Many women of reproductive age experience pain and discomfort before and during the first days of periods. If the pain is mild and doesn’t interfere with your normal activities, it can be deemed normal. But if the pain and cramping become unbearable and you can’t get up to go to work or school, it can be a sign of some serious problem.
Pain during periods is called dysmenorrhea. It can be primary (mild and naturally-occurring) and secondary (severe and caused by some underlying conditions). Women with secondary dysmenorrhea usually have to take high doses of painkillers to ease their pain. But it can be more beneficial to define the exact cause of their pain and undergo proper treatment for dysmenorrhea. In this article, we have gathered four gynecological conditions that can make your periods extremely painful.
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the inner lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) starts to overgrow and spread to the pelvic organs. As a result, pelvic organs can become attached to each other. In some women, endometriosis can develop asymptomatically while in others, it can cause the following symptoms:
Lower back pain
Pain during sex
Severe pain and cramps during periods
Intermenstrual bleeding (spotting)
Heavy blood flow during periods
Unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis. However, there are surgical and non-surgical treatment options that can help ease the symptoms of endometriosis. Some treatment options like conservative surgery can even boost your chances to get pregnant with endometriosis.
Adenomyosis is a condition in which the endometrium starts to grow in the muscle wall of the uterus. This disorder causes the uterine walls to thicken and the blood vessels to deform. This leads to heavy and painful periods, discomfort during sexual intercourse, and infertility.
Many people confuse endometriosis and adenomyosis. But endometriosis is not the same as adenomyosis. However, women with adenomyosis may also have or develop endometriosis. Adenomyosis can also be treated with the help of medications and/or surgery.
3. Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) growths that develop on the walls of the uterus. Even though fibroids are quite common, many women don’t know that they gave fibroids since they can develop without any severe symptoms. However, some women with uterine fibroids can have:
Lower back pain
Pain and bleeding during sex
Heavy and painful periods
Uterine fibroids can be easily removed by a gynecologist. But some doctors recommend watchful waiting instead of removal if fibroids don’t cause any symptoms. In many cases, fibroids disappear on their own during menopause.
4. Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the inflammation of the female reproductive organs. It usually happens when infection from your vaginal area affects your uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. Symptoms of PID include fever, pelvic pain, pain during periods, abnormal vaginal discharge, and spotting.
However, some women have no signs or symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease at all. This means that you may not be aware that you have it until you have difficulty getting pregnant or experience chronic pelvic pain. That’s why it is better to undergo a gynecological exam and treat all the infections in time.
The bottom line
It is essential to understand that you are the only person who can improve your health. If you want to make your periods less painful, you need to contact your gynecologist for a thorough examination. This can help you improve the quality of your life and make periods more comfortable.