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Dysmenorrhoea - Period Pains

Painful menstruation or pain during the time of the monthly periods is called dysmenorrhoea. Congestion in the pelvic organs and ovulatory cycles are the causes of dysmenorrhoea during the early years of womanhood. Dysmenrrhoea which starts in the later years may be related to pelvic infections, fibroids or other gynaecological conditions.

There are certain chemicals called prostaglandins that a woman's uterine lining produces every month. These help the uterus to contract ,and discharge its tissue and tissue fluids, which were formed to make the lining conducive for a fertilized ovum to embed itself. For some unknown reasons, when these prostaglandin levels are too high they cause cramps.

What Causes period pain - Information on Causes of Dysmenorrhoea.

  • Pains may start with the first-ever period. However, they are more likely to begin 6-12 months later, once cycles where an egg is released are established. It's these cycles that appear to cause more pain.
  • The cause of period pain is not certain. Once an egg has been released from one of the ovaries, natural chemicals produced by the body called prostaglandins are made in the lining of the uterus (womb). Some prostaglandins cause the walls of the uterus to contract. Some women produce higher levels of prostaglandins, which may cause increased contractions of the uterus. These cramps may be more painful because there is reduced blood (and therefore oxygen) supply to the myometrium (muscle wall of the uterus) during the contractions.

Symptoms of period pain - Information on Symptoms of Dysmenorrhoea.

  • Period pains vary a lot in strength and in position. Some women have a dull dragging pain in the abdomen or lower back or in both areas; others have more severe cramping abdominal pain. In some the pain may be felt in front of the thighs.
  • Up to 15% of women have period pains severe enough to interfere with their daily activities. This can lead to missing days at school or work or decreased participation in social or sporting activities.
  • Some women may get nausea and vomiting, and in severe cases fainting may occur.

Remedies for period pain - Treatment of Dysmenorrhoea.

  • Holding a hot-water bottle on the abdomen will give temporary relief.
  • Decrease your salt intake a day or two before your periods are due. This helps excess fluid to be easily discharged by the kidneys, thus relieving pelvic congestion.
  • Take a long leaf of aloe vera. Wash it well and put it into a mixer to extract the juice. Strain and filter this juice. Take a tablespoon of this with honey 2-3 times a day for 4-5 days. It has an added laxative effect. So vary the dose as required. Make fresh juice every day.
  • Papaya aids menstrual flow. Have a large bowlful daily during your periods. Papaya also has a laxative action, so monitor the amount taken. It is supposed to have oestrogen-like prapiraties.
  • A cupful of carrot juice drunk once a day is also beneficial.
  • Carrot and parsley soup help in combating period pains.

Consult your general practitioner if the pain worsens or if you develop period pain following 3 or 4 years of relatively pain-free periods.

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