Menstrual cycle is a complex cycle of changes that occurs in the uterus and ovary for the purpose of sexual reproduction. It is essential for the production of eggs and for the preparation of the uterus for pregnancy. The menstrual cycle occurs only in fertile female humans and other female primates. In the menstrual cycle, changes occur in the female reproductive system as well as other systems which lead to breast tenderness, cramps or mood changes for example.
Painful cramping in the abdomen, back, or upper thighs is common during the first few days of enstruation, though the symptoms vary. Severe uterine pain during menstruation is known as dysmenorrhea, and it is most common among adolescents and younger women (affecting about 67.2% of adolescent females). When menstruation begins, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) such as breast tenderness and irritability generally decrease.
Menstrual cramps, also known as dysmenorrhea or period pains, are painful sensations felt in the lower abdomen thatcan occur both before and during a woman’s menstrual period. The pain ranges from dull and annoying to severe and extreme. Menstrual cramps tend to begin after an egg is released from the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube (ovulation).
During each menstrual period, if there is no sperm to fertilise the egg, the uterus contracts to expel its lining. This process is driven by the release of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are associated with pain and inflammation in higher levels. These uterine contractions cause much of the pain felt during menstrual cramps because the contractions inhibit blood flow to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium).
Dysmenorrhea (dysmenorrhoea or painful periods) is a medical condition of pain during menstruation that interferes with daily activities. Dysmenorrhea can feature different kinds of pain, including sharp, throbbing, dull, nauseating, burning, or shooting pain. Dysmenorrhea may precede menstruation by several days or may accompany it, and it usually subsides as menstruation tapers off.
The three most prominent symptoms are irritability, tension, and dysphoria (unhappiness). Common emotional and non-specific symptoms include stress, anxiety, insomnia, headache, fatigue, mood swings, increased emotional sensitivity, and changes in libido. It is not clearly understood, but the magnesium in the body such as lack of vitamin B6, such as has been pointed out.
In order to lighten the symptoms of menstrual cramps, prioritise rest and stay away from alcohol. Use heat, such as hot water bottles, heating pads, or hot baths, to relax tense muscles and relieve cramping.
Over-the-counter medication is available to treat most cases of menstrual cramps. These medications are often called anti-prostaglandins and they reduce cramping in the uterus, make period flow lighter, and relieve discomfort. Many of these medications also contain pain killers such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which are types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Menopause is a naturally occurring biological event that normally takes place in women between the ages of 45 and 55. Sometimes, menopause may be accompanied by circulation problems that occur because of hormonal changes and aging in general. During menopause, a woman’s body gradually produces less progesterone and estrogen and menstruation occurs less frequently, eventually stopping completely. Menopause is complete if a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. Blood pressure is likely to rise around menopause as estrogen decreases and arteries lose elasticity. This can worsen memory loss because high blood pressure can inhibit the proper nourishment of brain cells.
Cholesterol is used to produce hormones like estrogen; however, during menopause hormone production slows down. This natural slowdown allows cholesterol to rise in the blood, which explains why women at menopause and beyond may have high cholesterol for the first time. Because of increased stress hormone levels during menopause, the heart works much harder; this can cause the heart to race and palpitations.
Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a sudden, transient sensation of warmth or heat that spreads over the body, creating a flushing, or redness, that is particularly noticeable on the face and upper body. The experience of hot flashes can range between delicate flushes and a sensation of engulfing flames. Hot flashes result from the body’s reaction to a decreased supply of the hormone estrogen, which occurs naturally as women approach menopause.
Irritability is a pervading “bad mood” characterised by feelings of stress, reduced patience and olerance, and lashing out in anger or frustration over matters that may seem trivial to others. Irritability during menopause is most often caused by hormonal changes, whereby low levels of circulating estrogen have an adverse effect on the neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for regulating mood.
Many menopausal women also feel irritable or “on edge” a lot of the time due to the added stresses of other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and sleep disorders. If irritability persists for more than a week and is adversely affecting job performance and relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, seeking the advice of a medical practitioner is recommended.
Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. It is thought that more than half of all postmenopausal women experience varying degrees of joint pain. Joint pain is an unexplained soreness in muscles and joints, which is unrelated to trauma or exercise, but may be related to the effects of fluctuating hormone levels on the immune system. Estrogen helps prevent inflammation in the joints, so low levels of estrogen during menopause can lead to increased instances of inflammation, and therefore increased joint pain.
A warm shower before bath has been known to increase blood circulation.
Exercise promotes natural movement of blood through the legs and around the body. Gentle exercise like walking, cycling and swimming is an excellent way of improving blood circulation.
Having nutritionally balanced meals are also an important factor. Include vegetables and especially foods rich in vitamin E that improves blood circulation and balances hormones.
Emotional symptoms are a common feature of the menopausal transition. In fact, up to 50 percent of all premenopausal women experience disturbances in mood, including irritability. While several factors can contribute to irritability in our daily lives, hormonal fluctuations characteristic of menopause are often the prime cause of irritability and other negative emotional states during this major life transition.
During the menopausal transition, the primary underlying cause of irritability is hormonal imbalance. During menopause fluctuating estrogen levels have a direct, though complex, effect on the brain’s regulation of mood and emotion. Thus, changing levels of estrogen in the body can increase the risk of experiencing irritability during menopause.
In addition to natural hormonal changes in menopause, certain lifestyle and medical factors can cause or contribute to irritability.