Painful menstrual cramps are usually accompanied by passage of blood clots. But this could also be a sign of other gynecological disorders.
Menstrual cramping occurs in many women during their menstrual period. These are pains in the abdomen and around the pelvic areas. In medical terms, it is called Dysmenorrhea. Dysmenorrhea is different from the cramping and discomfort that a woman experiences just before her menstruation begins. The latter is commonly called Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS. Around 50% of women are affected by menstrual cramping at varying degrees of pain. Statistics show that more than 90% of adolescent girls suffer menstrual cramping to some degree. Some women experience mild pain while other women suffer painful menstrual cramps.
Monthly menstruation occurs as the inner lining of the uterus (called endometrium) begins to break down and is shed as menstruation. The breaking down of the old lining is accompanied by uterine contractions and release of molecular compounds called prostaglandins. Uterine contractions constrict oxygen supply to the tissue of the endometrium that goes out of the body causing menstrual cramps. The release of prostaglandins and other chemicals also play a role in the development of this condition.
Why are menstrual cramps occasionally more painful?
The cramping sensation sometimes gets worse when blood clots or pieces of endometrial tissue from the lining of the uterus pass through the cervix. This often happens when the cervical canal of a woman is narrow. The increasing levels of prostaglandins and other chemicals have something to do with severe cramping.
Unfortunately, the passage of blood clots may not only cause painful menstrual cramps, it could also be a symptom of endometriosis or other gynecological problem. Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of cells (endometrial cells) in a location outside of the uterus. These are cells that are shed during the monthly
menstruation. Endometrial cells, as they are commonly called, may also attach to the tissue outside the uterus, they are known as endometriosis implants.
Endometriosis affects women in their reproductive age. Most cases occur in women that are in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Endometriosis implants may attach themselves on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, the surface lining of the pelvic cavity and on the outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines. In some cases, they may also be in the cervix, bladder and vagina.
What to do with severe menstrual cramps
Though this condition is benign or not cancerous, it can still cause problems including severe menstrual cramps, chronic pelvic pain and possible infertility issues. Women should consult a health professional when they experience such problems.