Period pain (also known as dysmenorrhoea) is a common PMS symptom associated with the menstrual cycle which often occurs around two days before your period commences.
Different people can experience period pain in different ways, with pain ranging from mild to severe. Common symptoms of period pain include aching, cramping or heaviness, particularly within the lower part of the abdomen, lower back and legs.
There are two types of period pain: Primary dysmenorrhoea and Secondary dysmenorrhoea.
Primary dysmenorrhoea is the most common type of period pain. Typically, the pain has a regular pattern, begins just before or as the period begins and usually lasts one to three days.
This is caused by natural compounds called ‘prostaglandins’ are the cause of primary dysmenorrhoea. Prostaglandins play an active role in regulating the menstrual cycle, with the most notable role being triggering the muscles in the uterus to contract and expel the uterus lining causing your menstrual period. If your levels of prostaglandins are too high, you may experience excessive abdominal cramping which is stronger and more painful than normal menstrual cramping, and/or excessive menstrual bleeding.
Secondary dysmenorrhoea is caused by an underlying reproductive disorder such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or fibroids.
- Endometriosis is a condition in which the cells that normally line the uterus (the endometrium) throughout the body in areas outside of the uterus
- Adenomyosis is a condition in which the cells that normally line the uterus (the endometrium) also grow in the muscle wall of the uterus
- Pelvic Inflammatory disease occurs when an infection spreads from the vagina to the upper reproductive organs
- Fibroids are non-cancerous lumps or growths of muscle tissue that form within the walls of the uterus
Unfortunately, there is no easy way of discerning which type of dysmenorrhoea you may be experiencing immediately without reviewing your symptoms and medical history. This may be completed with a specialised women’s health general practitioner (GP). If you would to explore this further, please contact Ignite Athlete.