Menstrual cramps are pains in a woman’s lower abdomen that occur when her menstrual period begins (or just before) and may continue for two to three days.
Pain that is only associated with the process of menstruation is known as primary dysmenorrhea.
If the cramping pain is due to an identifiable medical problem such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease, it is called secondary dysmenorrhea.
Treating the cause is key to reducing the such pain. Menstrual cramps that aren’t caused by another condition tend to lessen with age and often improve after giving birth but that might be a long time of pain to wait for, why not treat it.
They may be throbbing or aching and can be dull or sharp. Symptoms can range in severity from a mild annoyance to severe pain that interferes with normal activities.
Symptoms of Menstrual Pain
In addition to cramps in the lower abdomen, a woman may also experience some of these symptoms with menstrual cramps:
Lower back pain
Leg pain, radiating down the legs
Fainting spells (in extreme cases)
Menstrual cramps are the leading cause of absenteeism in women younger than 30. Although over half of women who have menstrual periods experience some discomfort, 10% are temporarily disabled by symptoms.
The following circumstances may make a woman more likely to experience menstrual cramps:
She started her first period at an early age (younger than 11 years).
Her menstrual periods are heavy.
She is overweight or obese.
She smokes cigarettes or uses alcohol.
She has never been pregnant.
Causes of Menstrual Pain
Approximately once every 28 days, if there is no sperm to fertilize the egg, the uterus contracts to expel its lining. Hormone-like substances called prostaglandins trigger this process.
Prostaglandins are chemicals that form in the lining of the uterus during menstruation. They cause muscle contractions and cramps that are similar to labor pains. They also contribute to nausea and diarrhea and headaches that accompany painful periods.
Women who have high levels of prostaglandin may experience more intense contractions of their uterus and more pain. High levels of prostaglandins are produced in response to injury or infection and cause inflammation, which is associated to pains and fever (vomiting and nausea).This is an important part of the body’s normal healing process.
However, this natural response can sometimes lead to excess and chronic production of prostaglandins. This excess causes unwanted inflammation leading to menstrual cramps and heavy menstrual flow.
*Glutathione and prostaglandin*
When the body is injured or in pains or infected (or inflammation occurs in any area of the body), cyclooxygenase-2 is activated to produces extra prostaglandins which help the body to respond to the injury. And this extra sometimes lead to excess which is responsible for the menstrual cramps.
Antioxidants like Glutathione is Anti-inflammatory that works by blocking the action of the cyclooxygenase enzymes and so reduce prostaglandin levels.
Enough Glutathione levels in the liver also help balance excess Oestrogen feeding tumour like fibroid, ovarian cyst, ectopic pregnancy etc. Maintaining good Glutathione levels also help prevent occurrences of such disorders.
Heavy flow called menorrhagia as been linked to excess Oestrogen and inadequate progesterone. Progesterone works on the uterine tissues to help prevent excess blood loss.
Supplementing with these antioxidants will be of great help:
Omega 3’s, Vitamin A&K (blood clott) helps maintain normal oestrogen levels. In take of broccoli increases progesterone levels in body.