Menstrual cramps – probably the only period woe that most females out there have experienced at least once in their lives and hated. If you haven’t had an issue with menstrual cramps before, then you are one lucky girl.
We’ve previously discussed all about periods here. But in spite of its commonness, most people do not know the difference between a normal menstrual cramp, or an abnormal one. In fact, it could be precisely because it is such a common ailment, that women suffering from severe menstrual cramps might think that their suffering is supposed to be normal.
With that being said, let’s shed some light that extremely painful menstrual cramps are not normal, and it could possibly indicate a problem – a problem that may impact your fertility.
Here are 5 telltale signs that your cramps aren’t usual, and their possible reasons. Remember to always seek a doctor if you have any concerns regarding your health.
Sign #1: The usual heat therapy or even medication isn’t enough to relieve your pain.
Some woman may even take higher dosages thinking that it may help alleviate more extreme pains.
Don’t do that.
Yes, paracetamol may be readily available and bought over-the-counter, but that does not mean it’s synonymous with dosage-does-not-matter.
If the recommended dosage is insufficient to cope with the pain, consult a doctor.
Sign #2: Your menstrual cramps interfere with your daily life.
If your cramps are so bad that you have to regularly cancel plans or miss work or school, it isn’t normal. Speak to your doctor.
Sign #3: Your menstrual cramps last more than 2-3 days.
While it’s usual for the bleeding during menstruation to last 2-7 days, it is, however, unusual to experience menstrual cramps for that entire duration.
What then, is considered the ‘norm’ for duration of menstrual cramps? 2-3 days.
Your cramps should start just before your period or continue 1-2 days into your period.
They should, however, not be continuing until your period ends.
Sign #4: Apart from during menstruation, you experience pelvic pain.
Pelvic sensitivity (during ovulation) or discomfort (before or during the first few days of your period) is normal.
However, it is abnormal to experience such pain outside of your menstrual cycle, and such symptoms may suggest other implications, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Sign #5: You experience various other symptoms and you’re worried about it.
If you have a gut feeling that something may be off about your body, chances are that you might be right. However, do not panic and jump into conclusions. Consult a doctor first before starting on any treatments.
Other symptoms of concern could include:
- Extremely irregular cycles
- Excessive bleeding
- Cramps inducing nausea or diarrhoea
Now that you’re aware of some of the symptoms, what now? What could these symptoms possibly mean?
Some possible implications (which we’ll be discussing next week HERE) include:
- Uterine Fibroids
- Copper IUD
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Uterine Defects
- Cervical Stenosis
What can you do?
If you suspect that you’re suffering from any of the above complications, go for a check-up. Your doctor may recommend the following to diagnose the problem:
- A blood test
- A pelvic ultrasound
- A pelvic examination (with STI testing)
- An exploratory laparoscopy
Of these, only exploratory laparoscopy can accurately diagnose for endometriosis. However, it is important to note that this procedure is an invasive surgical-based one, so unless your symptoms are especially bad, most doctors would not recommend this.
Most of the time, when your doctor has given you the clearance from these complications, it is safe to feel reassured.
However, if your symptoms persist and interferes with your personal or work life, do not hesitate to seek a second opinion. These pains could not only be caused by something period-related, but could also indicate possible appendicitis, toxic shock syndrome, or more.
Of course, I hope everything is well for you. Don’t worry too much, and feel free to share this around so that your female peers are more aware of the implications involving menstrual cramps!