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   Menstrual Cramps
 
Definition:
painful menstruation usually in the pelvis or lower abdomen.
 
Medical terms related to menstrual cramps :
Cramps, Menstrual, Dysmenorrhea, Spasmodic Dysmenorrhea
 
Common causes of menstrual cramps: 
o Stress and anxiety
o Pelvic inflammatory disease
o Multiple sexual partners
o History of sexual or physical abuse
o Fibroids
o Ovarian cysts
o Intrauterine Device (IUD),usually the first three months after insertion
o Uterine Fibroids (Benign Tumors of the Uterus)
o
Premenstrual Syndrome:
A variety of symptoms manifested by some women prior to menstruation that may include emotional instability, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, depression, headache, edema, and abdominal pain; called also PMS.
o
Endometriosis:
The presence and growth of functioning endometrial tissue in places other than the uterus that often results in severe pain and infertility.

Other Causes of menstrual cramps:
o Adenomyosis:
Endometriosis especially when the endometrial tissue invades the myometrium, muscle of the uterus.
o Adhesions In Abdomen

 

Call 911 or go to the hospital if menstrual cramps is accompanied by: 
o Passing blood clots
o Sever pain, your period is over one week late, and you have been sexually active( Risk of ectopic pregnancy)

 
Call your doctor if menstrual cramps is accompanied by: 
o Fever
o Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
o IUD that has been placed more than 3 months
o Cramps stay more than 3 months in spite of self-care measures
 
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include: 
o Blood tests including (CBC)
o Ultrasound
o Dilation of the cervix
o Laparoscopy
o Cultures (to rule out sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea)

 
Prevention and self-care: 
Follow these steps to avoid prescription medications:
o Take warm showers or baths.
o Apply a heating pad to your lower abdomen.
o Drink warm beverages.
o Circularly massage around your lower abdomen with your fingertips .
o Walk or exercise regularly.
o Follow a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, fruits.
o Have a diet low in salt, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
o Have frequent but light meals.
o Try over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen.
o Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga.
o Try vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium supplements
o Keep your legs elevated while lying down. Or lie on your side with knees bent.

If self-care measures do not work, your health provider may prescribe you these medications:
o Cox-2 inhibitors such as celecoxib (Celebrex) and valdecoxib (Bextra)
o Stronger anti-inflammatories like diclofenac (Cataflam)
o Antidepressants
o Birth control pills (OCP)
o Stronger pain relievers (even narcotics like codeine, for brief periods)
o Antibiotics

 
Medications for menstrual cramps may include: 
o Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
o Celecoxib (Celebrex)
o Naproxen, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Anaprox, Aleve
o Oral Contraceptives (Birth Control Pills)
o Rofecoxib (Vioxx)
o Estrogens (Conjugated)
o Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Medipren, Nuprin
o Ketoprofen, Orudis, Oruvail
   
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Diagnosis of menstrual cramps, Reasons of menstrual cramps, Prevention of menstrual cramps, Definition of menstrual cramps, Treatments for menstrual cramps


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