Menstruation in women is part of their creation. More than half of menstruating women experience abdominal and groin pain on the first 1 and 2 days of bleeding. Usually this pain is mild enough to be tolerable. In some women, it can be severe enough to limit their daily activities. This is called severe pain, dysmenorrhea. Physiologically, the menstrual cycle starts with the first day of vaginal bleeding and lasts until the first day of the next vaginal bleeding. The average duration is 28 days (21 – 35 days). Pain during this cycle is a common problem and can be treated in most women. In some women, this pain comes with the bleeding that starts the menstrual cycle and can range from mild cramps to severe pain.
What causes menstrual pain?
Menstrual pain is caused by the muscles in the uterine wall contracting. The uterus begins to contract regularly during menstruation to expel the bleeding in the uterus. During these contractions, the blood and oxygen supply to the uterus decreases, so pain occurs and can be felt. The uterus is a muscle tissue and naturally contracts and relaxes like all muscles. During menstruation it contracts more strongly and this is felt as pain.
During these contractions, the uterus releases chemicals called prostaglandins. As a result, the intensity of pain may increase. In some women, prostaglandin accumulation may be the cause of severe pain during menstruation. Prostaglandins cause more severe contractions. Prostaglandin levels are high at the beginning of the cycle. Their levels decrease during menstruation, which explains why the pain tends to decrease after the first few days.
What are the symptoms of menstrual pain?
Pain or cramps in the lower abdomen, headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, nervousness and tension can be associated with menstrual cramps.
If you want to have a comfortable menstrual cycle, you should be aware of these pains and see an obstetrician to differentiate whether they are of physiological origin or due to an underlying pathological disease.
Gynecology and Obstetrics Specialist Op. Dr. Pınar Kadiroğulları