Types of period cramps and what they say about your health

Did you know period cramps could be of different types? Here are the different types of period cramps and what they say about your health.
Types of period cramps and what they say about your health. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Thejaswini J Updated on: 15 December 2022, 20:46 pm IST
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Those days of the month would be a little less troubling if it wasn’t for period cramps draining all your physical and mental energy, as many women feel tremendous pain during these days. Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for this pain. The type and level of pain one feels during menstruation can vary, but most women have admitted that they experience cramps when they have their periods. However, different women can experience diffrent types of period pains.
What can different kinds of period pain indicate about your health is an important question to ask. Let’s understand this aspect of menstruation better from the lens of an expert.

Types of period pain

Experts have divided period pain into two different types:

Primary dysmenorrhea

This type is the common type of period pain that typically starts from your first period and continues over the years. Experiencing such pain is common for women and generally doesn’t indicate any underlying health condition. The pain can vary in such cases, the pain follows a pattern and starts just before or as the period begins. It usually lasts for 1-3 days but is most severe during the first or second day of the period and occurs in the lower abdomen. However, it can also affect the lower back and thighs.

Types of period cramps and what they say about your health. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Secondary dysmenorrhea

This is a kind of period of pain that happens due to an underlying health condition, including reproductive disorders, such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or fibroids. While primary dysmenorrhea can be cured or relieved by over-the-counter medication, secondary dysmenorrhea would require medical attention to be treated. The treatment involves treating underlying health conditions.

Also Read: How to ease period pain? Follow these 5 Ayurvedic remedies

Common health conditions associated with Secondary dysmenorrhea:

1. Endometriosis: It is a condition that affects women’s reproductive system. In these cases, cells that are identical to the cells found in the lining of the uterus are found in the other parts of the body.
2. Adenomyosis: In this condition, the cells that normally form a lining on the inside of the uterus also grow in the muscle wall of it.
3. Pelvic inflammatory disease: This condition happens when an infection spreads from the vagina to the upper reproductive organs and is usually caused by sexually transmissible infections like chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
4. Fibroids: They are non-cancerous growths or lumps of muscle tissue that grow on the walls of the uterus.

How to determine type of period pain and why is it important?

Primary dysmenorrhea is more common and easily treatable than secondary dysmenorrhea. Secondary dysmenorrhea can indicate serious underlying health conditions. And that’s one of the many reasons you should care about and evaluate the pain you’re feeling during those days. You should know when this pain is manageable and when you need special attention to get it treated. Here are some important questions you should ask yourself when it comes to period cramps.

What do my period cramps tell about my health. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Does your period pain become an obstacle in performing daily tasks at work and home? Do you feel any pain while urinating during periods? Are you having cramps so bad that the over-the-counter methods and painkillers are not working on them? Do you commonly experience pain in your pelvic area even without periods? Is it extremely painful for you to have sex?

If the answer is yes to most of these questions, it is a matter of concern.

Conclusion

Pain, heavy bleeding, or other factors regarding your period can make it harder for you to do your daily tasks. Alsocan become more severe if they are left untreated. You must not suffer in silence and should seek out the help you need. Even though there are many ways that period pain can manifest, it’s vital to learn what is typical for you so that you can watch for any unusual changes. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to rule out anything dangerous if you notice a sudden increase in your “normal” levels of period pain or if you begin to suffer period pain after previously experiencing none.

About the Author
Dr Thejaswini J

Dr. Thejaswini J is a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist at motherhood hospital electronic city, Bangalore.

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