Why do some women experience pain during their period?
During your monthly menstrual cycle, the uterine lining (endometrium) naturally thickens to provide a fertilized egg a nutrient-rich place to latch onto. If conception does not happen, your body sheds that lining and the process repeats each monthly cycle.
Estrogen helps your body build the lining. Prostaglandins help shed the lining. Prostaglandins are inflammatory and cause the blood vessels in the uterine lining and the uterus itself to contract. Prostaglandins also increase overall inflammation and sensitivity to pain.
Approximately 50% of all menstruating women will experience pain during their periods. Some women experience debilitating pain. This is called dysmenorrhea. There are 2 types of dysmenorrhea:
The first type is typical. It begins around 1 to 2 days prior to the start of your period and lasts for the first 1 to 3 days of bleeding. There may be some bloating in your abdomen, lower back, or inner thighs. You may also experience minor cramping.
If the pain is more severe, it is most likely caused by underlying inflammation, hormonal imbalances, or being deficient in nutrients that counteract prostaglandin-induced inflammation. These nutrients are vitamin D and essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA found in fish and fish oil. In addition, calcium and magnesium help prevent cramping.
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