Types of cramps During and before her period, a woman may experience a variety of aches and pains. The most common are menstrual cramps —the medical name is dysmenorrhea. Many women have no cramps at all, others get slight pain. But some women have cramps that are so painful that it interferes with their daily lives. There are different kinds of cramps: A little discomfort —like a muscle cramp or spasm. Once you realize that it's a menstrual cramp, it doesn't really bother you Intense pain —this may be a sharp pain that causes you to double up or cry out Pain that spreads —starting in the lower abdomen, radiating up your back and down your legs, or centering in your lower back Pain accompanied by dizziness or nausea, diarrhea or vomiting If you have slight discomfort, intense, short pain, or pain that spreads, you might be able to receive cramp relief. If you suffer from dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting, or if you experience intense pain that won't go away, see a doctor. What you can do to receive cramp relief There are many ways to receive cramp relief. The trick is to find one that works for you. Try: Lying down if possible at the first sign of pain Gently rubbing your abdomen Mild exercise and stretching (see below) Taking pain medication containing ibuprofen Exercises to receive cramp relief If you exercise all month, you will help your body keep from having cramps. Light exercise during your period will help to ease the heavy, bloated (puffy) feeling. Workouts that stretch your body are best. Here are a few exercises that are great for cramp relief: Sit on the floor, legs as far apart as you can get them. Hold your toes if you can, or clasp your ankles lightly. Keep your back straight and breathe in, holding your diaphragm (the muscle under your ribs) up and in. Holding this position, take a few deep breaths. As you breathe out for the last time, bend forward towards the floor and exhale. Sit with your knees open and bent at the sides, with the soles of your feet together in front of your crotch. Clasp your hands under your toes or hold your ankles. Press the soles of your feet together and breathe in, deeply expanding your chest and lifting your diaphragm, as described above. Raise your head a little and feel your stomach expand. Breathe in and out deeply into your stomach four or five times. Lie on your back with one leg stretched out, and pull the other knee up to your chin. Clasp your knee with your arms to ease the strain and then hold the posture, relaxing for a few minutes. If you get pain all of a sudden, or notice a change in your periods, you should contact a doctor. Causes of pain during your period If a woman doesn't become pregnant during her cycle, the lining of the uterus (endometrium) breaks down and hormones are released. These hormones, prostaglandins, tell the muscles of the uterus to squeeze the lining out. These muscles are the same ones that push a baby out during childbirth, so they are very strong. Some women may have a lot of prostaglandin, which makes their muscles squeeze faster and harder. It's believed that this is why we get cramps. What a doctor would do for cramp relief:
Hormone treatments —some doctors give patients birth control pills to keep them from ovulating. If you don't ovulate, you probably won't get cramps. Anti-prostaglandins —t hese are drugs that reduce the effect of prostaglandins (the hormones mentioned above), and a doctor may prescribe them for you. Surgery —in an extreme case, for example, when severe cramps are caused by endometriosis, a doctor may perform surgery with a laser.
Read about cramp relief and learn helpful tips for dealing with your period from BeingGirl.