Why Do I Have Period Cramps?

Dr. Tariq MiskryDr. Tariq Miskry

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Dr Tariq Miskry, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician

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Girl pointing at the sky while walking with her friend in natureGirl pointing at the sky while walking with her friend in nature

Cramps are such a pain! (No pun intended.) So what can you do about them? Well the first step is understanding them. Here’s the lowdown on your down low period pains and some tips for some much-needed relief!

The Suspected Cause of Cramps

If a woman doesn’t become pregnant during her menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus (endometrium) breaks down and hormones are released. These hormones, prostaglandins, tell the muscles of the uterus to squeeze the lining out. These muscles are the same ones that push a baby out during childbirth, so they are very strong. Some women may have a lot of prostaglandin, which makes their muscles squeeze faster and harder. It’s believed that this is why we get cramps.

Period Pain Relief

Most girls treat cramps simply with over-the-counter pain medicine, stretching, heat (like heating pads or a hot shower) and lots of rest. In some cases, cramps can be extreme. You probably won’t need to see your doctor about period pains, but if they seem pretty unbearable, tell your mum and she may work together with your doctor to suggest some of these treatments.

  • Hormone treatments. Some doctors give patients birth control pills to keep them from ovulating. Without ovulating, you probably won’t get cramps. Problem solved!
  • Anti-prostaglandins. These are drugs that reduce the effect of prostaglandins (the hormones mentioned above). A doctor may prescribe them for you.
  • Laparoscopy. operation. It is an operation where a telescope is placed inside through the belly button under general anaesthetic to make a diagnosis or provide treatment.

What do you do to ease your period pains?

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