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Menstrual cramps again? We'll tell you why!

Menstrual cramps, otherwise known as dysmenorrhea or period pain, plague many women on a monthly basis.  The irritation produced by such pain can vary from dull to extreme, and usually occurs after ovulation when a female’s egg travels from the ovaries through the Fallopian tube.

menstrual cramps

The pain begins approximately 1 to 2 days prior to the period and lasts 2 to 3 days. The routine aches tend to be concentrated in the lower back and abdominal areas. While the primary cause of menstrual pain is a result of the natural shedding of the uterus lining and release of specific period-related hormones, there are other reasons that contribute or exacerbate the not-so-fun discomfort.

Continue reading on to discover the possible culprits behind your menstrual cramps.


Menstruation pain can be divided into two groups of dysmenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea refers to the pain only associated with the menstrual process, which may include other symptoms such as constipation, bloating, nausea and vomiting or headaches. Approximately once every month, when no sperm fertilises the egg, the female body releases prostaglandins to trigger the expulsion of the uterus lining. These hormone-like substances accumulate during menstruation throughout the lining and contribute to cramps and muscle contractions. In fact, these pains can be similar to those experienced during labour. Higher amounts of prostaglandins have been associated with more severe menstrual cramps, as there are more contractions and less oxygen arriving to the uterus lining. An increased level of the hormone can be in response to injury or infection in the female reproductive system.  Similarly, it is important to know that emotional stress can increase the intensity of menstrual cramps.

However, as briefly mentioned before, secondary dysmenorrhea may also be the cause of the nasty menstrual pains. Secondary dysmenorrhea acts as an umbrella term to cover possible illnesses or ailments related to a woman’s health. Endometriosis. Uterine fibroids. Pelvic inflammatory disease. Cervical stenosis. These are just some examples of diseases that have been linked to an increased intensity of menstrual pain.

  • Endometriosis:  The lining that most commonly is found alongside the inside of the uterus is, in fact, outside of the female organ on the fallopian tubes or ovaries.
  • Uterine fibroids:  The wall of the uterus presents with noncancerous growths.
  • Adenomyosis:  The tissue that runs alongside the uterus begins to grow into the muscular walls of the uterus.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: Resulting from unprotected sex, the female reproductive system can be at risk of a bacterial infection that leads to menstrual pain.
  • Cervical stenosis: Due to the small size of the cervix opening and limited menstrual flow, some women may experience building pressure within the uterus.

Additionally, it is important to remember that these diseases may also result in other female-related issues, such as infertility, scarring, ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilised egg is implanted outside the uterus) or much more.

In any case, AURA always recommends to visit your obstetrician on a regular basis to resolve any possible concerns about your period and menstrual cramps. Should you experience any of the following symptoms, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment.

  • Early beginning of cramps in the menstrual cycle
  • Severe pain that lasts longer than 2-3 days
  • Pain symptoms are severe enough to disrupt your day-to-day routines
  • Significant growth in menstrual cramp intensity from cycle to cycle
  • If you experience fever, dizziness or rash that looks sunburnt in character, seek medical help right away.

Menstrual health is often undertreated or overlooked due to a lack of information and research. AURA encourage you to be bold as you vocalise your doubts and worries. Your well-being is our priority.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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