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OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson describes how during menses, the lining of the uterus is expelled through a series of contractions, ...
which can sometimes be painful.
Tags:Causes and Treatment for Painful Menstrual Cramps,causes of cramps,Dr. Lisa Masterson,menstrual cycle effects,period effects,the doctors,TheDoctors,womens health,Menstrual Cramps
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Lisa: Tell me exactly though what’s going on with you and do you have this pain when you’re not having your period or only when having your period?
Female: Mainly when I’m having my period, sometimes I do get them when I do not have my period but I just need to know if there are any easy solutions to prevent such horrible cramps.
Lisa: Well you’re in luck. There’s lots and lots of solutions. We’re going to make it better so that you don’t have to miss work or things that you consider fun and that’s when periods become -- the cramps become abnormal, if they’re interfering with your daily life. And basically cramps are caused by something called prostaglandins. What happens when you have your period is the lining of the uterus is shed and we’re going to use this -- to show you how the uterus contracts.
Usually it’s nice and small and it just contracts a little bit, it will go out to shed their linings, the little lining of the uterus will come out and that releases something called prostaglandins and these prostaglandins are what cause pain. But it’s also a little bit like a Charlie horse in your ankle. If you have a cramp and a muscle when it contracts like that, it also presses on the vessels which don’t have oxygen and that again causes pain as well, so we want to take that away.
There are a lot of different ways to do that but first we have to find out if it’s just cramps because if it’s just cramps which we call primary dysmenorrhea or if it’s cramps due to something else, which we call secondary dysmenorrhea and that something else can be endometriosis, adenomyosis and endometriosis, a lot of women are like, “What is that word?” It sounds like a scary word, right? But endometriosis is when that lining of the uterus, when it comes down, implants somewhere else in the pelvis.
Now this can be anywhere. It can be on the outside of the uterus, it can be on the ovary and when this sometimes becomes a cyst, we call it a chocolate cyst endometriosis and that can also cause pain with cramps and pain other times as well. Adenomyosis is when the lining of the uterus actually embeds within the muscle of the uterus and you can see that would also cause pain as well. And that’s a little trickier to cure than endometriosis. Also pelvic inflammatory disease, infections, there are many other causes for pains during periods but treatments wise, just for cramps, anti-prostaglandins like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills which are ibuprofen, you would try it and the trick, the trick here ladies is to start before you actually get your period, one or two days before you get your period because once the prostaglandins are released, the anti-prostaglandins aren’t going to work.
So a lot of people don’t start until they already have their period and already have the cramps. Taking away that period, getting on a hormone pill that takes away your period, Depo-Provera, things like that, they don’t just keep you from not having periods at all or other continuous hormone therapy. And then hormones just snub themselves because sometimes stopping the ovulation will also stop the bad cramps as well. So those are options that you can talk to your doctor about and then if they persist after those, you might need to get an ultrasound by your doctor or other procedures to try and find out what the other causes might be.
Does that make more sense?
Lisa: Something you want to try?
Female: Yes, I definitely think that there are some easy solutions in there.