Are your periods painful? If so, you’re not alone. I used to have terrible menstrual cramps myself. Learn the 7 common causes of period pain and what you can do about it.
Many women experience pain during or around menstruation.
This pain can be mild or severe. And it can be felt in the lower abdomen, or in the lumbosacral area (known as referred pain).
I had severe period pain in my early 20s. And today I still experience mild to moderate menstrual cramps, from time to time, when my life is out of balance.
It’s a topic close to my uterus, and close to my heart.
So what causes period pain, really?
I think the answer to this question will help us better understand the nature of painful periods, and help us find solutions to relieve the discomfort.
7 Causes of Painful Periods
Generally speaking, there are 7 primary causes of painful periods (dysmenorrhea):
1. Narrowing of the Cervix
The cervix is called the neck of the womb. It’s the lower, narrow portion of the uterus that connects it with the vagina.
When the cervix is narrow, it can block the shedding of the uterine lining during menstruation and cause pain.
In this case, the period pain usually occurs before the period and disappears once menstrual flow is established.
2. Small Womb (Hypoplasia of Uterus)
For some women, their wombs are not fully developed, which restricts the blood flow to nourish the tissues in the uterus, causing pain.
3. Malpositioned Uterus
When the uterus moves out of its normal position, either leaning forward or backward, it can obstruct the menstrual flow, causing abdominal pain before and during menstruation.
Check out a simple uterus exercise to relieve period pain and help bring the uterus back to its proper position.
4. Psychological Factors
Have you noticed that when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to experience period pain, and that the pain is more severe?
There’s an intimate connection between our mind and what’s going on in our uterus.
5. Genetic Factors
If mothers have a history of painful period, their daughters are more likely to suffer from it as well.
So when you heal yourself from painful periods, you’re also healing a future generation!
6. Endocrine Factors
Modern research suggests that painful periods are related to the secretion of prostaglandin, which helps the womb to contract and shed the uterine lining during our periods.
If there’s a build-up of too much prostaglandin, it may cause the womb to contract more than it should, causing pain.
In addition, poor lifestyle, stress, prolonged emotional disturbances, injuries, infections, or certain medications can cause inflammation in the body, leading to a high level of prostaglandin to fight off the inflammation, which in turn causes pain.
In Chinese Medicine, this is called stagnation. Whenever there is stagnation, there is pain.
7. Disorders of the Reproductive Organs
Painful periods can also be a result of problems related to the uterus or other pelvic organs, such as endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), or the use of intrauterine devices (IUD) made of copper.
Recommendations for Painful Periods
For Mild to Moderate Menstrual Pain
If you have mild to moderate period pain, you can apply some simple remedies to find relief. Check out my posts:
For Severe Menstrual Pain
If the pain is severe enough to interrupt the quality of your life, I recommend that you discuss it with your gynecologist and get a pelvic ultrasound exam.
It can help identify the cause of your painful periods, as well as the right remedies.
When you have persistent period pain, you need to figure out the underlying causes. And for the majority of us, period pain is often related to factors that are within our control.
We can reduce the inflammation in our body by making some simple lifestyle changes. Get my free Period Guide start your journey to cycle harmony.
Microwaveable Heating Pad: Warm the Uterus, Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Raspberry Leaf Tea: Support Menstruation, Tonify the Uterus, Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Moon Cycle Tea: Balance Hormones, Warm the Uterus, Relieve Period Cramps
Vitamin D: Promote Overall Health, Relieve Period Pain
Magnesium: Relax Uterine Muscles, Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Omega-3 Fish Oil: Reduce Inflammation, Blood Clotting, and Period Pain
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Diva Cup: Reusable Menstrual Cup
Bamboo Cloth Pads: Reusable Menstrual Pads