Women who have their menstrual period have most likely experienced having menstrual cramps at one point or another. Menstrual cramping for some may only be mild, but the pain could also be much worse for others.
Experiencing cramps during your period is something that is not unusual, and any woman who has a period can simply suffer from this. Menstrual cramping or dysmenorrhea is something that women may deal with every month when it is time for their period.
Feeling cramps or pain during your periods can possibly become less painful as you get older and can also potentially totally stop when you start to have a baby. Menstrual pain or cramps can definitely be uncomfortable and could get in the way of your daily activities when you have your period, but the good news is that there are ways that can help you relieve its symptoms.
What Causes Menstrual Cramping?
Menstrual cramps occur and are commonly experienced by women during their menstrual periods. It is due to the swelling and contraction of the uterus. Its symptoms usually include the feeling of pressure or pain in the lower back, thighs, or lower abdomen, which are sometimes accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms such as dizziness, loose stool, nausea, or headache.
Though cramps are normal during a period, if you feel that yours is severe, reach out to your doctor so they can assess your condition and make sure that there are no other underlying medical issues and proper treatment may be given.
Feeling pain is typically common among those who have their period. It is part of the cycle in a woman’s body that happens every month when the lining of the uterus builds up to prepare for pregnancy.
When pregnancy takes place, the egg is fertilized and then attaches to the lining where it is nourished and eventually develops to form a baby. If no fertilization happens, there would not be any need for the lining, which would cause it to break down, and a hormone known as prostaglandin is then released.
These hormones provoke muscle contraction. When the muscle contracts and squeezes tightly, oxygen is cut off from the uterus and causes a cramp. The same muscles are the ones that also push a baby out at childbirth.
Those with more prostaglandins tend to experience worse menstrual cramps than others.
What To Do When You Have Menstrual Cramps
When you feel menstrual pain during your period, there are some ways to deal with it that you can always do at home. One of them is taking a warm bath to increase the level of your blood flow and help reduce pain. Other options are lying down with a heating pad or placing a bottle of hot water on your lower body, particularly on the lower abdomen or the stomach. You can always do some exercises before or while you have your period for the prostaglandin to lower down. An unconventional way to remove or lessen the pain which they say is effective is to have sex during your period. Others use birth control pills.
These options normally work to help relieve the pain or cramping during one’s period. However, if it hurts so bad and you feel that the cramp is only getting worse, going to the doctor is definitely the best idea.
Does Using Tampons Make Cramps Worse?
Debates remain on whether the use of tampons actually makes cramps worse. Some believe that when you use a tampon, menstrual cramps get worse while others do not think that the use of tampons makes cramps more painful. Some say that cramps are caused by inserting a tampon because it allows the cervix to hold onto something that leads to tension and therefore causes cramps. These individuals think that since the body is intended to release blood during menstruation, the flow must be continuous, and by plugging a tampon into the vagina, the natural cycle is interrupted.
Those who feel that the use of tampons does not cause cramps or make it worse can attest that tampons do not have anything to do with menstrual cramps. It is because the synthesis process of the prostaglandin does not have a link to this condition.
One brand specifically mentions that the use of tampons does not contribute to or cause painful periods. According to their experience, these cramps occur in another organ, which is certainly much deeper where the tampon can only reach.
While cramps come from the uterus, a tampon simply stays in the vagina therefore there is no connection between the two organs. It is pretty much safe to mention that using a tampon does not affect the level of pain felt during menstruation.
Although using a tampon can add to pain during a period due to other medical issues, such as vulvodynia, which involves having a burning sensation around the clitoris and vaginismus. This condition occurs wherein the pelvic muscles involuntarily clench. Other conditions that may contribute to pain are endometriosis which causes scarring and inflammation when a tampon is inserted into the vagina. This happens because the uterine cells grow out of the uterus. And using the wrong size of a tampon can also cause some pain during insertion. When this happens to you, try to go a size down. So that when you remove it, the cotton will not stick to the vaginal wall.
If you experience pain when you insert a tampon during your period due to these conditions, try using pads instead and also do not use a menstrual cup.
Alternative to Tampons
Those who are sensitive or notice that tampons contribute to their cramps and get it to be more painful during their period can explore other products as an alternative. If they are not comfortable continuing to use tampons, they can try other menstrual products such as a menstrual cup, a sanitary pad, a sponge, or period underwear.
Pads are made of plastic and cloth and effectively absorb the blood. This product will never contribute to the level of pain at all. A menstrual cup, on the other hand, is a reusable product that is inserted into the vagina to get blood. It does not work like a tampon because its wider end expands against the vaginal wall instead.
A natural sea sponge is non-toxic and can be a great alternative as well. Its shape is similar to a tampon and absorbs blood the same way too. If you want an added protection against leaks, get period underwear and wear it along with your preferred menstrual product.
If you still want to use a tampon without experiencing any pain or other symptoms and pretty much have a comfortable feeling on your period, choose those that are made from pure cotton, or those that are unbleached or organic in content.
Now that you know that tampons do not cause pain during menstruation, you may still want to keep using one, especially if you go about your period without a lot of symptoms. Stop using one if your symptoms become severe, and know that there are ways to reduce these symptoms, like through regular exercise or using birth control pills.