Cramps. Headaches. Backaches. Bloating. While getting your period is an exciting part of growing up, the period pains that comes along with it can be, well, a real pain!
You may be surprised to discover that there are different types of period pain. This can make getting your period a bit of a guessing game. Was that ache because of your period or because you slept funny? Is that cramp in your side from playing basketball with your girlfriends or is it because Aunt Flo is around the corner? Knowing what to expect when it comes to the different types of period pain can be a real big help. That’s why we’re outlining it all for you here. The Different Types of Period Pain
The medical term for period pain is dysmenorrhea. There are two types of dysmenorrhea – primary and secondary.
A vast majority of girls get just primary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is the set of physical symptoms you may experience starting one to two days before the start of your period and that continue into the first few days of your period.
Some of the different types of period pain that many women experience as a result of primary dysmenorrhea include:
- Dull, throbbing cramps in the lower abdomen
- Back pain
- Loose stools
Secondary dysmenorrhea, on the other hand, is much rarer and is the result of a medical condition that affects your period, such as endometriosis. Secondary dysmenorrhea usually starts much earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than primary dysmenorrhea. If you suspect your period pains are out of the ordinary and may be the sign of an underlying issue, consult your doctor. What Causes Period Pains
The different types of period pain you may experience are a result of hormonal changes taking place in your body during your period. For instance, in the few days leading up to your period, the hormone progesterone drops, signalling to your body to start breaking down your uterine lining. Low levels of progesterone can cause irritability, hunger, acne, breast tenderness, and fatigue. Oestrogen levels leading up to and during your period are also very low. This can cause bloating, mood swings, and headaches.
Period cramps that you feel in your back and abdomen are a result of natural chemicals in your body called prostaglandins. They are released by the lining of your uterus during your period, making your uterus contract in order to help push out the blood and tissue of your uterine lining (aka your menstrual fluid or period blood). Those contractions are what you feel as abdominal cramps and lower back pain. What You Can Do About Them
Here’s the good news. There are a bunch of things you can do to ease your different period pains. The key is helping your muscles relax and stretch out.
- Stay warm
Keeping warm helps your muscles stretch out, which helps counteract those uterine contractions that are making you crampy in the first place. So wrap up under a blanket on the couch, wear your favourite fuzzy sweater, or hug a hot water bottle.
Stretching keeps your muscles loose and increases your circulation – both of which can provide period pain relief. Try some light stretches or even some yoga.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking water helps ease bloating. Be sure to keep a water bottle on hand during your period to be sure you get your daily water intake. Staying hydrated can also mean easing up on the lattes and espressos. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it removes water from your body, which can dehydrate you.
Rest and relaxation help your muscles relax. It can also open up blood vessels that are otherwise constricted, which can ease a variety of different period pains, including headaches.
For more period pain relief tips, click hereThe Bright Side
If you start feeling any of these different period pains before your period comes, think of them as like a little reminder to check your cupboard for period supplies – like TAMPAX. We like TAMPAX Pearl Compak because they are small enough to stash in your pocket for on-the-go protection that keeps you at your best and most protected no matter where your day takes you.