What do menstrual cramps feel like?
Menstrual cramps feel like cramps in other parts of your body. For some girls it’s just minor discomfort, but for others it leaves them doubled over in pain. While unusual, it’s possible to feel dizzy or nauseous. If it happens to you, be sure to talk it over with your doctor.
What’s going on down there?
This is going to get technical, so hang in there. Each month the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) builds up in preparation for a possible pregnancy. If a pregnancy occurs, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining to be nourished as it develops into a baby. If the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining isn’t needed. So it breaks down and hormones called prostaglandins are released. These trigger the muscles of the uterus to contract and squeeze the lining out – this is what causes the cramping. The muscles are the same ones that push a baby out during childbirth, so they are very strong. Some women may have higher levels of prostaglandins, which means unfortunately they get worse menstrual cramps.
What can I do to avoid menstrual cramps?
When menstrual cramps start creeping in, there are a few tricks that might help put you at ease:
- Lie down with a heating pad on your tummy.
- Take a warm bath.
- Ask your doctor or parents about over-the-counter pain relievers. They can usually alleviate a lot of pain.
- Give yourself a little massage where it hurts.
- You’re probably not in the mood to move. Ever. But exercising before and during your period will lower your level of prostaglandins (that stuff that intensifies your menstrual cramps).
If I have severe menstrual cramps, what can my doctor do to help me?
Hormone treatments and birth control pills are options that some girls use to help manage their cycle. Certain types of hormone treatments can stop ovulation, significantly reducing menstrual cramps. The birth control pill is often used to reduce the effect of prostaglandins. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of both. This is your body. The best thing you can do is be informed!
Could It Be Something Else?
Menstrual cramps are sometimes caused or worsened by other conditions. Always contact your doctor if you’re concerned.
That was a lot of serious medical talk. If your head’s spinning or if you think you may have one of these conditions, be sure to talk to your doctor to find out what’s up.
Cramps are awful. We feel your pain. But luckily this article should help relieve any pain that comes at ya!