All About Periods

Part 1 – Understanding Menstrual Cramps

Period pain or menstrual cramps are common for most women. They’re usually not a bad thing; but rather just a sign that your body is starting another healthy menstrual cycle.

It’s helpful to understand exactly what is happening in your body. This helps you better manage these pains as they come!

Two Types of Menstrual Cramps

There are two types of menstrual cramps: primary and secondary.

Primary Dysmenorrhea

This sounds like a scary condition, but fret not! Primary Dysmenorrhea is just the medical terms for common menstrual cramps caused by your monthly cycle. This pain usually occurs in your lower abdomen, back and thighs. It starts right before your period and usually lasts between 12-72 hours.

This kind of dysmenorrhea is more common in young women and often gets less severe from the mid-20s onward and after giving birth.

Secondary Dysmenorrhea

This type of dysmenorrhea is usually caused by a disorder in a woman’s reproductive organs. Some of these conditions include endometriosis, fibroids, cysts or infection. It can also be caused by using a form of contraceptive knows as a intrauterine device (IUD).

The pain usually starts earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than primary dysmenorrhea.

What Causes Menstrual Cramps?

Scientists have found that menstrual cramps are most likely caused by prostaglandins – a substance your uterus makes. This causes the uterus to contract, which then leads to the cramping that you feel.

Prostaglandin levels are typically high at the start of your menstruation and subsequently decreases.

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