Cramps are a completely normal part of the menstrual cycle.

Whether you’ve just experienced your first period or you’ve had them for years, you are probably all too familiar with menstrual cramps. Cramping is a common and completely normal part of getting your period, but have you ever thought about what causes the cramping to begin with? If so, you’ve come to the right place, because our Sarasota obstetrics and gynecology clinic is here to give you the answers you are looking for.

What causes cramps? 

During menstruation, the lining is shed from the uterus, but in order to expel the uterine lining, the uterus has to contract. Sometimes the uterus contracts so much that it actually cuts off its own oxygen supply. The bleeding process itself can also lead to cramping. Chemicals, called prostaglandins, are released when the lining gets separated from the uterine walls, and these chemicals narrow the blood vessels leading to the uterus, which can impede the flow of oxygen. Cramping occurs when the uterus is temporarily cut off from oxygen.

The clinical name for cramps or menstrual pain is dysmenorrhea, and over half of all menstruating women experience it. While mild cramping is perfectly normal, overly painful or debilitating cramping is not normal. If you experience extreme cramps, it could be a sign that you have an abnormal period. Check out our previous blog to learn more signs that your period is abnormal.

Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about menstrual cramps, and stay tuned for our next blog to learn tips for coping with your cramps.