You feel pain and discomfort during your menstrual periods, but have you felt uneasiness about them, wondering that they might be symptoms by menstrual cramps, or some sort of abnormalities in your body?
Around 70 to 80% of women in their monthly periods feel some sort of menstrual cramps symptoms.
Menstrual cramps symptoms come in wide varieties, and the way of feeling them varies by individual, so you may feel uneasy wondering if the symptom is caused by menstrual cramps.
We will now introduce you menstrual cramps symptoms, the causes of menstrual cramps and the ways of relieving them.
1. Menstrual cramps symptoms
Menstrual cramps symptoms vary by persons, and have also different degrees of pain.
The symptoms seen during menstrual periods are commonly considered as menstrual cramps, therefore known as “dysmenorrhea.”
The symptoms seen before pre-menstrual periods are not strictly menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), but they are called PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Most of these symptoms begin to appear 3 to 10 days before menstruation.
Here are the symptoms that appear during menstrual periods:
Here are the explanations of each symptom:
Lower abdominal and abdominal pain
This pain occurs in your lower abdomen during days from the beginning of your menstrual period.
More than 60% of females who are having menstrual cramps suffer from abdominal pain.
A dull pain of feeling heaviness in the lower abdomen occurs.
This kind of abdominal pain mostly subsides 2 to 3 days after the beginning of menstruation.
Lower back pain
Similar to abdominal pain, this pain of having a heavy lower back occurs at the beginning of menstrual periods.
More than 40% of females who are having menstrual cramps suffer from painful lower back pain.
This pain mostly subsides 2 to 3 days after the beginning of menstruation.
Headaches occur at the beginning of menstruation.
Throbbing pains along with the veins occur when you move your head or body.
Women who are already suffering from headaches in the first place may endure a more painful headache brought by menstrual cramps.
This spasmodic stomach pain occurs around the solar plexus.
There are some stomach pains that are caused by stress, though the pain that occurs as your monthly period approaches could be a part of menstrual cramps.
This kind of pain stimulates your stomach and may cause diarrhea as your belly loosens.
Nausea, loss of appetite and listlessness
The queasy feeling in the stomach and loss of appetite brought by nausea occur during menstruation.
For those who are suffering from stomach or lower abdominal pain, nausea may become stronger in proportion to the pain.
Sluggishness of the body is also seen as a menstrual cramp symptom occurring at the beginning of menstruation.
More than 30% of females who are having menstrual cramps suffer sluggishness in their body or malaise.
The lack of motivation and laziness from moving itself is a problem.
Vertigo is a syndrome easily appears among persons who are suffering from intense menstrual cramps.
This troublesome condition makes you feel like spinning around when you wake and stand up, and feel dizzy when you stand up.
Gets easily irritated and angry
This symptom is mostly found in PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
This symptom makes you get easily irritated or angry for some reason.
This symptom is characterized by pounding and throbbing pain in the gums or teeth.
Because the toothache that occurs during menstruation lowers your body’s immune system, you easily suffer from pain in the inflamed areas you are having in the first place.
Tooth decay and inflammation may occur even among persons who suffer toothaches during menstruation, so it is advisable to see your dentist once.
Joint pain may occur during menstruation. It is said the most pain occurs in the hips.
Joint pain is not often considered as menstrual cramp symptom, though it is one of the symptoms brought by PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
Joint pains occur in most cases wherein the increase of body weight before menstruation puts a weight on the joints.
Symptoms will almost disappear at the end of the menstruation, but if the pain persists, try to take some joint pain medicines or have yourself an orthopedic examination since the nerves in your joins would get damaged.
2. Checking menstrual cramps symptoms
Seeking consultation about menstrual cramps from your friends or family is difficult, so many people do the checking and treatment by themselves.
If you do not know the right timing when to go to the hospital, try to do these simple checking.
2-1. Checking menstrual cramps symptoms
If you meet one of the symptoms above, try to see your gynecologist or obstetrician.
If you are experiencing troublesome pain or symptoms as introduced in 1. Menstrual Cramps Symptoms which even gets worse every month that you couldn’t move so much, you might have endometriosis or uterine fibroid.
If you try to consult a physician even if you are not suffering from some sort of disease, she could provide you advice on dealing with menstrual cramp symptoms or some drug prescriptions to relieve them.
If you are suffering from menstrual cramp symptoms that don’t fall under the above, it would be better for you to see your doctor. Even they think that going to the hospital is not worth it, there are many people who wish that they should have went to the hospital and have a checkup earlier.
2-2. About endometriosis and uterine fibroid.
Diseases such as endometriosis and uterine fibroid have symptoms similar to menstrual cramps.
Endometriosis occurs when tissues similar to endometrium, which is only found in the uterus, are formed outside the uterus.
Its symptoms include continuous tingling and throbbing pain around the abdomen.
Endometriosis is different to menstrual cramps, yet it is so painful that even pain killers cannot subside the pain. Lower back pain and abdominal pain may even occur outside menstruation.
Since the pain occurs in the area outside the uterus where the tissue is formed, there are cases in which people may experience symptoms such as pain in the pelvis and pain when passing stools.
It may be a benign tumor, but when it forms in the ovary, it may lead to ovarian cancer.
Uterine fibroid is a disease characterized by benign tumor of lumps forming in several areas of the uterus.
Its symptoms are similar to menstrual cramps, so many people may not notice about the disease until the amount of menstrual blood discharge increases, the period of menstruation lengthens and menstrual cramps worsen.
Both may be benign tumors, but they worsen the symptoms if left untreated, which leads to infertility. If you are bothered by these, try to see a physician at least once.
3. How to relieve menstrual cramps symptoms
Most cases of menstrual cramps (excluding endometriosis and others) are caused by cooling down your body.
We will introduce methods to make your body feel less pain from menstrual cramps by constantly doing whenever you want to relax.
3-1. How to quickly relieve menstrual cramps symptoms
Here are the methods when you want to quickly relieve painful menstrual cramps.
If you want to quickly do something, take pain killers instead of holding back the pain.
Otherwise, stress would build up, which then worsens the pain.
Warm up your body
If you don’t want to take pain killers, try to at least warm up your body.
Drink warm drinks such as herbal tea
Drinking warm drinks warms up your body for promoting overall blood circulation.
The fragrance of herbal tea also has relaxing effects.
The recommended herbal tea to relieve uterine pain and promoting blood are raspberry lear, chamomile and rose petal teas.
You can also drink other things that easily warm up your body such as warm water and ginger tea. Ginger also promotes blood circulation and warms up your body.
Sacrum:It is located a little bit above the top of the crack between your buttocks.
This bone has the shape of an inverted triangular plate.
Place the body warmer on your sacrum while lying. There are shops selling body warmers made for sacrum.
If you are experiencing intense pain, you may place the body warmer below your navel area and use a stomach band to keep it in place.
Have a warm foot bath
Warming your foot all warms up your whole body. Having a warm foot bath is the recommended way to do it.
If you cannot have a foot bath in your workplace, you may instead place a foot warmer on your soles or, wear socks or tights.
Pressure points for relieving menstrual cramps
We will introduce two pressure points that get rid of chills in your body and relieve your menstrual cramps.
Kekkai is a pressure point where your blood gathers in. Pressing it promotes blood circulation.
It is located inside your knees.
Specifically, it is located three fingers away from the dented part of your kneed when you extend it.
Pressing this pressure point is effective for promoting blood circulation in your lower body. Pressing it doesn’t only gets rid of chills, but also cures anemia as well.
This pressure point is located four fingers away from the insides of your ankle.
3-2. How to continuously relieve menstrual cramps
Although you cannot expect immediate results, we will introduce some methods that continuously relieve menstrual cramps.
Kampo (traditional Chinese medicine)
We will introduce some three natural drugs (ingredients that make up of Chinese herbal medicines) that relieve menstrual cramps.
