If you’ve ever had menstrual cramps, you’ll know just how horrible they can be. Owing to the fact that many women experience them, you might assume that menstrual cramps aren’t that big of a deal.
After all, who wouldn’t want to get through their period pain as quickly as possible? The reality is, however, that menstrual cramps can be quite debilitating. In fact, they can last for up to three days and significantly disrupt your life.
It’s also worth noting that, as with any pain, menstrual cramps can become more intense over time. So, how do menstrual cramps affect women? We look at the effects below.
What is the cause of menstrual cramps?
The menstrual cycle is the series of hormonal fluctuations that occur as a result of a woman’s reproductive cycle. The average length of the menstrual cycle is between 28 and 31 days, with a range of between 24 and 35 days. While the cause of menstrual cramps is unknown, they are generally considered to be a Symptom of the Menstrual Cycle.
Theories regarding the cause of menstrual cramps range from the digestive system to the reproductive system to the nervous system. What’s interesting, however, is that the vast majority of studies conducted have only looked at the impact of certain dietary components on relieving menstrual cramps.
Impact on mood and mental health
Due to the fact that a large percentage of women experience some degree of menstrual cramps, it’s easy to assume that they don’t have a significant impact on mood and mental health. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
For one, menstrual cramps can lead to significant amounts of stress and anxiety for both you and your loved ones. If you’re going through them for the first time, it’s likely that you’ll worry about how you’ll manage the pain and its associated symptoms. You may become preoccupied with when the cramps will end and, if they don’t, you may find yourself feeling increasingly anxious.
Additionally, menstrual cramps often result in significant amounts of muscle pain. As with any muscle pain, this can result in significant levels of depression and sleep disturbance.
Menstrual cramps and social life
While most people want to get through their period as quickly as possible, it’s likely that you also want to stay in social contact with your peers. This may be difficult, however, due to the fact that menstrual cramps can significantly impact on your social life.
First of all, many people associate the pain of menstruation with the pain of cramps. If you’re going through them for the first time, you may be ashamed to discuss them with your friends. As time passes and you become more familiar with the symptoms, you may even start to resent having to miss out on social events out of necessity.
Additionally, because menstrual cramps are often associated with PMS, many people are tempted to avoid being in close quarters with you during this time. This can make spending time with your loved ones difficult, if not impossible.
The digestive system is another major system that can be impacted by menstrual cramps. As with many other types of pain, cramps in the digestive system can lead to significant levels of stomach and intestinal discomfort.
A common complaint among those who experience menstrual cramps is pain in the lower abdomen. This can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. In extreme cases, it can even result in an emergency trip to the emergency room.
The musculoskeletal system is yet another major system that can be impacted by menstrual cramps. Like the digestive system, the muscles and joints of the musculoskeletal system can become tense and painful as a result of cramps.
The two most common complaints among those who experience menstrual cramps are muscle spasms and painful, achy muscles. While these symptoms are often attributed to the cramps, they may also be a result of anxiety and stress.
Sexual function and ability
Lastly, it’s worth noting that not only can menstrual cramps negatively impact your mood and mental health, but they can also have an impact on your sexual function and ability.
For many women, menstrual cramps result in significantly reduced sensation during sex. This, in turn, can lead to a decrease in arousal, decreased lubrication, and an inability to orgasm.
In some cases, the pain from cramps can be so great that it prevents you from having an orgasm at all. While this may not be a concern for some, for others it can lead to feelings of frustration and worthlessness.
For many women, the time of the month that is traditionally associated with pain is also associated with social isolation and a decrease in quality of life.
While it’s important to remember that these symptoms are largely due to the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps, it’s also important to remember that there are things that you can do to relieve the pain and get your life back on track.
When it comes to cramps, the best thing to do is educate yourself. Find out what’s causing them, what can be done to relieve the pain, and how long they typically last. With this information, you can better prepare both physically and emotionally for menstruation.
To get your life back on track, make sure to maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and try out some of the natural remedies listed below.