3 Reasons Why Am I Cramping so Bad?

Ah, finally! You are having the most wonderful day of the week but suddenly something kicks you hard, hard enough to topple you over, and all you can do is sit down and feel severe pain and look at the calendar in front of you.

Suddenly you come to your senses and realize it’s “Code Red“. The day to welcome your monthly friends, “Periods and menstrual cramps”, and suddenly, you have your answer to, “Why am I cramping so bad?”

Oh, menstrual cramps. Well, if you have complained about the aches and pains of your period to your bestie then you’re one among us. If you haven’t then you are rare, you could note that down somewhere. Always it pops up, one way or the other while you are having a conversation. Well, people often talk about this but probably still many are unaware of what’s considered normal. Surprising, isn’t it?

Well, society has made us consider that periods are always painful, and this impression has led us to consider “painful periods” as a norm. While you are on your period, discomfort isn’t an option and isn’t uncommon, especially in your adolescence. Discomfort and aches near your pelvis are found in about half of the people who have their periods.

It’s important to realize that bad and unbearable menstrual cramps are not normal. Severe period cramps can say a lot, it is an indication of an alert. Alert that you have a problem–a problem that can have a long-term effect on your body and fertility.

This article covers three signs that indicate that your painful cramps 1are not ordinary and why you’re cramping so badly. If you are experiencing these, grab your phone and without any delay call your family doctor. The same goes for if you have any questions or concerns about your health, talk to your doctor right away and don’t wait for the right time.

Monthly cramps before, between, and after your period?! A treat that never ends! So why is that? We’ll explore how this happens, why it might happen to you, as well as how to deal with cramps all through the cycle. Nevertheless, beforehand what are cramps?

1. Period Cramps

Are you among the non-menstruators? If so, it’s considered normal enough to wonder what they are.

Period cramps are defined as “pain in the abdomen due to periods”. You might feel them 1-3 days before you get your code red – while it is at its worst point after you get them. After 2-3 days your cramps should entirely disappear without a trace.

Cramps occur as a result of certain hormones and prostaglandins prompting the uterus to contract and lose its lining, resulting in monthly bleeding. Those with greater prostaglandin levels may feel more severe cramps.

2. Is Severe Menstrual Cramps Normal?

When is it considered not normal? It is considered not normal when your typical painkiller isn’t effective and it interferes with your daily activities and your ability to work, then it is recommended to consult a healthcare practitioner. It is a must to visit your doctor if your cramping is extremely severe or lasts more than a few days.

Intense menstrual cramps are always an indication that something isn’t right. This may be a sign of a medical condition or a problem. This medical problem could be endometriosis 2or adenomyosis.

People who suffer from endometriosis experience discomfort that is different from normal menstrual cramps. It is difficult for one to advocate for themselves regarding pain, but in the long run, it would be important as it would help you feel heard, and you could get the necessary help that is required.

Bottom line: Another reason could be endometriosis.

3. Reasons for “Why am I cramping so bad?”

3.1. Reason 1: What is Endometriosis? 

Menstrual cramps are classified into two types, primary and secondary dysmenorrhoea. When the pain is induced by periods or in simple terms menstruation discomfort it’s then called primary dysmenorrhea, what about secondary dysmenorrhea? When the pain induced is not by periods but by other things then it’s called secondary dysmenorrhea3, such as endometriosis.

When there is an excess of prostaglandins, hormones are released from the uterine lining as it prepares for shedding. This hormone helps the uterus contract and relax so that the endometrium can detach and flow out of your body (heavy bleeding). When this happens in excess then the uterus contracts strongly and so there is reduced blood flow but when there is a decreased supply of oxygen to the uterus then it causes pain and intense pain.

Usually, in adolescent females, the first period has severe period pain as an indication of reaching the reproductive age. Well, everyone’s body is different and so is the release of prostaglandins. Hence different people experience pain differently.

And after correcting for factors linked associated with chronic inflammation like as BMI4, smoking, and alcohol use, women with substantially greater menstrual discomfort had higher levels of inflammatory markers in their bloodstream. Inflammation has also been linked to a worsening of other premenstrual symptoms, such as mood swings.

