Menstrual Cramp, Dysmenorrhea, and Everything In Between

in StemSocial2 months ago

Not everyone has this experience, but there are a few people who would have to go through this phase within 3 to 5 days monthly. 84.1% of us usually have this, 43.1% usually have this monthly and 41% gets this periodically.(NCBI).

As a lady, I have to through this every month, and a lot of ladies also have this experience. Within the period of 5 days, it looks like hell breaks loose, and I am in the middle of wildfire and hurricane in my lower abdomen. I won't be able to do my activities, in some cases, I would have to use heat pads, and even rigorous exercises wouldn't save me. You see, it is a different thing to know there is something wrong, and it is another thing to know what could be the cause of the wrong.

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Before I continue,let me let you in, on the fact that I have been to the hospital severally, and even when I have ibuprofen has been prescribed, it just creats a minor pain relief and not a major one.

Dysmenorrhea is most times not understood by the masculine gender first-hand except theoretically, but as a female, it is worth researching on. While menstruation do not affect the functionality of the person, when it has to do with dysmenorrhea, it can lead to an entirely bad day. So let us first start with knowing the beginning.

The Cycle Species

Humans just like a few mammals have menstruations in common. Mammals including Bats, Apes, Monkeys, and Elephant shrews are the known mammals. The days differ with these animals as some have their menstrual cycle with 24 to 37 days in Primates, 21 to 33 days in bats. While there are many animals bleed, not all of them have a menstrual cycle. Some have what is known as Oestrous Cycle, like it is common with Dogs, Horses, Cows, and so on. It is also known as Heat period.(Yourkaya).

From experience, I would tell you that the human menstrual cycle is within 28–29 days betterhealth, but it could vary from person to person. While this task is a very vigorous and uncomfortable one for the body, according to peertechz publications, females within the age of 14 years and 55 years do this on a monthly basis after which menopause kicks in.

According to cleveland clinic, it is the shedding of the lining of the endometrium (which would include blood, mucus, and cells from the lining of the uterus) from the body.

It Rains For a Reason

Have you wondered why women menstruate? While we all know that it is the elimination of the thickened lining of the endometrium, we need to understand why women see their period. In 1993, Margie Profet wrote in the journal published on The University of Chicago Press that menstruation serves as cleansing/defence against pathogen transmitted by sperm. Personally, I do not agree with this, as even ladies who haven't had any penetrations, do menstruate. Also, the blood from the menstruation is Iron rich, which supports the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. According to The evolution of menstruation: A new model for genetic assimilation, the placenta, which nourishes the foetus, directly flows into the mother's circulatory system. In other mammals that do not menstruate, the placenta is outside the endometrial stroma and most mammals can expel their foetus, thereby determining how their foetus gets nutrients. Menstruation: a non-adaptive consequence of uterine evolution confirms that the embryo embed itself in the endometrium, and since the lining gets thick to allow a healthy environment for fertilization. Anytime there is no fertilization during ovulation, the endometrium lining is depleted alongside with the dead embryo that didn't get fertilized.

When Normalty comes with Pain

We know that humans have a menstrual cycle which happens monthly, but most of us feel lots of pain in the process.The severity of this pain differ but dysmenorrhea becomes a thing when the severity is high as a result of hypersecretion of prostaglandins as well as increased uterine contractility. (Dysmenorrhea and related disorders).

According to a the journal on Dysmenorrhea and related disorders,the there are two classes of Dysmenorrhea; primary dysmenorrhea, in which the pains and cramps are felt in the pelvic organs prior to menstruation and a few days after the menstruation begins. This could be regarded as normal, but often associated with low standard of living. Secondary dysmenorrhea, is a more severe pain which be as a result of diseases such as endometriosis and adenomyosis.

Endometriosis is associated with women in their reproductive age, and it is a chronic gynaecological disease where the endometrial tissues are present outside the uterus, leading to very heightened pain. Patients with Endometriosis are often suffering from infertility, as most times, clinicians find out during infertility tests. It is also associated with short menstrual cycle, which could be an early way to identify Endometriosis. (NCBI).

