Ah, those periods! They strike every month and cause those annoying cramps. We are pretty much used to this. But what if you have debilitating period pain and can’t even move your body? Well, that’s not the BEST sign. Does it signal that something is wrong with us, or are we just overthinking?
We know you have several questions floating in your mind, which is why we have an expert to tell you all. Here’s what Dr Radhamany K, Clinical Professor, and Head, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, tells HealthShots, “Cramping during menstruation or period pain is called dysmenorrhea. Severe menstrual pain is seen in 5-15 percent of the population, and it interferes with the daily activity of women. This distressing condition is further classified as primary and secondary dysmenorrhea.”
Primary dysmenorrhea does not have identifiable pelvic pathology (not related to other diseases). About 50 percent cases of menstrual pain are seen in young and adolescent women aged 18 to 25 years. On the other hand, secondary dysmenorrhea is period pain caused by pelvic conditions such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, and fibroids.
“Endometriosis is often a painful condition in which the inner lining of the uterus known as endometrium, grows outside the uterine cavity. Adenomyosis is a condition in which the endometrium tissue in the myometrium ( which is the muscle wall of the uterus),” says Dr Radhamany K.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growth, which can be extremely painful, since they grow inside the endometrial cavity. Pelvic inflammatory diseases (infection of the upper genital tract) can also cause severe abdominal pain.
“In certain cases, intrauterine contraceptive devices like Copper T or Mirena can also become the cause of painful menstruation, as the uterus may try to expel these devices through uterine contractility,” shares Dr Radhamany K.
Along with clinical examination, an ultrasound scan is commonly used in the diagnosis of dysmenorrhea. CT or MRI scans may be needed in some patients.
“A gynecologist may prescribe medications for relieving pain, relaxing the smooth muscles of the uterus, and contraceptive pills to suppress ovulation. Taking vitamin E two days prior and during periods can reduce menstrual pain. Psychotherapy and counseling can help in modifying the perception and attitude towards the problem. Surgery may be considered if the pain is due to complex pelvic conditions, which do not respond to medication,” concludes Dr Radhamany K.