Menstrual Discomfort: Causes, Types, Relief, and When to Seek Help

Friday October 20, 2023 at 11:55 am

Menstrual discomfort is one of the most common experiences that the majority of people with menstrual cycles are likely to face. It can range from mild annoyances to severe symptoms that can disrupt your daily life. In this guide, you can explore what menstrual discomfort is, the different types of discomfort, its prevalence, and the causes behind the same.

Basics About Menstrual Discomfort

Menstrual discomfort is all about physical and emotional symptoms that you might experience before or after your menstrual cycle. These symptoms can vary depending on your individual circumstances, including your pain, mood changes, or physical discomfort.

Different Types Of Menstrual Discomfort

Menstrual cramps are also prominently known as dysmenorrhea, and it is one of the most common types of discomfort that people go through. They are caused when your uterus contracts to help shed its lining. These distractions can lead to sharp or throbbing pain in your lower abdomen.

  • You might experience abdominal bloating during your menstrual cycle. The sensation of fullness and swelling can really be uncomfortable.
  • There are times when you feel tired or fatigued, unusually during menstrual discomfort. Hormonal changes and blood loss during your cycles can contribute to this tiredness.
  • Hormonal fluctuations can also lead to headaches in some people before or during the menstrual cycle.
  • Lower back pain can accompany your menstrual discomfort. This pain might radiate from your lower abdomen to the back.
  • Hormonal shifts can lead to mood swings like irritability, sadness, or anxiety. It is generally referred to as premenstrual syndrome.
  • Cravings for specific foods are generally high in carbohydrates or sugar. It’s common during the menstrual cycle.
  • Skin changes like acne flare-ups might happen due to hormonal fluctuations.

How Common Is Menstrual Discomfort?

Menstrual discomfort is completely prevalent among people with regular menstrual cycles. It is estimated that around 80% of people go through some discomfort during the menstrual cycle. Some would have mild symptoms, while others might experience severe discomfort, which impacts their daily activities.

Causes Of Menstrual Discomfort

It is very important for you to understand the causes of menstrual discomfort. It can help you find effective ways to manage it.

  • Hormonal fluctuations, especially changes in your estrogen or progesterone levels, play a very important role in your menstrual discomfort. These hormonal shifts can impact your energy levels and, of course, your physical symptoms.
  • Uterine contractions happen to shed the uterine lining because of a lot of cramps. The intensity of cramps varies from one person to another.
  • Hormonal changes can also lead to water retention, causing a feeling of bloating. You can feel a lot of swelling in your abdominal area.
  • Blood loss because of menstruation can lead to a drop in iron levels, which leads to fatigue.

How To Get Rid Of Menstrual Discomfort?

The good news here is that there are several strategies to get rid of menstrual discomfort.

  • Nonprescription pain relievers, including naproxen or acetaminophen, can help you get rid of pain and discomfort.
  • You can apply heat to the lower abdomen or lower back with a hot water bottle. You can also use a heating pad as it can provide you relief from cramps and backaches.
  • You can engage in mild to moderate physical activity as it can help you improve your blood flow and minimize cramping.
  • Practices like meditation and deep breathing can help you manage your stress levels and ease your mood swings.
  • It is very important for you to consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It can help you regulate your hormones and minimize discomfort.
  • You must drink a lot of water as it can reduce your bloating and promote your overall well-being
  • It would be best if you focused on good sleep cycles as it can improve your mood and energy levels during your menstrual cycle.
  • Substances like caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration and also worsen menstrual discomfort. It is always good to limit your intake.

Tips For Managing Menstrual Discomfort

Keep a menstrual diary.

A menstrual diary is one of the most important tools for understanding your menstrual cycle. By recording your experiences, you can identify the pattern and gain insights into what is triggering you to worsen your symptoms.

You can start by noting the start and end dates of your cycle every month. At the same time, you need to record the intensity and duration of the symptoms, like cramps and any other discomforts.

You need to know the length of your menstrual cycle, as this information can help you understand when your next cycle is.

Track Your Symptoms And Triggers

  • Make a list of the specific symptoms that you experience during your menstrual cycle. Some of the most common symptoms include bloating, mood swings, and fatigue. When you pay attention to the factors that might worsen your symptoms, you can take the right steps. The triggers basically include stress and some foods. Understanding the triggers can help you make informed lifestyle adjustments. 
  • You can consider using a symptom tracking app or journal to record your symptoms. These data can help you when you are discussing your menstrual discomfort with a healthcare expert. 

Talk To Your Doctor

If your menstrual discomfort is severe and impacts your daily life, you need to consult a healthcare expert. They can provide you with guidance and also recommend prescription medicines or other treatments.

Menstrual discomfort is one of the most common experiences for several women. But it doesn’t have to disrupt your life. By understanding the different types of discomfort causes and effective relief strategies, you can better manage the discomfort. You must know what works best for you might not work for another person, so you should not hesitate to try different methods until you come across what provides you the best relief.

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