According to a study published in the Journal of Pain Research, more than 84% of women suffer from menstrual pain during or before their period. But what’s even worse is that more than 30% of these women go through unbearable period pain that disrupts their routine. If you too struggle with this tormenting period affliction, we’re here for you. Here’s everything you need to know about dealing with severe menstrual pain and why it happens in the first place:
Why Do You Get Period Cramps?
Before we talk about unbearable period pain, let’s understand the root cause of period cramps first. Abdominal cramps during or before your monthlies are a result of the contractions in the uterus that happen in order to expel the uterine lining through your vagina. Hormone-like substances called prostaglandins trigger these contractions and are also associated with pain and inflammation during this time. In some cases, this pain can radiate towards your lower back and legs and cause aches, cramps in these areas.
Normal vs Severe Period Pain
Menstrual pain is a common side-effect of periods and is usually nothing to worry about. It may begin a day or two before the bleeding starts and decrease automatically during the second half of shark week. It usually feels like a throbbing or cramping pain in the lower abdomen, legs or back. You may also experience pressure or a continuous dull ache in these areas. In most cases, this pain is accompanied with other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) like nausea, fatigue, loose stools, headache, and dizziness. For the unversed, PMS occurs due to hormonal changes in the body before and during the second half of your menstrual cycle and you may experience its symptoms a week or two before your period. Just like period cramps, PMS also typically fades away a day or two after your period. Now, normal pain due to the combined effect of PMS and uterine contractions responds well to OTC painkillers and some home remedies. However, unbearable period pain that disrupts your lifestyle and leads to absenteeism is not normal and needs immediate medical attention.
Signs Of Severe Period Pain
Unbearable period pain can be indicative of a serious underlying health condition. This kind of pain tends to start earlier in the menstrual cycle, lasts longer than typical cramps do and doesn’t improve even if you pop painkillers. It may be come with heavy bleeding and clotting and is not to be taken lightly.
Causes Of Unbearable Period Pain
Severe menstrual pain is usually associated with higher levels of prostaglandins in the body. However, these health conditions can also be responsible for the unbearable period pain you might be experiencing every month:
Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of unbearable period pain that can throw your life off track during that time of the month. It happens when non-cancerous cells that resemble the uterus lining (endometrial cells) grow outside the uterus. It can cause severe menstrual cramps, heavy menstrual bleeding, longer or irregular periods, infertility, and gastrointestinal pain.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is an extremely common disorder that affects one in 10 women of childbearing age according to a report by the U.S Department of Health & Human Services. Even though the exact cause of this condition is not known, it is associated with higher levels of androgens (male sex hormones). Unbearable period pain due to this disorder may be accompanied by other PCOS symptoms like heavy, longer, irregular periods, excessive facial and body hair, hair thinning or hair loss, dark patches on the neck, groin and cheeks, acne, and difficulty in losing weight.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is yet another condition that can lead to unbearable period pain. It is a result of bacterial infection in the female reproductive organs that can be caused due to sexually transmitted infections or otherwise. PID-induced menstrual pain is accompanied by symptoms like pelvic pain, painful intercourse, bleeding during or after sex, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, burning sensation when urinating, fever, and spotting between periods.
Cervical stenosis happens when the opening of the cervix is narrow or completely closed. It can prevent menstrual blood from exiting your body and lead to unbearable period pain, irregular periods and fertility issues. One can be born with a cervical stenosis or develop it later.
Adenomyosis happens due to thickening of the uterus when the endometrial tissue (that lines your uterus) grows into the muscles of the uterus. It can increase the size of the uterus and lead to severe menstrual pain along with heavy or prolonged bleeding.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
IUDs are a blessing in disguise when it comes to birth control. They can be inserted through the vagina and keep unwanted pregnancy at bay for years. Even though they’re absolutely safe, they can lead to severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding especially during the initial months post their insertion. This should ideally settle down after a few cycles.
How To Manage Severe Period Pain
Unbearable period pain is not to be taken lightly, folks. You must get yourself diagnosed and seek timely medical treatment for it. Now, the healing and recovery may take time. But home remedies like sipping on hot ginger-turmeric tea can help. Additionally, heat and massage therapy can reduce inflammation and pain and give you some much-needed relief as well. So take a calming essential oil like lavender and massage it gently into the area in pain and use a hot water bottle or a heat patch thereafter. You can also benefit from a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and physical activity as their combined goodness can help restore hormonal balance and lessen the pain in the long run. Mild stretches and slow walks during your period is also known to alleviate menstrual pain. So do give them a try.
Sirona Recommends Best Products To Manage Unbearable Period Pain
Sirona Feminine Pain Relief Patch
You can count on Sirona’s Feminine Pain Relief Patch to reduce unbearable period pain. Sticking this sleek patch can provide instant relief minus any side-effects. That’s because it is made with natural pain-relieving ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus oil. It is easy to carry and stays effective for eight-ten hours.
Sirona Pain-Relief Heat Patch
Made with 100% natural ingredients, The Pain Relief Heat Patch By Sirona is a safe and hassle-free alternative to alleviate unbearable period pain. Sticking this patch on your abdomen can work like a soothing balm. This portable wonder can provide heat relief for up to eight hours straight and can be disposed of easily after each use. No hot-water-bottle hassles involved!
Sirona Feminine Cramp Relief Roll On
The Sirona Cramp Relief Roll On can be used on your lower back, abdomen, and legs. Packed with all-natural ingredients like lavender oil, clove oil, cinnamon, and eucalyptus, it helps relieve pain–even while you’re on the go. It’s calming aroma helps relax your muscles and the smooth roll-on application makes it convenient to use.
Electric Hot Water Bag
Sirona’s Hot Water Bag is a blessing in disguise when dealing with severe period pain. It comes with an automatic temperature control and a quick-charging feature. It eliminates the need for heating water and filling it up into the hot water bottle every few hours. All you’ve got to do is to charge it once for seven-12 minutes and tada! It helps relax your muscles, lowers inflammation, and relieves pain.
Folks, while slight period pain is a part and parcel of shark week, unbearable period pain calls for immediate medical attention. So don’t take it lightly and schedule an appointment with your gynae right away.
Featured Image: Pexels
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