Menstrual pains: causes and remedies

Menstrual pains: causes and remedies

Cramping pain which can also be associated, in severe cases, with nausea, intense sweating, dizziness. Let's find out with the expert what are the causes and how to calm menstrual pain

Women know it well: menstrual pains return with cyclicality monthly and are felt. However, if for some the symptoms do not cause particular problems and can be alleviated by following good habits or by undertaking therapies (such as a magnesium-based supplement) when indicated by their gynecologist, for others the situation is different.

In some cases, in fact, menstrual pain can be debilitating and compromise everyday activities. This is the case of secondary dysmenorrhea (medical term used to indicate the pain associated with the arrival of menstruation) and where the symptoms are actually linked to actual pathologies.

So what to do to calm menstrual pain, but above all what are the triggering causes? These and other questions are answered by Dr. Elisabetta Colonese, Surgeon, specialized in Gynecology and Obstetrics, Therapy of Infertility for Couples.


  • What are they due to
  • How to counter them
  • How to act to calm them down
  • Pain before the arrival of your period or during
  • Painful ovulation

What are they due to

«Menstrual pains (dysmenorrhea) can have anatomical, paraphysiological and pathological causes. Specifically, primary dysmenorrhea has paraphysiological causes (ed. Linked to conditions that do not fall within the parameters of "normality" but which at the same time do not represent a pathology), while secondary dysmenorrhea is linked to the presence of some pathologies such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, vaginal infections.

Primary dysmenorrhea is more common in very young girls, while secondary dysmenorrhea is more common in women between the ages of 30 and 40. At the base of both dysmenorrhea there is always a contraction mechanism of the uterus promoted by prostaglandins, that is, molecules associated with inflammation ".

When the contractions are very intense, the prostaglandins narrow the blood vessels that supply the uterus, depriving it of oxygen for a short period of time. In the absence of oxygen, the uterine tissue releases certain chemicals that cause the onset of pain typical of dysmenorrhea and also other substances including the prostaglandins themselves, which further stimulate muscle contraction and increase the sensation of pain.

How to counter them

"Generally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, which block the production of prostaglandins. Magnesium therapies are also indicated, which I usually make my patients take 5 days before and during their period, but in severe cases even for longer periods. Ok also to therapies with palmitoylethanolamide, a natural anti-inflammatory that I take for 3 months in a row, every day. If these drugs do not have an effect, codeine and naproxen can be prescribed, or the patient can be proposed to take the estrogen-progestogen pill, which gives excellent results in case of dysmenorrhea ".

Magnesium is a mineral involved in various reactions that take place in our body. In fact, its adequate intake is associated with a lower risk of developing osteoporosis in women. In addition, it supports the immune system and contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system. Furthermore, according to several studies, taking magnesium would improve symptoms related to PMS.

How to act to calm them down

"Good rules to put in place to calm menstrual pains are: avoid smoking, exercise, place something hot on the stomach (such as a hot water bottle), do a circular massage on the lower part of the belly, practice yoga and pilates ».

Contrary to what one might think, sport (in particular some activities) brings many benefits to the body and mind, even in case of menstrual pain. Yoga, for example, promotes digestion, improves balance, posture and flexibility of the body. Furthermore, it helps to better manage emotions and promotes a state of relaxation that can last over time if you practice some exercises regularly.

Pain before the arrival of your period or during

"Among the typical symptoms of menstrual pain is cramping pain, where moments of greater suffering alternate with those of lesser intensity. Pain can also be associated, in severe cases, with nausea, vomiting, dizziness, intense sweating, diarrhea, and can also extend to the back and legs. In the case of primary dysmenorrhea, pain generally begins 1-2 days before the period and lasts 12-62 hours. Secondary dysmenorrhea, on the other hand, involves pains that can begin long before the menstrual cycle and that can last even longer. The pains may also not be associated with the symptoms described above, precisely because at the base there is an anatomical or pathological pathology that causes greater uterine contraction and greater pelvic inflammation, as can happen in the case of uterine fibroids or endometriosis ".

Generally, with the passing of the years and with the first pregnancy, dysmenorrhea relieves a little. In fact, gestation stretches and destroys some nerve fibers of the uterine tissue in its physiological distension.

Painful ovulation

"Painful ovulation has several hypotheses behind it. The most accredited are: either that the follicle stretches the ovarian surface causing pain, or that there is an abdominal irritation of the follicular fluid (the one that is inside the bursting follicle) mixed with the blood of the peritoneum (the sheet that covers the belly organs). Another hypothesis sees the contraction of the tubes as the cause of painful ovulation. Painful ovulation can last a few minutes, as well as 48 hours. It is also very common as an average of 1 in 5 women suffer from it.

Things to do in this case: start with natural methods such as mallow, chamomile, hot water bottle, a suitable diet that includes the exclusion of tea, chocolate, dairy products, yeasts. If all these precautions do not work, we switch to taking the pill that does not make you ovulate, so the problem is rooted at the base.

In the case of primary dysmenorrhea I recommend a visit with an attached transvaginal ultrasound. In the case of secondary dysmenorrhea, on the other hand, in addition to the visit with ultrasound, I recommend associating – depending on the case – exams such as hysteroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, laparoscopy to investigate any pathologies that may be behind it "concludes the expert.

As we have seen, menstrual pains are very common and can sometimes give a hard time also due to their intensity. In case of less intense pain, it can be remedied by following some precautions, otherwise it is good to contact your gynecologist to ask for a personalized consultation.

Tag: Menstrual cycle

Category: Health
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