For most women, having their period every month for years and years can be a routine thing. It can be inconvenient and interrupt their lives for several days. For most ladies, cramps can be a part of monthly periods. Again, for most ladies, this means a certain amount of discomfort and be accompanied by irritability, bloating, tender breasts, fatigue, and menstrual flow. Sometimes it can cause acne, joint pain, and headaches too.
Then there are about 10% of women that are not in the most category. When monthly periods are debilitating a female for those several days a month or longer, it becomes a medical condition that must be dealt with. Severe cramps and other harsh symptoms should not be ignored when they interrupt daily life regularly. It can make it impossible to go to work, take care of home and children, and make it impossible to even get out of bed. Sometimes there can be underlying medical conditions that cause periods to be worse than they should be.
What Causes Period Cramps?
Dysmenorrhea is the technical term for menstrual cramps. They usually occur a few days before and a couple of days after the period starts. The epicenter of period cramps begin in the lower abdomen, but the pain can often radiate into the lower back and body. When women have periods, the severity of cramping and other symptoms can vary from month to month.
When menstrual cramps begin, it is due to a process that expels the lining of the uterus. A hormone-like substance called prostaglandins is linked to both promoting and resolving pain and inflammation. This helps the body achieve balance or homeostasis. When there are high levels of prostaglandins, it can cause pain and cramping to be more severe.
There are other conditions that may cause cramps to be abnormally harsh. They are endometriosis, adenomyosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical stenosis, and uterine fibroids. These conditions cause inflammation and pain in the lower pelvic area.
Often, uterine fibroids develop in the childbearing years. They vary in size, and there can be more than one fibroid. Fibroids can cause periods that are longer and heavier than what is normal for most women. Pelvic exams may be able to determine if a woman has fibroids.
As bad as fibroid tumors can be, endometriosis can be worse. The uterus lining is called the endometrium. Endometriosis is a condition when tissue similar to that formed in the uterine lining, grows outside of the uterine cavity. This condition happens when endometrial tissue grows on the ovaries, bowel, and tissue lining the pelvis. While it is uncommon for the endometrial tissue to spread beyond the pelvic region, it is possible. When this tissue grows outside of the uterus, it is referred to as an endometrial implant.
Hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle can affect misplaced endometrial tissue. This can cause pain and inflammation. The tissue can grow, become thickened, and eventually break down. The tissue that has broken down can become trapped in the pelvis over time. When the tissue is trapped in the pelvis, it can cause irritation, severe pain before and during periods, internal scarring, fertility issues, and worst of all, adhesions that can bind pelvic organs together. This condition can affect as many as 10% of women having periods.
How To Treat Menstrual Cramps
There are plenty of home treatments that can help relieve cramping if they are not too severe. Soaking in a hot tub of water can often be enough to ease cramping. Using a heating pad or how water bottle on the lower abdomen is also soothing. If you exercise regularly, it can help cramps be less severe when they do come. Massaging the lower back and abdomen can be helpful.
Lifestyle changes can be helpful to avoid cramps or lessen the severity of them. Managing stress, getting plenty of rest, avoiding salt, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco are good choices. These are all healthy things to do, whether you suffer from cramps or not.
When it comes to over the counter medicine that treats cramps, using ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen as needed is usually recommended by doctors. When you have an underlying condition like endometriosis or other issues, a doctor might prescribe you a medication than you can’t get over the counter. If you are not planning to get pregnant, a doctor might prescribe birth control pills to help regulate your period and reduce cramping.
Can CBD Help With Menstrual Cramps?
When it comes to treating severe menstrual cramps, it seems CBD might not be a cure-all for those. However, some studies have shown that CBD can be useful when it comes to pain and inflammation. The cannabinoids in marijuana and hemp work with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the most prominent cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp. Hemp contains more CBD, and marijuana contains more THC. THC can make you high, but CBD does not.
Since pain and inflammation play a role in menstrual cramps, it just makes sense that CBD might be helpful. Sometimes CBD alone might not be enough to stop cramping well enough on its own. When cannabinoids are combined with each other, it creates what is known as the entourage effect. It means that cannabinoids can work better together than alone.
The tricky part of using CBD that contains more than 0.3% THC is that it is not legal on the federal level, and may not be obtainable for some, depending on the marijuana laws in the state where you live. In some states, marijuana has been legalized and obtaining CBD with more than 0.3% THC is possible. If you live in a state where marijuana is still illegal, your only other option to buy CBD with a higher THC content would be to seek approval from your state’s medical marijuana program if they have one.
Other attributes people claim that CBD can help with are anxiety, sleeplessness, appetite, moods, relaxation. Studies continue on how well CBD can be used for menstrual cycle issues. All of these symptoms can sometimes accompany the menstrual cycle. If you have not tried CBD yet for menstrual cramps, it might well be worth it to check it out. You can purchase good quality CBD products in local stores where you live or order them online.