, the discomfort is acute with the cramps being been severe enough to interfere with everyday activities for a few days every month.
Some of the possible factors for menstrual cramps could be endometriosis or uterine fibroids and treatment for menstrual cramps focusses on reducing the pain & discomfort. Menstrual cramps without any underlying factors progressively reduce with age and often improve after childbirth.
Symptoms associated with menstrual cramps include:
- Severe pain in the lower abdomen
- A throbbing continuous ache in the lower abdomen
- Pain radiating down into the lower back
The underlying causes of menstrual cramps can be any one of the following conditions:
- Inflammatory disease of the pelvis
- Cervical stenosis
Menstrual cramps treatment is two-pronged with clinical intervention and lifestyle modification being two of the methods to provide relief. The clinical intervention includes medication to relieve pain, women are advised to take the pain reliever at the beginning of the period, or as soon as the symptoms manifest. In some cases, oral contraceptive pills can also be helpful. Oral birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation and reduce the severity of menstrual cramps.
For menstrual cramps caused by conditions such as fibroids or polyps or endometriosis – a surgical intervention may be necessary.