Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for pain with menstruation. Menstrual pain which interferes with daily activities is called as dysmenorrhea.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea: "primary" and "secondary".
1. Primary: Primary dysmenorrhea is common menstrual cramps that are recurrent (come back) and is not due to other diseases. Pain usually begins 1 or 2 days before, or when menstrual bleeding starts, and is felt in the lower abdomen, back, or thighs. Pain can range from mild to severe, can typically last 12 to 72 hours, and can be accompanied by nausea-and-vomiting, fatigue, and even diarrhea.
2. Secondary: Secondary dysmenorrhea is pain that is caused by a disorder in the woman's reproductive organs, such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or infection. Pain from secondary dysmenorrhea usually begins earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than common menstrual cramps.
What causes the pain?
In Primary type, Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions (tightening) in the uterus (which is a muscle) by a chemical called prostaglandin. The uterus, where a baby grows, contracts throughout a woman's menstrual cycle. During menstruation, the uterus contracts more strongly. If the uterus contracts too strongly, it can press against nearby blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain results when part of the muscle briefly loses its supply of oxygen.
In secondary type the pain is associated with underlying causes like
• Endometriosis - A condition in which the tissue lining the uterus (the endometrium) is found outside of the uterus.
• Pelvic inflammatory disease - An infection caused by bacteria that starts in the uterus and can spread to other reproductive organs.
• Cervical stenosis - Narrowing of the opening to the uterus.
• Fibroids (benign tumors) - Growths on the inner wall of the uterus.
• Pain in lower abdomen and pelvis (sometimes radiating to thighs and lower back)
• nausea and vomiting,
• diarrhea or constipation,
• dizziness, disorientation,
• hypersensitivity to sound, light, smell and touch,
• fainting and fatigue
Ayurveda attributes any type of pain to Vata. Apan vayu (a sub type of Vata) moves in the downward direction. It carries out the function of excreation of urine & stools, childbirth and menstruation.Any obstruction in its path causes vitiation causing pain in its territory i.e lower abdomen.
Allopathic treatment consists of NSAID’s (Pain killers), or hormonal birth control pills. These give side effects such as acidity, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight gain, disturbed menstrual cycle etc.
Ayurvedic treatment includes:
• Panchakarma procedures like Basti. As we all know Basti is the best treatment for Vata disorders. Sneha basti (oil enema) and Kashaya basti (decoction enema) are given to give proper channel to vitiated Apan vayu.
• Internal medicines to relieve the pain
• Dietary and lifestyle changes
• Yoga and exercises.
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