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Article - What causes period cramps?

If you ask women everywhere what the worst part of their period is, we’d be willing to bet that 90% of them would say CRAMPS. The throbbing pain seems to be never-ending, and sometimes starts before your period even arrives… what’s up with that? At times, the cramping is so bad that it might radiate to your lower back, cause nausea and even some dizziness, which is seriously a double whammy of misfortune.

So why do bad cramps happen to good people? The answer lies in the uterine lining. During that time of the month, the uterus expels its lining out of your vagina in the form of blood or dark-colored mucus. Prostaglandins and inflammation trigger the muscle to contract to help in getting rid of the blood. Since cramps are helping the blood come out of your vagina, they are generally the most painful during the first few days of your period when the flow is heaviest. Prostaglandins also contribute to nausea and diarrhea, so you can also blame those hormone-like substances for period poops and the general crappy feeling you get during your period, too.

If you have super severe cramps, the cause is usually a higher level of prostaglandins, but it could be something more serious. Pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids (non-cancerous tumors) or even endometriosis also cause severe period pains so definitely check with your gynecologist if your cramps prevent you from participating in your usual daily activities. Symptoms of endometriosis also include menstrual irregularities, pain during sex and fatigue during your period.

Some sources also say that having an orgasm will help relieve cramps, so period sex might not be a bad idea if you’re into it. The good news is, for many people, cramps get better as they grow older.