If you are an expectant mother, is a painful period your big reason to worry? Know the causes behind painful cramps and how they may impact fertility.
Bad cramps during the period are something most women overlook. They have been ignored so much that many women feel that they are normal and have nothing to do with infertility.
Many women start having painful periods in their teens. Over time, period pains become worse and may reflect a problem in pelvic organs and even womb. It is something that may affect your ability to conceive.
Causes of Painful Period
There is a natural chemical “Prostaglandins” found in tissues across the body and also in the uterus, which can cause cramps. But these chemicals are very vital to control inflammation, body temperature, cellular growth, muscle dilation, and constriction.
Hence, they are also vital in the uterus by making muscles contract during menstruation. It helps remove the uterine lining in this period. They also help induce labor contractions and delivery. If prostaglandin levels are the way too high, they can cause contractions in the uterus which are very intense.
Oxygen is cut off for a while to the parts of your muscle when contractions are strong and lack of oxygen causes painful cramps. Teens may have worse period cramps as they have higher levels of prostaglandins naturally. The levels usually go down with age and cramps become less painful. After delivery, women are likely to have easier periods.
Period cramps are medically termed as dysmenorrhea. Period pains that are due to normal prostaglandin activity are known as primary dysmenorrhea and it shouldn’t affect fertility.
But period pains worsened or caused due to abnormalities in the reproductive system or other diseases are known as secondary dysmenorrhea. It is related to having a problem in conception.
Painful Periods and Infertility
There are different diseases affecting fertility due to painful menstrual cramps. Some of those diseases develop over several years. Hence, you might start experiencing painful cramps when you didn’t have the same issue before. Some of the possible causes of unusual period cramps which can affect your fertility are –
Fibroids – The unusual mass of tissue develops in the smooth muscle of the uterus is known as fibroids. They are non-cancerous most of the time. Many women don’t even know that they have fibroids. But they often are painful and cause lower fertility and even become the cause of miscarriage.
Endometriosis – It is the main cause of painful cramps and infertility. If you have tissue which covers the uterus “endometrium” or endometriosis, it grows off the uterus. It is the main cause of infertility among 50% of women. If even goes without being diagnosed for years.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – It is another major cause behind bad menstrual cramps which can worsen fertility. It can be caused due to infection in the reproductive system. It forms scar tissue which seems to look like a web between fallopian tissues, ovaries, and uterus. It also blocks fallopian tubes.
Adenomyosis – Endometrium grows into and within the uterus muscles and causes adenomyosis. Endometrium grows outside the uterus and it is different from endometriosis. It can lead to heavy and painful periods. Some studies show that it can affect fertility.
How about Pelvic Pain?
Even when you are not expecting to have a period, pelvic pain can also take place. Some women have pain in the ovary. Around 50% of women claimed that they have had ovulation pain about once in their lives and 20% of women have the same every month.
If ovulation affects your daily life, causes pain while having intercourse, or becomes severe, it is not normal and can be the sign of endometriosis.
In some women, it can be so painful that it doesn’t let women have intercourse when they are expecting. If you are having something like this, you should consult your gynecologist in Bangalore.
No matter what day it is, some women have painful encounters. If you are having the same problem, it can affect your chances of conception.
If you are having pain on pelvic muscles or painful periods, be sure to ask the doctor or gynecologist. But don’t suffer in pain. If you are not expecting a child, doctors often recommend hormonal birth control. For those women who are conceiving, they should look for other options.
Over-the-counter painkillers are the most common options for temporary pain relief, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve). But you should take it when symptoms are just started for best results, rather than waiting for more pain.
There are some concerns about OTC painkillers as they may affect fertility. Especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are known to affect ovulation.
There have been adverse effects found in some early research for taking ibuprofen in the early menstrual stages. There is also some evidence that shows that pain relief may improve fertility a bit.
Surgery is another recommended option if period pain doesn’t improve and is caused by fibroids, endometriosis or other internal problems. But you should ask your gynecologist first before going for this type of surgery. Ensure that it won’t affect your fertility after surgery.