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MENSTRUAL CRAMPS: UGH. . .WHY DO I GET THEM ANYWAY?

Menstrual cramps. . . ugh!  Never in the history of mankind has a woman truly enjoyed having menstrual cramps- unless it gets her out of going to work. . .or something else (wink, wink). So, why do you get menstrual cramps anyway?  Yes, there is a scientific reason why women get them. Here are the basics:

Dysmenorrhea

[dis-men-uh-ree-uh] is the scientific name for menstrual cramps.  There are two types of dysmenorrhea:

  • Primary dysmenorrhea: There is no specific pelvic disease causing your menstrual cramps.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea: You have an identifiable reason for the menstrual cramps (such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids).

So, there is an identifiable (and treatable) reason for secondary dysmenorrhea, but why does a woman get PRIMARY dysmenorrhea?

  1. Your body releases a hormone-like substance called “Prostaglandins”.
  2. Prostaglandins cause your uterus to contract (meaning clamp down).
  3. When your uterus clamps down, the uterine blood flow is interrupted.
  4. The interruption in blood flow cuts off uterine oxygenation, ultimately resulting in pain.  (Just like a person gets chest pain if blocked vessels starve portions of the heart of oxygen, a women gets lower abdominal pain when the blood flow to her uterus is cut off.)

It all starts with those Prostaglandins! What some solutions?  Check out my next blog post! #DrNita

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