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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Pain Pain Arrow to Menstrual Cramps Menstrual Cramps

woman suffering pain caused by menstrual crampsMenstrual pain is characterized by pain in the lower abdomen of women, typically either preceding the monthly menstruation period or accompanying menstruation.

The pain can vary wildly, both in severity and type, with sharp pain, throbbing pain, and shooting pain all being common.

Minor pain during menstruation is relatively common, however more severe pain, pain that prompts the use of medication or limits daily activities, may be diagnosed as the medical condition dysmenorrhea, which affects roughly one in seven women.

What causes menstrual cramps?

Menstrual pain is caused by the release of prostaglandins, potent chemicals in the body that also help induce labor. The prostaglandins cause the uterine muscles to contract, which cuts off the blood supply to the tissue that has built up for a potential upcoming pregnancy. It is these uterine muscle contractions which are responsible for menstrual pain.

Other symptoms which may accompany menstrual pain are vomiting, fatigue, headaches, and diarrhea. Sometimes, menstrual pain is also associated with excess blood loss during menstruation.

Treatment options

There are many different treatment options available for menstrual pain. It has been shown that one of the underlying causes of menstrual pain is an imbalance between anti-inflammatory compounds and pro-inflammatory compounds in the body.

The best way to correct this imbalance is to increase the intake of a natural anti-inflammatory, omega 3 fatty acids, the best source of which is flax oil. Other natural supplements that have been shown to have a significant positive effect on menstrual pain are vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc, and vitamin B1, which was, in a research study, shown to essentially be a cure for almost ninety percent of those experiencing dysmenorrhea.

Anti-inflammatory drugs are also useful in treating menstrual pain, and there are also several non-drug treatment methods that are effective, such as acupuncture, or home care techniques such as applying warm compresses to the abdomen to help relieve the discomfort of cramping.

More about menstrual cramp relief & remedies around the Web:


Puberty and Menstrual Cycles: Menstrual Cramps - Here's a teen-friendly guide to menstrual periods with information on associated pain and cramping, including suggested medications and natural remedies.

7 Natural Menstrual Cramp Remedies...Period! - Learn more about suggested vitamins, herbs and holistic approaches.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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