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Menstrual Cramps and Back Pain: Causes and Treatment

Why are menstrual cramps painful?

Menstrual cramps can range from mild to severe pain. Lasting for two to three days in some cases, it may interfere with your daily activities. Menstrual cramps are caused by uterus contractions’ that may happen before the onset of periods and may peak after 24 hours.

Normal pain may last for a day and maybe mild. But, many women experience severe menstrual cramps. Severe menstrual cramps feel like a throbbing pain in your lower abdomen area, and at times, the pain can be unbearable. You may also feel continuous pressure in the lower abdomen area. Also, the pain may radiate to lower back or thighs as well.

Severe menstrual contractions are triggered by a hormone-like substance called prostaglandins. A high level of this substance causes severe menstrual cramps during periods. Also, severe menstrual cramps may not subside even after having medicine. Plus, it can be accompanied by clotting or heavy bleeding, and it can also be a reason for underlying medical conditions if the pain is unbearable.

1.1 Causes of Menstrual Cramps

  • Endometriosis

A condition that causes the tissue lining of the uterus to grow in other parts of your body. It causes pelvic pain with heavy periods and bleeding between the periods. It also causes painful intercourse, and you might face trouble getting pregnant. Endometriosis causes severe menstrual cramps, and if you think you have these symptoms, then you should visit your doctor.

  • Fibroids

Fibroids are non-cancerous growth that develops on the outer side or inner side of the uterus. Fibroids may range from small size to big size and may cause severe menstrual cramps along with pelvic pressure. It causes heavy periods & continuous leg pain and can cause frequent urination with stomach pain as well.

Click here for Fibroids tests and monitoring.

  • Abnormal Pregnancy

Abnormal pregnancy is also known as ectopic pregnancy. Its located outside the inner lining of the uterus, and in most cases, the fallopian tubes are the most common locations for abnormal pregnancy. The condition causes abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, and cramps. Diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy includes ultrasound and blood hormone tests.

  • Ovarian Cyst

Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled or solid pockets in your ovary, which may cause severe menstrual cramps, and most women aren’t aware of the same.

Some cysts are harmless and go away without any treatment. However, an ovarian cyst becomes a problem when it gets bigger. Along with cramps, you might experience bloating, severe abdominal pain and pressure. The pain may be sharp or dull, depending on your periods.

A cyst may need medical attention when there is a constant pain in the abdomen area. Ovarian cysts are also common during pregnancy. So check out some of the ovarian cyst treatment options available.

  • Narrow Cervix

Also known cervical stenosis or closed cervix, this usually happens when the opening of the cervix is closed or narrow. A closed cervix prevents the menstrual blood from exiting the body, thereby putting pressure on the uterus, which causes menstrual cramps. This may result in light or irregular periods.

Schedule various well-woman checkups at regular intervals to learn more about your body and enjoy a long healthy life.

1.2 How to Relieve Menstrual Cramps Naturally?

  • Yoga

Yoga helps to strengthen the body physically and aids in relieving menstrual pain. Many yoga poses help to limit the pain of the menstrual cycle. Yoga not only works for mild menstrual pain, but it also reduces the severe menstrual cramps caused by many conditions.

Camel pose is a popular pose that helps to reduce the discomfort caused by periods. It also relieves you of menstrual cramps. Bow pose is a great pose that strengthens the abdominal muscles of the body and alleviates menstrual discomfort.

  • Herbal Teas

Herbal teas are good in antioxidants that have natural pain-relieving properties. Chamomile tea helps to reduce cramps when you are on your periods, as it has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce prostaglandins.

It helps to ease the menstrual flow and reduces the abdominal pressure during periods. Green tea also helps to reduce your menstrual cramps and alleviates pain. Also, natural herbal teas help to provide soothing relief to the body without any side-effects.

  • Massage With Essential Oils

Have you ever tried massage for relieving menstrual cramps? If you haven’t, then you should give it a try. Massage your abdomen for five to ten minutes (two to three days) before the onset of your periods.

Massage helps to increase the blood flow in the abdominal area and reduces the pressure caused by periods. The use of lavender or sage oil for massage can help to relieve pain to a good extent. Massage also helps to reduce inflammation caused by periods.

  • Eat Anti-inflammatory Foods

Anti-inflammatory foods have the power to reduce period pains and cramps. Include anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes, bell peppers, cherries, and blueberries in your daily diet plan. Also include foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds and fish. Plus, include calcium-rich foods along with dark leafy greens in your regular diet plan.

  • Apply Heat and Reduce Stress

This is an old way to treat cramps, but it is still effective. Applying a heat wrap or pad relieves menstrual cramps as it helps the abdominal muscles to relax. The continuous application of heat can work wonders to reduce your pain. Also, stress increases your cramps and causes abdominal discomfort during periods. So, it is important to destress. Here are a few tips and tricks to relieve stress. 

  • Have Birth Control Pills

Some doctors also prescribe birth control pills for severe menstrual cramps. This helps regulate your menstrual cycle, thereby reducing cramps. Birth control pills also help to prevent Endometriosis and cysts. Also, most women who are on pills don’t experience heavy periods or pain.

2.1 Can Periods Cause Back Pain?

Painful periods may also cause back pain in women. Lower back pain is common in women who suffer from painful menstrual cramps. Around 16% of women who experience menstrual cramps also have a lower back pain problem.

Pain in the lower back can be stressful, but there are no serious causes as such. Period back pain is generally categorised into two; primary dysmenorrhea and secondary dysmenorrhea.

  • Primary dysmenorrhea is getting a normal back pain that is not caused by any medical condition. It is a milder form of pain.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea is back pain which is generally caused by an injury or medical condition. This pain can worsen during periods, so it is important to know about the cause.

2.2 How to Get Rid of Period Back Pain?

  • Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy is still the most effective way to treat period-related back pain. A hot water pad or bag helps the muscles to relax while cold pad reduces inflammation. Use the cold-water pad and apply it to your lower back area and keep it for about fifteen minutes. Use a hot water pad for ten to fifteen minutes or until you feel a bit relaxed. Most women use hot water therapy for alleviating period back pain.

  • Dietary Adjustments

Make some dietary adjustments to treat your period-related back pain. Have lots of anti-inflammatory foods in your diet plan. Ginger, turmeric, nuts, grapes, and cherries not only help to reduce back pain but also period cramps. Have natural food sources that are rich in magnesium and vitamin B12. Avoid highly processed foods or foods with saturated fats. Small changes in your diet plan will have a good effect and will reduce your back pain.

  • Use Right Menstrual Products

If you don’t choose the right menstrual products, it can cause back pain. If you use normal pads with heavy flow, then it is about time to switch to tampons, which are available in different types.

For heavy flow, longer tampons make an ideal choice. If you use menstrual cups and feel discomfort, then switch to other products. Your choice of menstrual products will directly affect your pain.

  • Quit Smoking and Drinking

Smoking and drinking can harm your body in many ways. Excessive smoking can cause menstrual pain or back pain. When there is less oxygen in the body, there may be possible inflammation, which may cause lower back pain during periods. Quit or limit drinking/smoking if you want to relieve your back pain.

Conclusion,

It is estimated that about 50% of women experience menstrual cramps and back pain during heavy periods. But once you know the causes, it’ll help you to treat the pain. Mild pain caused by a period should go away within a day. But, if there is continuous pain, then it is about time to visit the best gynaecologist and get your tests done. You can reach out to us by calling us at 079 1564 7759 or by email at shivnilesh@yahoo.com