Understanding Dysmenorreah (Menstrual Cramp or Pain); Coping Mechanisms.

MENSTRUAL CRAMPMenstruation is something every girl; every woman would experience monthly. The menstruation period comes with different worries and discomfort such as having to wear a sanitary pad for as long as it lasts within the month. For some women they dread that time of the month when their menstrual flow shows up. Why? This is because it is a cause of serious pain in the lower abdomen and back side. Symptoms can include headaches, vomiting and so on. A number of girls miss school for their period; some women take permission to stay off work for a few days. How can a girl/woman manage menstrual pain or cramp?

Below is an excerpt from an interview that gives a simple explanation to what dysmennorreah is and a few tips on how to manage menstrual pain/cramps.

Health Educators in an interview on Feminine Arena- A Radio Programme on Premier F.M 93.5, Nigeria. Every Saturday @ 2.30pm
Oluwakemi Olawoye: Health Educator for Oyo State, Nigeria.
Eunice Tilayo Niyinlola: Immunization Officer, Oyo State.
Tosan Akinwole : Interviewer

Tosan: Menstruation comes once a month for women and it is not uncommon to hear ladies complain about having cramps or pains during their menstrual flow. This pain is known as dysmenorreah; what does this mean?

Olawoye: Dysmenorreah- Menstrual pain or cramp is a pain that accompany menstrual period. In some ladies it starts days before the commencement of menstrual flow and lasts throughout. Sometimes just when the menstrual flow begins. Dysmenorreah/menstrual cramp can also be defined as the pain that a lady or a woman within the child bearing age goes through during menstrual period.

Tosan: Is it normal; what causes it?

Olawoye: Menstrual pain is not a disease. It depends on the body chemistry of individuals. Speaking of pain we have different pain threshold. This pain arises from the contraction of the womb/uterus to express the blood. In preparation for menstrual flow the womb becomes swollen and the blood supply to it increases. And because of this increase in size it now rests on adjacent organs which can cause pain. And as the uterus contracts to push out blood it can mean pain for some women.

Niyinlola: Some women experience dysmenorreah because it is traceable to their family history. If a mother experiences pain during menstruation, her daughter may likely experience it too.

Tosan: How can it be managed?

Niyinlola: Some women start taking light diet, staying away from sugar. But I would advise that you take your normal meals but one can take custard/corn drink (pap), coca-oath. Other women once the day for their menstrual flow draws near take drugs such as analgesics. I’d advice that you see your doctor to prescribe an appropriate drug and care suitable for you as an individual.

Tosan: Is it true that intake of fruits can help?

Niyinlola: Some fruits help to refine and increase our blood level such as banana, Pineapple, Orange, Watermelon. Fruits can help with reducing menstrual pain. (You can also check out this article on “12 Best Foods for fighting menstrual cramp”)


Tosan: Is there a particular quantity of fruit intake required to make it effective?

Niyinlola: Just don’t over do it such that it causes frequent visits to the toilet within a short period of time. One Apple, Two oranges, a quarter of a melon not the whole ball…will just be ok.

Tosan: Can child birth help reduce menstrual pain?

Olawoye: Once a womb is enlarged during pregnancy to occupy a fetus, It does happen that after child birth dysmenorreah is no longer an issue.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)


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