(Karen Hawthorne/ Healthy Living) –– No question, menstrual cramps can be painful. Some people feel them more than others, but it’s entirely common because of your body’s physiology, according to the Cleveland Clinic . Pain typically starts a couple days before your start menstruating or when the bleeding begins, and you usually feel it in your lower abdomen, thighs or back (or all three). You can also experience fatigue, nausea and diarrhea.
Why the cramping? Your uterus is like a huge muscle that gets a heavy-duty workout during your period. It contracts to help get rid of the lining that your body doesn’t need. Hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins trigger the uterine muscle to contract, and high levels of these chemicals tend to bring on more severe period cramps. And if you have a blood clot or a lot of menstrual blood, your uterus may cramp to expel that as well.
“The lining of the uterus builds up throughout our menstrual cycle as our hormones cycle throughout the average 28-day cycle,” says Dr. Nikita Patel, a family physician at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto , and lecturer and clinical teacher of medicine at the University of Toronto. (…)