This could be the main reason for you to have such painful menstrual cramps and severe period pain before you get your code red.

3.1.1. How Do You Know That You Have Endometriosis?

  1. Painful periods. Camps during your periods are common in most menstruators, but if you have debilitating pain during your periods then you might be among the ones who have endometriosis.
  2. Chronic pelvic pain. There could be chronic and severe pelvic pain in women, even when they don’t have their code red. Prolonged disease and scarring are the ones to be blamed.
  3. Painful intercourse. This is known as dyspareunia 5and is a common symptom of endometriosis, this happens due to endometriosis beneath the uterus. During penetration, women might have intense, localized pain.
  4. Ovarian cysts. Endometriomas, or cysts, are another symptom of endometriosis. They can grow to be huge and painful, and they frequently need to be removed.
  5. Infertility. Infertility is defined as failing to get pregnant within a year despite frequent sexual contact without protection. Endometriosis affects around ten percent of infertile women. “This is the major cause of infertility since it can induce scar tissue as well as damage and inflammation to the fallopian tubes,” Christianson adds. “Research also indicates that endometriosis can impair egg quality and decrease the number of eggs in the body.”

3.2. Reason 2: You’re New to Menstruating ( Includes Recently Coming Off of Hormonal Birth Control)

The hormonal rhythms that govern the menstrual cycle may require time to develop.

Most people do not experience cramps for 6 months to a year following their first period. Periods as a new menstruator might be irregular during the first three years, with symptoms that come and go or vary in strength from cycle to cycle.

New menstruators are also those who have recently stopped using hormonal birth control. The “period” you had while taking the pill wasn’t your true period; what you’re having now is your normal, unstimulated cycle. It may take several months (or even years) to acclimatize to ovulating consistently after stopping the pill, and periods may be irregular until you do.

3.3. Reason 3: Overdoing Caffeine, Salt, or Alcohol Before or During Your Period

Caffeine, salt, and alcohol can all function as vasoconstrictors, narrowing blood vessels and allowing less blood and oxygen to flow through them.

Period cramps are caused by a reduction in oxygen supply. It is vital to keep oxygenated blood flowing smoothly through to the veins and arteries in your uterus to avoid them.

Uterine prostaglandins are typically highest during the first day of your period, although they begin to build earlier. Caffeine, salt, or alcohol use in the days preceding and during your period might further block oxygen from getting to your uterus, leading to more intense cramps.

4. Other Symptoms that Cannot be Unnoticed!

4.1. Menstrual Cramps Last Too Long

It’s normal for the bleeding during menstruation to last anywhere from two to seven days. But you should take notice if it happens all the time. Discomfort that happens for two or three days is considered normal.

Cramps may start the day of or the day just before the bleeding starts, but they should not continue all the way until the end of your period.

They certainly shouldn’t still be there after your period ends.

4.2. Chronic Pelvic Pain

It is always observed that pelvic soreness is common soon before your period and throughout the first few days of your cycle. You could also feel sensitive around ovulation. Even when they are not having their periods, some women experience chronic and severe pelvic discomfort. This might be related to chronic illness and scarring.

However, if you have pelvic discomfort at other periods throughout your cycle, this might indicate a problem.

Another clue that your cramps aren’t typical is if you have painful sex. Some of the causes of painful sex are equally to blame for very unpleasant period cramps.

If your cramping is accompanied by fever, vomiting, dizziness, atypical vaginal bleeding, or vaginal discharge, or if the discomfort is particularly severe, contact your healthcare professional right once.

4.3. Feeling That Your Cramps are Not ” Normal “

If you’re concerned that your period cramps aren’t typical, you should take this quite seriously.

It is often observed that worrying is not a clue that something is wrong, but it may indicate something is wrong. Most people are afraid to share small details or concerns with their doctors.

Furthermore, comments regarding women’s health and pain are frequently ignored by people in the medical field. If your doctor has previously dismissed your discomfort, it’s still good to bring it up and share that again. If they dismissed it as unimportant, you may be hesitant to bring it up again. However, you should bring it up again. Particularly where you are concerned.

Some of the potential reasons for severe cramps, such as endometriosis, are disorders that might take years to fully diagnose.

