Every month women have to deal with the uncomfortable effects of menstruation. Although different women may experience certain symptoms or varying degrees of conditions, it is important to recognise the different conditions of a normal menstrual cycle.
In this series we talk about menstrual cramps. One may ask, what are menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps are pains in the belly and pelvic areas that are experienced by a woman as a result of her menstrual period. Menstrual cramps are not the same as the discomfort felt during pre menstrual syndrome (PMS), although the symptoms of both disorders can sometimes be experienced as a continual process. Many women suffer from both disorders (PMS and cramps).
Menstrual cramps can range from mild to quite severe. Mild menstrual cramps may be barely noticeable and short duration sometimes felt just as sense of light heaviness in the belly. Severe menstrual cramps can be so painful that they interfere with a woman’s regular activities for several days. Some women with severe cramps are advised to take pain killers such as brufen, diclofenac and buscopan in sever cases.
According to Dr. Aaron Sakala, a gynaecologist they are two types of menstrual cramps or in medical terms dysmenorrhoea which are primary and secondary.
"In the primary there is no underlying gynaecological problem causing the pain and a woman needs not to worry. This type may begin within six months to a year following the time when a girl starts having menstrual periods. Cramps do not begin until an egg is released from the ovaries and actual menstruation begins before the onset of ovulation,” he explained
Dr. Sakala further explained that secondary dysmenorrhoea could be attributed to an underlying abnormal condition.
"They could be an underlying abnormal condition usually involving a woman’s reproductive system which contributes to the menstrual pain. This may be evident at the beginning of menstruation but often the condition develops later,” he said
He explained that there was no known remedy for cramps but that different remedies worked for different women.
“Every woman needs to find a treatment that works for her. There are a number of possible remedies. Though it is believed that for some women once they conceive the problem goes but this cannot be the case for others. In some cases women who take oral contraceptive birth control pills have less menstrual pain.” he said