With Adenomyosis,the endometrial tissue grows not just outside the uretus, but forms a thick wall, which thickens and sheds during cycle. It could result in abnormal uterine bleeding and in cases where the endometrial tissues have fully developed with severity, hysterectomy is often required.

Repairable/Damaged Beyond Repair

Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, hysterectomy will be needed in severe cases, but while this is a good way to save a life, it could mean that the patient won't have a womb.

In my case, after lots of visitation to the hospital, I am told to take Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and not paracetamol, Since the pain isn't monthly (although the months I go through this pain, it can be very serious). According to an article on Dysmenorrhea and related disorders, Oral contraceptive is another way to prevent endometrial proliferation, but a research, published on plog.org shows that a very low percentage of young women in low and medium income countries do not use this, for the purpose of fertility. While I go through this monthly, I hope I do not have any reason to suffer Endometriosis or any other worse disease. It could affect my life activities and quality of life.

Conclusion

While moderate pain and cramps during menstruation is normal, dysmenorrhea is the complete opposite of it. It can be very painful and knowing that it occurs as a result of underlying diseases which could be as a result of the endometrial tissue and the uterus, makes it very scary. From my research, all method of treatment, except using Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are in one way or the other affecting the reproductive ability of women. It would be good to see new researches which will be targetting treatment without causing a reduction/elimination, in the possibility of reproduction in the patient.

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In 1993, Margie Profet wrote in the journal published on The University of Chicago Press that menstruation serves as cleansing/defence against pathogen transmitted by sperm. Personally, I do not agree with this, as even ladies who haven't had any penetrations, do menstruate.

Well adaptations happen to what has commonly been the environment in the past, not necessarily to what is actually the environment right now. If most women were expected to be having sex by a given age, then menstruation could evolve for the reason Profet stated, thought admittedly it does sound a bit far fetched, and at any rate would only be part of the answer.

That is something that bothers lots of woman! Thanks for bringing it!
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This is a detailed explanation on this topic, I use to have a smooth ride with the menstrual journey ooo until recently when it started coming with intense pain, chai hope I don't have any disease ooo. I should write about the experience soon. Cheers girl, this is a good one.

Thanks a lot oluwatobiloba. that makes it two of us, passing through the same journey. you should go to the hospital my my friend.

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Did you know that in some European countries, they are discussing the possibility to allow women to be on leave from work when menstrual pain is at stake. For now, those things are far from being the norm, but at least it is discussed. As usual, you have people for it and against it, and the debate is often getting crazy...

Thanks a lot Lemouth for reading. I start to wonder why people have to put some of these important issues up for long debates. Adding a 3-5 days leave for women during these period isn't bad, although, it has its downs. Not all women have their menstrual cycle fixed, and this can be very disturbing.

I honestly do not know what to think about this. I can easily consider that leaving the option open and to be discussed on a case-by-case basis could work out, provided everyone is honest. However, this is not necessarily the case, as always as when we deal with humans ;)

People's perception of pain is very different and subjective.
I see menstrual pains in the context of how I personally deal with them. As a woman, I can say that I experienced the pain as less unpleasant or tormenting when I was distracted by other events. Which was also related to mentality, such as how much I accepted or rejected my pain.

For example, if I was on a journey that demanded all my energy (such as a hike on foot where I could not afford to take a break), I had to push the pain aside in order to complete the task. If I stopped thinking about it, i.e. accepted that it hurt, the pain became less or even disappeared.
In the same way, I had less menstrual pains when I was newly in love and felt euphoria. In relation to my subjective feeling of happiness, the pain was rather irrelevant. Joyful events have an influence on the subjective feeling of pain and reduce it, unpleasant events can increase pain.

From my point of view, there is no reason to worry if the pain comes and then goes again in the normal cycle. In other words, it is temporary and does not last beyond the period. The intensity of the pain can vary for these reasons.

Only if I was having a bad time anyway, had been plagued by other problems or anxieties, did this also increase my menstrual pains.