Menstrual cramps or period pains are generally called primary dsymenorrhea which is caused by the elevated production of prostaglandins, hormones produced by the uterus that cause it to contract.
When you have strong uterine contractions, the blood supply to the uterus is shut down, depriving the uterus muscle of oxygen and setting up the cycle of menstrual cramps and pain.
Some studies show that women with severe menstrual cramps have stronger uterine contractions than others do when giving birth.
Some certain conditions such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease are associated with menstrual cramps. Endometriosis can cause fertility problems.
Pelvic inflammatory disease can scar your fallopian tubes, which increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy in which the fertilized egg implants outside your uterus.
Other risk factors include use of an intrauterine device (IUD), uterine fibroid tumor, and sexually transmitted diseases.
If your periods are causing you so much pain that is unbearable, consult your doctor, because menstrual pain can be a sign of a serious problem.
Here are the conditions known to cause painful menstrual cramps:
1. Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a gynecological condition in which endometrium-like tissue is found outside 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.
Untreated endometriosis can lead to adhesions, chronic inflammation, chocolate cysts (cysts filled with blood), and internal bleeding and all of these can cause severe pelvic pains.
Endometriosis pain isn’t limited to period pain. Many women also experience backache and other bowel symptoms.
2. Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids can turn monthly menses into a monthly nightmare by increasing not only the amount of bleeding, but the severity of period pain.
The reason behind the pain is that the uterus during the period must contract (cramp) to expel the large blood clots that often result from heavy bleeding.
3. Copper IUD: A copper IUD is a nonpermanent, nonhormonal form of birth control, that can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. The device, which is placed in the uterus is done by a gynecologist and it works continuously releasing by copper, which immobilizes sperm and prevents egg implantation.
A copper IUD, as opposed to a progestin IUD, can make menses heavier and more painful, particularly in the first few cycles after insertions. But know that if you have had your copper IUD for years and suddenly develop severe period pain, it could be something else. Your IUD is unlikely to be the culprit.
4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive tract that is most commonly caused by untreated sexually transmitted infections.
If left untreated, PID can cause inflammation, painful menstrual cramps, and infertility.
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