Chinese herbal medicines are also available on drugstores, but you may sometimes feel no effects from these medicines even if you properly chose one. It would be better for you consult a physician and ask for an advice about which herbal medicine suits you.
1) Touki (Japanese angelica root)
This herbal medicine promotes blood circulation and is used for curing ailments peculiar to women.
2) Chinese peony
Chinese peony is one of the herbal medicines essential to women. It is used for irregular periods and menstrual cramps.
3) Senkyuu (Szechuan lovage)
This herb promotes blood circulation. It used for relieving irregular periods and menstrual cramps as the herb stimulates the uterus.
Foods to consume for getting rid of body chills
We will introduce 7 foods that you may want to eat regularly for relieving menstrual cramps.
Since these foods promotes blood circulation and increase metabolism, you can expect such effects, as well as getting rid of body chills, by consuming them everyday.
1)Soy products such as tofu, soy milk and natto
Stretches for fixing distortions in the pelvis
We will introduce three stretching exercises to try doing for fixing pelvic distortions, especially for people whose hips are severely distorted.
1) Pelvic twist
Step 1: Stand straight and open your legs across your shoulders
Step 2: Put your hands on your waist and turn your hips left and right for 10 times respectively.
(*Keep in mind not to move your upper body and legs while turning your hips)
1 set consists of turning your hips left and right 10 times each, so you should do 5 to 10 sets of this exercise everyday.
Step 1: Sit on the ground with your feet extended while keeping your back straight, and cross your arms over your chest.
Step 2: Walk forward with your left and right buttocks 10 steps at a time (keep in mind to move your pelvis as when walking).
Step 3: Once you are done, walk backwards with your left and right buttocks 10 steps at a time (do not change the orientation of your body).
Doing the pelvic walk forwards and backwards consists of 1 set of exercise, and let’s do 2 to 3 sets everyday.
Step 1: Lie down on your back and put your arms along your sides (put your palms on the floor).
Step 2: Raise your knees and keep your buttocks (pelvis) raised upward for around 1 minute.
Step 3: After one minute, gently lower down your buttocks and stretch your legs.
Repeat this exercise around three times.
You may also use a pelvic belt as another method of fixing distortions in your pelvis.
4. What are the causes of menstrual cramps?
Menstrual cramps are pain and symptoms caused by uterine contraction and inflammation.
Contraction and inflammation of the uterus is caused by excessive secretion of a hormone called “Prostaglandins E2”.
The excessive secretion is mostly caused by body chills, therefore menstrual cramps symptoms are mostly caused by body chills itself.
Body chills worsens blood circulation, so the functions of the uterus also deteriorate.
If the uterus doesn’t work properly during menstruation, the body secretes the said hormones in large amounts. Excess secretion occurs when the body is desperate to make the uterus work properly.
Pelvic distortion is sometimes said to worsen menstrual symptoms, but it also linked to body chills in the end. Pelvic distortion worsens the circulation of blood around the pelvis; therefore your body cools down.
How menstrual cramps occur?
The female body creates a bed-like object called “endometrium” in the uterus every month in preparation for pregnancy.
If the endometrium doesn’t become implanted on the uterine wall, it becomes useless and is required to be discharged out of a woman’s body.
The discharged product is what we call “menstrual blood.”
What is Prostaglandin E2?
Prostaglandin E2 contracts the uterus to cause menstruation.
Contracting the uterus is necessary in order to get rid of unnecessary lining, so the secretion itself is not a problem.
However, excessive secretion causes the pain.
The degree of pain depends on the amount of prostaglandin E2 secreted, therefore menstrual cramp symptoms and pain vary.
Menstrual cramps are a problem faced by many women with menstruation.
Menstrual cramps symptoms are mostly caused by chills in the body, so you should make warming your body a daily habit in order to prevent worsening of the symptoms.
If the symptoms become chronically severe, or if they get worse monthly, you should better see a gynecologist once.
The information in this article is provided on March 22, 2016 (last update).
Be aware that the effects and results given in this article vary by individual.