Menstrual Pain 101: What it is, why we have it, and how to keep it from running your life
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
For thousands of years, women of the Western world placed the blame for menstrual pain on the shoulders of Eve, the Biblical first woman who brought a curse on the heads of all women for eating the forbidden fruit.
Doctors and biologists know a lot more about the physical causes of “woman problems” these days, and can offer some relief from the associated pain. If you're curious about what menstrual pain is, what its causes are, and what you can do to prevent it, this guide is for you.
What causes menstrual cramps?
The cramps associated with menstruation are caused by the same factors that cause most other types of muscle cramps. A cramp is simply an involuntary contraction of a muscle. In the case of period pain, the muscle is the uterus as it expels the uterine lining that causes a period.
I don't feel like I'm having cramps. What are some other types of menstrual pain?
Other types of menstrual pain and discomfort include body aches, bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches. However, disorders such as endometriosis, cystic fibrosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can all cause abnormal menstrual pain. All are serious conditions that should be addressed immediately.
How can I get rid of period pain?
For cramps, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Aleve) will usually help ease muscular pain. Aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are also pain suppressants that can make menstrual discomfort much more manageable.
Doctors have long known that staying active throughout the month can prevent unnecessary period pain. Staying hydrated and eating properly are also vital to reducing pain during that time of the month.
If you believe your pain is excessive, talk to you doctor. She can determine whether or not there may be a more serious underlying problem, as well as prescribe you stronger pain medications.
Do I even need to have a period?
Actually, no. After years of research, doctors have found no reason for women who don't wish to become pregnant to have a period. However, some women feel that menstruation is good for the body, and feel somewhat mistrustful of birth control methods that prevent a woman from having a monthly period. It's fully possible that there is a logical explanation for all of this pain that humans just haven't discovered yet.
Women who wish to avoid the whole thing altogether should talk to their doctor about getting a prescription for birth control pills that don't include the inactive week.
Although modern medicine has given women a wonderful array of safe and effective drugs to counteract menstrual pain or avoid it altogether, it's still a regular part of life for most women throughout the world.
But period pain shouldn't be seen as a punishment to be endured. It's important to keep yourself in good health throughout the month to have a more comfortable period. It's also helpful to keep yourself comfortable and stress-free during your period. Set time aside for yourself to relax your body and mind. Wear comfortable clothing, use Ruby Love period underwear, and try out different feminine hygiene products to see which one makes you feel most secure.
It may be a “curse” that we women have to bear, but we can at least bear it in comfort.