Cramps during your period: What you should know
One of the most common symptoms faced by women due to menstruation cramps. While in some women, it may begin on or just a day before their period, with others, it can start even a week prior to their period.
A study regarding PMS cramps shows that cramping experienced by women who were in their early 20s and 30s were more severe than in those of older ages.
To make it easier to deal with the cramping, it is important for us to understand it. Each month, our bodies prepare for the fertilized egg to be implanted on the uterine wall. If this does not happen, the uterine wall contracts to expel its lining in the form of blood during our periods. In order for the muscles of the uterus to contract, our bodies produce Prostaglandins, the substance which is responsible for the cramping. These cramps are the strongest before periods.
Possible other reasons for PMS cramps
The causes of menstrual or PMS cramps differ for every individual. However, the following may also be some of the common reasons:
- It could occur due to the fluctuating hormone levels throughout the month, especially Estrogen and Progesterone. The body gets hyper-stimulated and may begin the contractions or cramping well in advance of the period.
- It could occur due to a decrease in Serotonin -- a neurotransmitter which increases pain intolerance. Women are increasingly sensitive during PMS, and this could worsen even the slightest cramps we go through.
- It could be due to chronic depression which reduces the ability of pain tolerance.
- PMS leads to anxiety and release of cortisol - the stress hormone. This may further reduce pain tolerance.
- PMS cramps could occur due to lack of oxygen supply to the uterus, which increases contractions and pain.
- Along with the lining of uterus prematurely contracting, other chemical substances like Leukotrienes, can increase the inflammation response and worsen the cramping.
- Women may also have endometriosis, uterine fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease which may further increase pain and cramping.
While there may be no reason to panic, it is always better to be aware of what cramping is and how and why they occur. At the very least, this will help to reduce your anxiety and deal with it better!
Co-authored by Nutrition Tattva
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