Most women experience what is known as dysmenorrhea or menstrual cycle cramps from time to time. These menstrual cycle cramps are a common cause for women to seek out medical attention because the pain that comes from these menstrual cycle cramps can easily range from very mild to very severe, and they can span the lower abdomen and back, and even into the thighs as well. In addition to menstrual cycle cramps, you may also experience nausea, headaches, fainting, dizziness, constipation or diarrhea in conjunction with your cramping.
During your menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus is going to produce a hormone that is known as prostaglandin. This hormone is responsible for causing the uterus to contract, and it is often painful in the process. Women that experience severe menstrual cycle cramps may be experiencing these greater than normal cramps as a result of higher than typical amounts of prostaglandin in the body, or they may simply be abnormally sensitive to the effects of the hormone on the body.
These menstrual cycle cramps are especially common in your teen years, as this is when you first begin to experience menstrual cycles, or periods. The term Primary Dysmenorrhea is used in order to describe painful menstrual cycle cramps that have no perceptible physical cause. This disorder is diagnosed most commonly in women between 20 years and 24 years of age, and it typically has gone away within one or two years, after hormonal balance has occurred.
Another term that you need to know is Secondary Dismenorrhea, which is a term that is used to describe the painful menstrual cycle cramps that are caused by some physical problem that is separate from the menstruation. There are a number of physical problems capable of causing this form of cramping, including non cancerous growths, endometriosis, infections in the pelvic area, the use of an IUD or intrauterine device, problems resulting from pregnancy and structural problems that were present during birth, also known as congenital birth defects.
There are also cramps that resemble menstrual cycle cramps that are capable of occurring following a medical procedure.Some examples of medical procedures that may cause cramps similar to menstrual cycle cramps are cautery, conization, cryotherapy, radiation, IUD insertion and endometrial biopsy.
When you experience other symptoms of menstruation, such as headache, weight gain and head tension occurring before your period actually begins, these are likely the result of PMS, which stands for premenstrual syndrome. There are medications and treatments that you can make use of in order to lessen the symptoms experienced during pre-menstruation and menstruation. If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms that are atypical of menstruation, or if you are experiencing menstrual cycle cramps that are severe, consult a family physician or gynecologist for advice.