There are various beliefs about the causes of dysmenorrhea (cramps and pelvic pain with menstruation), and how to avoid it.
There are also myths about the pain and how to stop it. Some believe that the consumption of sugary foods and drinks days before menstruation starts causes painful period. But some others believe the opposite, arguing that surgary drinks and foods leads to heavy flow which in turn reduces pains during menstruation.
However, the myths and misconceptions do not take away the fact that the condition forces sufferers to stay off work and school, curling up in bed and praying for the cramps to subside. Although some still manage to go about their daily activities inspite of the pain.
For 70 to 90 percent of those who suffer period cramps, it ranges from mild to moderate pain. But for the remaining 10 to 30 percent, their severe cyclical pain is likely due to a health condition called endometriosis.
Endometrioisis is a painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
According to a gynecologist, Dr Ayobola Omosehin of the Department of Obstretics and Gynaecology, Lagos Island Maternity, endometrioisis is one of the causes of menstrual pain and is sometimes caused by a deliberate delay of conception, issues with infertility, or family planning.
Dr. Omosehin, who was guest recently on “Your View”, a TVC morning talk show, added that some of the woman with endometriosis may not even experience any symptoms. According to him, most of them discover they have it through accidental findings when they visit the hospital. He said the sympton common to them is dysmenorrhea which occurs among up to 70 per cent of women.
According to Cleverland Clinic, Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for menstrual cramps, which are caused by uterine contractions. The contractions ( tightening) in the uterus are caused by a chemical called prostaglandin.
The uterus, where a baby grows, contracts throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. During menstruation, the uterus contracts more strongly. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain results when part of the muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.
There are primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is common menstrual cramps that are recurrent. Pains begins one or two days before menstrual bleeding start, it continues during the period and the pain dissapears immediately after the period. Primary dysmenorrhea can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is pain that is caused by a disorder in the woman’s reproductive organs. The pains increase and it tends not to disappear even after the periods.
Common menstrual cramps usually become less painful as a woman ages and may stop entirely if the woman has a baby. It may go away completely after menopause.