5. Should I See a Doctor for My Cramps? 

Why am I cramping so bad?
Photo by cottonbro/ Pexels

So, when should you see a doctor? After your periods, the cramping may just be due to your menstruation, but if you experience or feel that you are going through the symptoms mentioned above, or if your cramps are severe and are not bearable then it’s recommended to see your doctor.

You shouldn’t be in agony every month, so don’t put off obtaining their advice and being treated whatever the underlying problem may be.

6. How Can I Reduce Cramps? 

If you know your cramps aren’t caused by an underlying condition, you can explore strategies to lessen their severity. Who wants to cope with uterine spasms before, during, and after their period? (Nobody, that’s who.)

Here are our best recommendations for temporary relief:

6.1. Hot Water Bottle

Many people find that resting a hot water bottle on their lower bellies or taking a warm bath will help relieve the agony of period cramps.

6.2. Get Rest

When your cramps are in full stride, having a crowded schedule doesn’t help, so cancel some plans, get plenty of rest, and eliminate any stress from your life.

6.3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Implement a healthy lifestyle if your cramps are severe on a monthly basis.

6.4. Things to Avoid

Try reducing your intake of fatty and salty meals, always remain hydrated, and yes get plenty of rest to relax.

Maintain a distance and avoid alcohol consumption, and caffeine, and keep your eyes off cigarette smoking, these substances are all known to aggravate cramping when ingested on a daily basis.

6.5. Do Light Workouts

Although it may seem counterintuitive, relatively modest activity can assist ease period pain by boosting blood circulation and decreasing tension.

6.6. Get a Massage

A simple massage of the lower abdomen, with or without essential oils, or yoga poses might help relieve some of the stress that has built up in the area as a result of the cramping.

7. Conclusion

Period pain with painful cramps should never be ignored, especially when your pain medication doesn’t reduce pain. There are many risk factors associated if you don’t get medical help in time. Your health condition and reproductive health could deteriorate, and your menstrual function would be severely affected.

Sometimes you go to the doctor and are assured everything is OK. If your cramps aren’t interfering with your everyday activities, this might be a soothing and acceptable solution. If your cramps are interfering with your ability to work and live, don’t take “You’re OK” as a response. Look for another doctor.

Check out this article to know more about why periods are still taboo topics in India.

Summer is here so check out 7 effective ways to prevent skin cancer.

8. Frequently Asked Questions

8.1. What can be the quickest way to get rid of cramps?

Gently heat your lower belly with a warm water bottle or heating pad. It helps relieves the pain as quickly as possible.

8.2. What should you eat or drink when you have cramps?

Bananas, pineapple, and watermelon are some fruits that help reduce the pain. Dark chocolate is also a good remedy for the same.

For drinks, water is essential for good hydration during the menstrual cycle. Milk, on the other hand, is good for calcium intake. Chamomile tea can be taken as another beverage for comforting your pain.

8.3. What to do for extremely bad cramps?

Try certain remedies to feel better. However, if remedies are not helpful and the pain is too much,  seek professional help as it may have other issues that need to be taken care of.

  1. Varghese, Akshay, et al. “A higher concentration of dialysate magnesium to reduce the frequency of muscle cramps: a narrative review.” Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease 7 (2020): 2054358120964078. ↩︎
  2. Saunders, Philippa TK, and Andrew W. Horne. “Endometriosis: Etiology, pathobiology, and therapeutic prospects.” Cell 184.11 (2021): 2807-2824. ↩︎
  3. Ferries-Rowe, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Corey, and Johanna S. Archer. “Primary dysmenorrhea: diagnosis and therapy.” Obstetrics & Gynecology 136.5 (2020): 1047-1058. ↩︎
  4. Soeroto, Arto Yuwono, et al. “Effect of increased BMI and obesity on the outcome of COVID-19 adult patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews 14.6 (2020): 1897-1904. ↩︎
  5. Orr, Natasha, et al. “Deep dyspareunia: review of pathophysiology and proposed future research priorities.” Sexual Medicine Reviews 8.1 (2020): 3-17. ↩︎

Last Updated on by Suchi


Vishal Gupta

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