Premenstrual cramps

Premenstrual Cramps: Definition & Causes

Premenstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea, are pain or cramping that occurs in the lower abdomen before and in the beginning of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is a very common complaint that is experienced by many women of reproductive age. The severity of the pain can vary greatly, progressing in intensity before and after the onset of the period.

Causes of Premenstrual Cramps

The exact cause of premenstrual cramps is still unknown, but they are believed to be related to changes in hormone levels. Studies have shown that during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormone progesterone increase. This increase in progesterone can cause the uterus to contract, leading to cramps.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Cramps

Common symptoms of premenstrual cramps include lower abdominal pain, back pain, pelvic pressure, bloating, and nausea. These symptoms typically start two to three days before the period and can last for up to two or three days after the start of the period.

Treatment of Premenstrual Cramps

Common treatments for premenstrual cramps include:

  • Pain-relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Warm compresses or heating pads
  • Hot baths or showers
  • Regular exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Yoga or other relaxation techniques such as meditation

It is important to speak to a healthcare provider for advice on treatment options for premenstrual cramps as the wrong medication or method can lead to further health complications.