As if having menstrual cramps couldn’t get any worse, the pounding in your head tells you that, well, it just did! A lot of women struggle every month with cramps and headache. If you’re one of them, chances are you’ve found yourself switching from side to side, gripping your stomach and rubbing your temples. You just wish the pain would go away magically!
You desperately try different yoga positions just to soothe the unpleasant sensation. It affects your productivity too! Many women have to miss work or school because of this. Sometimes, the pain intensifies, and you can be forced to get medical attention. But what causes this awful condition? Read on.
What causes these Cramps and Headache?
Menstrual cramps are actually contractions of your uterus. They occur because the uterus expels the bloody lining which isn’t needed because a pregnancy hasn’t occurred.
These contractions are caused by substances called prostaglandins, which are also involved in pain and inflammation reactions.
Women with more prostaglandins may have stronger uterine contractions. When this happens, the uterus can press against surrounding blood vessels and cause lack of oxygen to the uterine muscles. This, in turn, causes the pain we know as menstrual cramps.
Headaches during your period are caused by the sudden change in hormone levels. When it’s almost time for your period, the levels of estrogen and progesterone fall. This triggers terrible headache, again mediated by prostaglandins.
What meds can help Relieve the pain?
Because both menstrual cramps and headache are due to prostaglandins, the best type of medication you can take is an NSAID. Also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs work to reduce and block prostaglandins. They help decrease the release of these substances, reducing overall inflammation and cramping. This means that they can block the pain caused by menstrual cramps and headache.
Ibuprofen (read more about risks of using Ibuprofen and and naproxen are two NSAID medications available without a prescription. You can get them as tablets and capsules. Make sure though, that you take them with food, as they can cause an upset stomach.
If you have a mild case of cramps and headache and opt to take medication, acetaminophen may be a good choice. Though it isn’t an NSAID, it can help relieve mild pain and doesn’t cause gastric upset.
So there! Aside from popping a pill, there are things you can do as well to reduce the pain from cramping. Check them out here – Menstrual cramps – Don’t let the pain get to you!
For headache pain, you can also use headache section for the best medicine for your profile and preferences.
If your symptoms don’t improve after taking medication, or if cramps and headache become too severe, it may be time to visit your doctor. He will help determine if there are underlying conditions that result in your symptoms. Professional help is always the next thing to do if cramps and headache won’t go away.