Dysmenorrhoea is the medical term for menstrual cramps and is quite a common problem especially for teenage girls and women in their early twenties. The estimates for women suffering from dysmenorrhoea range anywhere from 50% to 90% of women. However even though the primary cause of this condition remains vastly unclear some theorize that it may be related to the build up of prostaglandins during the end of the cycle which causes uterine contractions. Secondary dysmenorrhoea is something of a medical condition.
The Incidence of Dysmenorrhoea in Young Women
Age is definitely a factor in instances of menstrual cramps with the highest incidences of this being seen in women who are in their teens and early twenties. However the frequency of crams and the pain associated with it tends to decrease with age with the majority of women reporting that cramps either stop or lessen after the birth of their first child. The severity of these crams does vary from one person to another if a woman's life is disrupted from 2 to 4 days each month.
Secondary dysmenorrhoea is a medical symptom and so it should be treated as such by a professional. The possible causes of this condition may include uterine disease, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammation, endometriosis, the use of birth control devices, fibroids, tumours, and irritation as a result of tampons. Around 70% of the menstrual cramps experienced by women are a result of primary dysmenorrhoea but a worsening of the pain which extends beyond the menses period should be reported to your doctor.
Diagnosing of Primary Dysmenorrhoea
Women who experience severe cramps which disrupt their lives for over 2 days every month should consider seeing a doctor in order to rule out these medical conditions. The diagnosis of primary dysmenorrhoea can only be made once a doctor rules out all possible causes of menstrual cramps. If the doctor finds no explanation for the cramps, increasing physical exercise, reducing weight and treatment using heat therapy with good wheat bags or microwavable hot bottles is recommended to reduce the severity of menstrual pains.
Treating Primary Dysmenorrhoea Using Heat Therapy
The most effective and probably the oldest ways of treating menstrual cramps is to simply lie down on a flat surface with your legs elevated and apply some heat to the lower abdomen. Microwave heat pads and wheat bags can also be used for this therapy. The warmth works by relaxing the muscles which helps to ease the pain from menstrual cramps. Items such as wheat bags, microwave heat pads, and hot bottles can prove to be inexpensive, holistic and a great way to relieve menstrual cramps.
Menstrual cramps prevention
Patients who are otherwise obese or who tend to live a somewhat sedentary lifestyle are the ones who report a higher incidence of very severe menstrual cramps as compared to women who eat a healthy diet and also get regular exercise. Many doctors believe that it is inactivity and obesity which contributes towards the severity of menstrual cramps. However losing weight as well as getting some physical exercise may also assist in relieving some symptoms of primary dysmenorrhoea but it will not completely prevent these menstrual cramps.
While there are quite a few treatments for menstrual cramps and its pain the majority of them involve the use of chemical products which of course has some side effects. However no steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have proven to be somewhat effective at relieving pain from these cramps. The problem is that there are often a number of adverse effects which could cause long term issues. Some doctors also prescribe birth control pills, and hormonal contraceptives. But there are also side effects to these, plus women who are over 35 and smoke are strongly advised not to take birth control pills for very long. But heat therapy is something which will work and has no side effects either long or short term. Since stress is known to be a contributor towards menstrual cramps heat pad or a hot bottle can be used to relieve the pain and stress.
Heat is an excellent choice for relieving pain and discomfort as a result of menstrual cramps. According to the Mayo Clinic heat may be as effective if not more at relieving menstrual cramps as medication is but minus the side effects. Using heat therapy such as with a microwavable wheat bag or heat pad can help to relieve cramps for many hours. This also helps increase your circulation which in turn brings vital nutrients and oxygen to the tissues around the area of the ovaries and uterus.