Dysmenorrhea, or the medical term for painful period cramps, happens right before or during your period. It can be so painful, that it’s hard for you to carry on your day as usual — and that’s often why a lot of people dread that time of the month!
Period cramps are caused by prostaglandins. These hormones play a role in physiological processes in your body, including pain levels and inflammation.
The inner lining of the uterus produces prostaglandins to make the uterine muscles contract. This causes the built-up uterine lining to shed and come out of the body as period blood. But if the uterus produces too much prostaglandin, you experience dysmenorrhea.
For some, getting regular exercise, soaking in a warm bath, or using a warm compress helps relieve period cramps. Others also take ibuprofen to help manage the pain and discomfort.
However, these things may not be enough for those who experience excruciating pain — and that’s when contraceptives come in the picture!
Hormonal contraceptive pills for managing period cramps
Hormonal contraceptives — particularly combination pills — are easy to use and so good at preventing pregnancy. But besides protection, they also offer non-contraceptive benefits such as reducing period cramps.
Combination pills contain both estrogen and progestin, and disrupt prostaglandin production. This, then, helps alleviate painful period cramps.
As you consistently and continuously take pills for dysmenorrhea, it’s possible that you completely don’t menstruate anymore; thus, skipping the period cramps altogether.
Take note that skipping periods because of contraceptives isn’t a bad thing. It will not have an adverse effect on your overall health, and the “period blood” will not accumulate inside your uterus.
If you’ve been experiencing dysmenorrhea that can’t be relieved by ibuprofen and other home remedies, ask your doctor to find out whether taking oral contraceptive pills would be a good option for you.