How Much Pain Is Too Much?
When it comes to that time of the month, mild cramping, bloating, and irritability – although nuisances – are all to be expected. However, crippling cramps, heavy bleeding, serious fatigue and other symptoms that affect your quality of life are not.
Here are 6 conditions known to cause painful periods.
1. Endometriosis: When Uterine Lining Goes Astray
Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition in which the lining of the uterus – the endometrium – is found outside of the uterus on other structures throughout the pelvis, including the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, bladder, pelvic floor, and in more severe cases the bowel, diaphragm, liver, lungs, and even the brain.
Endometriosis pain isn’t limited to painful periods. Some women with endometriosis experience progressive pelvic pain that goes on 24/7.
2. Adenomyosis: Painful Cramping and Sex
Adenomyosis is similar to endometriosis, except instead of the endometrium implanting itself outside of the uterus, it is found embedded deep within the uterine muscle. In women with adenomyosis, “the uterus acts like a bruised muscle”. Symptoms of adenomyosis include “painful central cramping and painful intercourse, which can hurt up until a day or two after.” Adenomyosis is usually seen in women over age 30 who have already had children. However, it has been seen in teenagers as well.
3. Uterine Fibroids: A Monthly Nightmare for Some
As many as three out of four women will develop uterine fibroids, but most will not experience any symptoms. Fibroids range in size from microscopic to large enough to distort the shape of the uterus.
Uterine fibroids can turn monthly menses into a monthly nightmare by increasing not only the amount of bleeding, but the severity of menstrual pain. The reason behind the pain is that the uterus must contract (cramp) to expel the large blood clots that often result from heavy bleeding. Fortunately, fibroids do not put women at increased risk of uterine cancer and very rarely become cancerous.
4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): More Reason to Practice Safe Sex
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive tract most commonly caused by untreated sexually transmitted infections. Left untreated, PID can cause inflammation, scarring, painful menstruation, and infertility. [PID] most often occurs because sexually transmitted
infections that cause PID can create scar tissue and adhesions in the pelvic region. During menstruation, hormones influence the uterus and surrounding structures – including the scar tissue and adhesions – which can increase inflammation, bleeding, and pain. If caught early, PID can be treated with antibiotics, but antibiotics won’t undo any structural damage caused by the infection. Practice safe sex, and get tested frequently for any sexually transmitted infections, especially if you have very painful periods.
5. Uterine Defects: Structural Oddities That Can Lead to Infertility Too
While a female fetus is still in its mother’s uterus, its own uterus develops from two structures known as mullerian ducts. In some cases the uterus does not form correctly, which can cause infertility, painful periods, and painful intercourse. For women with structural anomalies – such as abicornuate uterus (two uteri that lead to one cervix), septate uterus (normal uterus with a fibrous band of tissue bisecting it), unicornuate uterus (a uterus that develops from only one mullerian duct), uterus didelphys (two uteri, two cervices, and a septum, or membrane, dividing the vaginal canal) – menstrual pain stems from blockages and membranes dividing the uterus and vagina.
6. Primary Dysmenorrhea: Affecting Half of Women
Cramping that can’t be explained by structural defect or a reproductive condition, also known as primary dysmenorrhea, occurs at some point in almost half of all menstruating women. This cramping is caused by increased or imbalanced levels of prostaglandins – hormone-like fatty acids that stimulate the uterus to contract. Changes in prostaglandin levels can cause more intense and frequent uterine contractions, leading to the compression of nearby blood vessels and cutting off oxygen to the uterine muscle, thus causing painful cramping and discomfort.
If your periods are causing you significant pain, consult your doctor, because menstrual pain can be a sign of a serious problem.
You can also try the new Menstrual Discomfort Gel, which can give fast and effective relief of menstrual pain. Apply the gel, which are filled with essential oils, at the bottom of the stomach area and feel immediate relief.