Why do period cramps happen?
Almost all women have experienced the cramps that come with their period at some point in their life. They can range from mild twinges or aches, through to debilitating cramps that last for days and mean you can do little more than lie in bed. But why do cramps happen and can products like the menstrual cup help to alleviate them?
What is period pain?
Also known as dysmenorrhea, period cramps tend to happen anytime after ovulation as the egg travels down the fallopian tube. The feeling often occurs in the lower tummy region and can involve cramping, headaches, vomiting and dizziness. Sometimes these cramps can be caused by a secondary condition such as endometriosis.
The cause is likely to be the mix of hormones that occur during a period that cause the uterus to contract - similar to when giving birth. The blood flow to the uterus is also limited adding to the discomfort. The uterus is cramping to encourage the lining to shed away and move through the body. For some women this is hardly felt, for others (especially younger women and those who have not given birth) the process can be very painful indeed.
Treating period pain
Period pain can be treated through the use of over the counter medicines like painkillers or those designed especially for the condition. Ibuprofen is thought to work better than paracetamol for this type of cramping pain. Some women find that massage, a warm bath, heat applied to the stomach region or exercise can help. Taking a hormone contraception such as the pill or certain types of IUDs can also help diminish the pain.
Why does the menstrual cup help with period pain?
Some women find that using the menstrual cup can help with their painful periods. While there are no physiological reasons for this, it is thought that the more relaxed and easy your period, the less likely you are to experience the pain as negative. There is also less irritation to your vagina than you get from tampons, which can dry out the skin and leaving you feeling more uncomfortable.
It is also thought that the blood is allowed to flow more freely leaving less to become trapped higher up where it can irritate the cervix. The sideways expansion of tampons could also add to this irritation and discomfort.
So it seems that simply being more relaxed about your period could really help and the menstrual cup is the perfect way to get that positivity back.