If this has happened to you, here’s everything you need to know about severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding.
What Characterizes Severe Menstrual Pain?
Severe menstrual pain is caused by uterine contractions.
This can happen before or during the onset of your period.
Most cramps feel like an incessant pain in your lower abdomen. Sometimes, it can feel like semi-heavy pressure or a dull ache, with pain that radiates to your lower back and inner thighs. This pain normally lasts for two to three days.
Severe cramps, however, tend to begin earlier and last longer. Over-the-counter medication doesn’t lessen the pain and unlike regular menstruation, severe menstrual pain is normally accompanied by heavy bleeding or clotting.
The medical term for menstrual pain is dysmenorrhea. There are two known types: primary and secondary.
- Primary dysmenorrhea is ordinary menstrual cramps. This can sometimes be accompanied by fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting. This becomes less painful as you get older and may even stop once you have a baby.
- Secondary dysmenorrhea is more serious, as this is caused by a disorder in the reproductive organ. This is normally associated more with severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding.
The medical term for menstruation with heavy or prolonged bleeding is menorrhagia. This normally lasts more than 7 days.
Normally, women lose an average of 30 to 40 milliliters of blood (or around 6 to 8 teaspoons of blood) during their menstrual cycle. Women who experience menorrhagia may lose more than 80 milliliters, which is more than the normal amount. This may cause anemia, which can lead to dizziness or fatigue.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have menorrhagia:
- Using double sanitary protection due to extremely heavy flow
- Changing pads on an almost hourly basis because it fills up easily
- Waking up in the middle of the night to change pads
- Bleeding for more than a week
- Blood clots that are bigger than a coin
- Not being able to do your normal routine due to heavy flow
- Tiredness, fatigue, and shortness of breath
What causes severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding?
Uterine contractions, which can result in menstrual cramps, can be caused by prostaglandins which are hormone-like substances. Though not yet proven, it has been shown that the higher the level of prostaglandins, the more severe the menstrual cramp can be.