Besides irregular bleeding, period pains are among the commonest unpleasant symptoms that can occur in the menstrual cycle. They can occur before the period (premenstrual) or during the period. The commonest symptoms are cramps in the lower abdomen, headaches, back pain, joint pain, nausea, loss of appetite, moods swings and diarrhoea. Although it is mostly young women who are affected, many women suffer from stomach cramps until they reach the menopause.
There are many causes of the acute abdominal pains experienced during menstruation. In the first place, monthly cramps occur because the musculature of the uterus contracts in order to shed the mucous membrane that was not required for the egg to become attached. Secondly, organic diseases of the uterus (e.g. fibroids), the ovaries or the Fallopian tubes can result in pain. Psychological pressures (e.g. stress) or a negative attitude to menstruation can also intensify the pain.
Medication can help, but period pains can also be eased by natural remedies. Here are some useful tips: