Menstrual cramps are an integral part of every woman’s life. They are often very painful, particularly for adolescent girls. In fact, they represent the primary cause of absenteeism for this age group. Do teenage girls who suffer from severe cramps have to endure them, or is there some way to relieve their pain?
Dysmenorrhoea (severe menstrual cramps), is a menstrual disorder that occurs during the first few days of a woman’s menstrual cycles. It is characterized by painful cramps in the lower abdomen, and is sometimes accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness and even fainting. However, because the definition of dysmenorrhoea varies tremendously, it is difficult to establish just how many young women actually suffer from this condition. While some experts consider all menstrual pain as dysmenorrhoea, others reserve this term for extremely painful cramps that cause a woman to be absent from work or school.
A certain level of discomfort is entirely normal when it comes to menstruations. However, when a teenage girl spends the entire day curled up in a little ball, vomits or has diarrhea, it is certainly time to take action to alleviate her discomfort. Moreover, 5 to 10% of women who suffer from severe menstrual pain are in fact suffering from an underlying, treatable gynaecological problem such as uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis for example, which is responsible for their painful cramps. Here is a good reason to consult a physician: when a woman ignores the pain caused by endometriosis, the disease is free to progress to a more advanced stage, and eventually, it can compromise her fertility.
Applying heat, physical exercise and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen are effective means to relieve menstrual cramps. The contraceptive pill is also a safe medical treatment option that generally helps decrease the intensity of menstrual cramps, in addition to reducing menstrual flow.
When menstruations become a hindrance in a woman’s daily activities, it is high time to act. There is no need to suffer silently that many days each and every month. Your health professionals are there to help you!