What Causes Menstrual Cramps?

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Ah, menstrual cramps. They are no-one’s favourite.

But understanding what causes menstrual cramps can take some of the edge off and make them not feel so bad. Knowing what causes period cramps can also help you come up with creative ways of easing them.

Menstrual cramp symptoms or premenstrual pain include headaches, cramps in your lower back and lower abdomen, irritability, bloating, and even hunger.

What causes menstrual cramps?

What causes menstrual cramps?

Largely, hormones are the cause of period cramps. The changing hormones leading up to and during your period can have side effects on your body and mood, making them the reasons for menstrual cramps.

Here’s a breakdown of the hormones that cause menstrual cramps. In the few days leading up to your period, the hormone involved in preparing the uterus for pregnancy, progesterone, drops, signalling to your body to start breaking down your uterine lining.

This drop in progesterone is a big cause of period cramps and can even cause moodiness and hunger, too. Low levels of progesterone can cause irritability, hunger, acne, breast tenderness, and fatigue.

As for the hormone responsible for promoting the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body as well as prompting the release of an egg from the ovaries, estrogen, its levels leading up to and during your period are also very low. This can cause bloating, mood swings, and headaches.

During your period, chemicals known as prostaglandins that cause your uterus to contract. They have hormone-like effects and play several roles in the body, including helping the uterus shed your uterine lining – aka your period. These contractions are one of the reasons for menstrual cramps.

How to relieve menstrual cramps

How to relieve menstrual cramps

Now that you know what causes menstrual cramps, you can do something about them. For instance, treating menstrual cramp symptoms caused by muscle contractions should focus on relaxing your muscles. This includes things like staying warm, taking a bath, and doing gentle stretches.

One simple and easy tip to relieve menstrual cramps is also to drink water.

The one upside of getting period cramps is that they let you know your period is around the corner. This means it’s time to stock up on Always Pads.