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Your period pains explained in simple words

Lady Speak By Esther Muchene

Jahmby Koikai [Photos: Courtesy]

Borrowing inspiration from Jahmby Koikai, this conversation is long overdue.

The media personality who suffers from endometriosis is raising money for treatment in the US to free her from her painful periods which sees her visit the hospital every month.

Studies show that about 50 percent of women experience period pains and 10 percent of those experience severe pains. Period pains usually occur a day or two before menstruation or during menstruation itself. They are characterized by pain in the lower abdomen, lower back or even on the thighs.

To understand, you must differentiate between the two types of period pains.

The first, is primary dysmenorrhea which is pain caused by the menstruation itself. Prostaglandins, the hormone-like substances produced during menstruation cause muscle contractions in the uterus. They are also responsible for cramps which feel like labor pains.

One is also at a higher risk of period cramps if you are younger than 20 years of age or started puberty at 11 years or younger. If you have never given birth, or have a very heavy flow during your period, you also have an increased chance of period pains. Emotional stress is another known contributor of cramps so stay away from triggers that put your body in distress.

The second type of period pains is called secondary dysmenorrhea which refers to pains caused by an existing medical condition. Such conditions include uterine fibroids which are caused by noncancerous tumors and growths in the uterine wall.

Endometriosis is a condition where the inner lining tissue of the uterus develops outside the uterus and is another cause of secondary dysmenorrhea.  Pelvic inflammatory disease, adenomyosis and cervical stenosis are all medical conditions that also cause period pains.

Treatment

You can treat period pains with over the counter medication concentrated with aspirin or paracetamol or you can use home remedies such soaking in a hot bath or using a hot water bottle to apply heat to your lower abdomen. 

Making sure that you are resting well enough and exercising regularly will also reduce the risk of getting period pains.

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