September 20, 2018 By Dr Vaishali Chaudhary
Painful Periods, Exposed: How Menstrual Cramps Can Be a Clue to Infertility
Painful periods can be painful for more reasons than one. Aside from raging a devastating storm inside your pelvis once a month, they can also signal that all is not well with your fertility. If you experience painful periods and are trying to conceive, you may want to take a step back to examine whether your menstrual cycle is telling you something. In this guide, we break it down.
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Understanding Painful Periods
Menstrual cramps are part and parcel of periods. It’s when they become too much to bear that you ought to sit up and take notice (or lay back down until they’ve passed). Cramps are triggered by natural bodily chemicals called prostaglandins, which serve to govern cell growth, body temperature, muscle function and inflammation throughout the body. During menstruation, prostaglandins promote the contraction of muscles in the uterus, to flush out the uterine lining. As potent as they are in the female reproductive machinery, excessive levels can send the uterus into overdrive, resulting in stronger uterine contractions during menstruation. Severe contractions, can, in turn, curb oxygen supply to uterine muscles, causing overwhelming cramps.
So, when should you be worried? Well, consider this. If your cramps have worsened over time, and are far more painful now than they ever were, you may have an underlying problem. If you’re in doubt, meet a gynaecologist to rule out any potential conditions.
Possible Underlying Conditions
Chronic menstrual pain caused by fertility-impacting diseases grows more severe with time. Here are some possible conditions that can give rise to severe menstrual pain – and compromised fertility.
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Fibroids are benign tumours that grow within the uterus. As silent guests in your womb, they can cause an inordinate amount of pain, increase the odds of miscarriage and be a barrier to fertility.
In endometriosis, uterine tissue spreads beyond the uterus, affecting other organs in the pelvic area. Not only can the condition cause chronic pain, but it can also hamper the functioning of the uterus, in turn, affecting fertility. Researchers estimate that up to half of all infertile women may be victims of endometriosis, although many remain undiagnosed.
Not to be mistaken for endometriosis, where the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, adenomyosis involves the growth of the endometrium into the uterine muscle. Adenomyosis can cause excessive periods and severe pain. Although there is no evidence that it has any bearing on fertility, it is thought to increase risk.
Painful Periods – image via mayoclinic.org
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a leading cause of severe menstrual pain. It is characterised by the development of scar tissue across the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, and is notorious for causing tubal blockages, in turn, impeding fertilisation.
For all the conditions mentioned here, a custom-crafted fertility treatment plan can be the key to conception. From advanced techniques like in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to optimum lead time routines like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and natural cycle monitoring, the fertility doctors on Cloudnine are armed with tools and technologies to increase your odds. We’re experts at curing pain and infertility. Visit our fertility centre and discover your path to parenthood.
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