How painful are period cramps, according to science?

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Ever wondered what menstrual pain feels like?

Every woman who has completed her adolescence and who isn’t experiencing menopause goes through a monthly round of vaginal bleeding called menstruation.

The society shrouds menstruation in secrecy; it is regarded as uncouth to talk about menstruating. The word “hysteria” even has its roots in the Greek word for uterus.

Painful periods are known as dysmenorrhea. The suffering that women experience during their monthly period is not only dismissed by men in their lives but even by doctors.

The first to three days of menstruation are usually very painful, but the pain subsides as the uterine wall sheds further. The uterus is a muscle that contracts and relaxes during period cramps.

This is how painful periods can be:

  1. Heart attack: 

Professor of reproductive health at University College London, John Guillebaud, says some patients have said that the discomfort from cramps is “almost as bad as having a heart attack.

Healthline describes period pain as:

2. Sharp poking

3. Cramping similar to a muscle pull or dislocation.

4. A painful stomach ache is similar to other types of stomach pain, like a stomach virus, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.

The pain is often accompanied by other problems like:

  1. Diarrhoea or loose bowel movements
  2. Constipation
  3. Headaches
  4. Nausea
  5. Bloating
  6. Vomiting
  7. Back ache
  8. Upper-thigh cramps

If the pain is so severe, a woman should see a doctor, as it could be a symptom of a greater problem that may lead to infertility.

ALSO READ: Is it normal for menstrual blood to have a bad odour?

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Finally, women should not be shamed for having painful periods by society neither should their pain be minimised as an overreaction.

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