Menstrual pain is a normal part of life for many girls and women
What causes menstrual pain?
Menstrual pain is a normal part of life for many girls and women. and here’s a short guide to why it happens
The menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is the natural process that happens every month as the body prepares itself for pregnancy. The typical menstrual cycle is 28-30 days long. At the start of each cycle, the uterus begins to develop a soft lining of blood-rich tissue in preparation for an egg that will be released from the ovaries (this is called ovulation). If fertilised, the egg would develop into a baby. If fertilisation does not occur, then the blood-rich lining of the womb is shed, as it’s no longer needed. This is called a period, or menstruation. For further information about the menstrual cycle go to the article What’s Happening to My Body?
Why menstrual pain happens
During the time that the lining of the womb is being shed, it’s normal to experience some cramping pain in the lower stomach, the lower back and at the top of your legs
The pain occurs as a result of the womb contracting (or squeezing) to remove the lining that it no longer needs. It’s thought that pain-causing chemicals, called prostaglandins, are involved in helping the womb contract.
For some women and girls menstrual pain is mild, but in others the pain can be more severe. No one really knows why, but it could be that certain women have too many prostaglandins or be more sensitive them. This can make the womb squeeze especially hard, briefly reducing blood supply to the womb and causing even more pain.
As a rule, for most women and girls, menstrual pain is nothing to worry about – all you have to do is learn how to manage it. For more information on ways to manage menstrual pain, go to the article Tips for Managing Menstrual Pain.