What to do about Perimenopause Cramps

Ah, the end of another month... Perimenopause can throw you off your feet if you have been relating cramps to your period your entire life.

Perimenopause cramps can sometimes be associated with periods. They're still painful. What can a perimenopausal woman do to get out of this mess?

Alexa Fiffick is a woman's health specialist.

Perimenopause cramps get more severe as you approach menopause. Perimenopause refers to the party guest who arrives on stage with gifts that you did not register for, including cramps.

Perimenopause, also known as "menopausal transition", is when you reach menopause. If you go 12 months with no periods, it's considered menopause. However, before that, your periods may become more frequent or irregular. That's perimenopause .

Dr. Fiffick explained that irregular menstrual periods can cause a change in the length and frequency of your cycles. The stage may last several years before you reach menopause.

During regular menstrual cycles, your estrogen levels decline after you've ovulated. Your estrogen levels can remain high during perimenopause due to hormonal changes in your reproductive system. Prostaglandins are chemicals that cause the contraction of your uterus, also called cramps.

Dr. Fiffick states that hormonal fluctuations in menopause can make it more difficult to have regular, well-known premenstrual or menstrual symptoms . Sometimes, new symptoms may be experienced by patients who don't already have them.

This means even if your period has been uneventful, it is possible to feel cramps again in the perimenopause. They may even not be associated with a period.

Is it possible to have Cramps without a Period?

Primary dysmenorrhea (cramming without a period) is also known as secondary dysmenorrhea. This can be an indication of perimenopause. This sensation is sometimes called "ovary pain ".

Dr. Fiffick states that irregular ovulation can be caused by fluctuations in hormones or a shortening of your cycle . You might feel cramping if your hormones don't follow the same monthly patterns as they did in your premenopausal days.

Period-related cramps can also become more frequent during the perimenopause if they have been a problem. Primary dysmenorrhea refers to cramps that are related to your periods. Again, hormonal changes could make them worse.

Many women have an underlying condition called adenomyosis that can cause both primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, along with heavy bleeding. Folioids, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts may also lead to pain and bleeding. These conditions can worsen during perimenopause due to hormonal fluctuations.

Relief For Perimenopause Cramps

You may be feeling desperate for relief if your cramps are getting worse with perimenopause or just starting to feel them. These are some ways to find sweet relief.

Dr. Medication Fiffick advises the use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medication (or NSAIDs) to treat pain and inflammation . Ibuprofen, also known as Advil(r), Motrin(r), and Naproxen (Aleve (r)) is the best.

She adds that they can help with cramping pain, especially if taken at the first sign of symptoms.

Birth Control

Some hormonal birth control options can be used to help manage some symptoms and hormonal problems that women experience in perimenopause.

Dr. Fiffick says that fertility control is possible with some combined hormonal formulas, which include both progestin and estrogen. Progestin IUDs are also available for treating cramping. And if you have endometriosis or adenomyosis, a levonorgestrel-containing IUD may help control your symptoms, especially if you're hoping to avoid a hysterectomy.

Aerobic Exercise

While it may not be your first thought when you feel cramps, going to the gym can make your pain go away.

Walking or swimming can be light enough to get blood flowing and endorphins flowing. Sometimes called "feel-good chemicals", endorphins are the body's natural pain relieving agents.

Further Natural Remedies

Dr. Fiffick states that there are other methods of controlling pain, such as heating pads and acupuncture.

Avoid over-the-counter vitamins and supplements that promise to relieve cramping pain. These supplements are not regulated under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They can cause more problems than they supposedly solve.

What to say to your doctor regarding perimenopause cramps

You don't need to suffer from cramping pain, no matter how long it lasts. A trained healthcare provider will be able to help you determine what is causing your cramps, and the appropriate treatment.

Dr. Fiffick says that new or worsening cramping needs to be talked about with a doctor, particularly because overproduction of estrogen could lead to various new and worsening health conditions.

Period-free cramps can also be caused by other factors than perimenopause. Reproductive-related infections and disorders can cause primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. If you are using an IUD with progestin or have ever had an endometrial ablation, or have had a hysterectomy, then cramps may be less common. It is important that you seek treatment for cramps.

Dr. Fiffick states that it is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor in order to rule out any other conditions.