Have been wondering … even though a large percentage of world population is affected by this specific health issue, why isn’t it taken seriously?  

Primarily - because most women choose to suffer in silence. This makes Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps (painful menstruation), a relatively ignored health issue, that doesn't get prioritized enough. We need to talk about it because Dysmenorrhea affects millions of women around the world and their health is an issue of primary concern to society.

Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea vary widely, but here are the most common symptoms:
  • Throbbing pain in lower abdomen (at times, intense)
  • Lower body pain (hips, lower back, thighs)
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

For women with Dysmenorrhea, a task as trivial as getting out of bed can seem like a major problem. Dysmenorrhea is reported to impact fertility, and even put women at a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy.

What can be done about it?
  • Rest and Relaxation: Taking proper rest and trying out relaxation techniques like meditation or Yoga can help ease pain.
  • Avoiding caffeine and salty food: Caffeine constricts our blood vessels and salty food can make us feel bloated, resulting in intense cramps.
  • Avoiding Tobacco and Alcohol: Consumption of tobacco and alcohol can aggravate menstrual cramps.
  • Heat: Applying heat to the lower abdomen using a heating pad or a hot water bottle can help significantly in easing menstrual pain.
  • Regular Exercise: Studies have shown that women who exercise regularly often have less menstrual cramps. Making exercise a part of one’s routine can help alleviate menstrual cramps.
  • Pain Relievers: Prescribed dosage of pain relievers prescribed by your doctors.
  • Hormonal Birth Control: Oral contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices (IUD) prevent ovulation, thus making it more manageable.
  • Surgery: Doctors may recommend surgical interventions under some specific conditions like – fibroids. For women having completed their families, one of the options evaluated by doctors is – removal of uterus.

Image Source: Pinterest

Besides the common Dysmenorrhea, also called ‘Primary Dysmenorrhea’, a 'Secondary Dysmenorrhea' may be caused due to any of the following reasons:

  • Endometriosis: In this condition, the tissue lining the uterus is found outside the uterus. It is instead found on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or the tissue lining of the pelvis, thereby resulting in extreme pain.
  • Uterine fibroids: These are non-cancerous growth on the uterus walls.
  • PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease): In this condition, bacteria in the uterus causes infection which can further spread to other reproductive organs.
  • Cervical stenosis: In some women, the opening of the cervix may be small, obstructing menstrual flow, and in turn causing pressure to build within the uterus – resulting in painful menstrual period.
  • Adenomyosis: The tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) starts to grow within the muscular walls of the uterus.
  • STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease): An undiagnosed STD can also cause painful periods to occur.

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