Many women experience body pain during their period. If you know how it feels like to have pre-menstrual syndrome, you’re more likely to be familiar with the connection between lower back pain and period.
However, experiencing severe lower back pain during your menstrual cycle may be a symptom of underlying conditions like dysmenorrhea or pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder. It may also be a sign of a more severe disorder known as endometriosis. Read further to learn more.
Dysmenorrhea and Lower Back Pain
Menstrual cramps and pain during menstruation can come from a few various factors. However, in a recent study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is said that dysmenorrhea is the most common menstrual disorder that causes the severe body and muscle pain.
When women have dysmenorrhea, they may experience debilitating menstrual cramps for at least a day during their cycle. There are two kinds of dysmenorrhea which you can identify by the following:
If you’re having mild to severe menstrual cramps during the first days of your menstrual cycle, you may be manifesting signs of primary dysmenorrhea.
During menstruation, several muscles on your uterus will contract so that the tissues along your uterus lining will detach. Chemical messengers such as Prostaglandins are hormone-like elements that help your muscles to tighten more. An increase in prostaglandins levels may cause severe contraction and menstrual cramps that radiate down to your body, affecting your lower back and legs.
Secondary dysmenorrhea often occurs during adult years. Aside from menstrual cramps, physical issues cause the exacerbation of pain along with the different parts of your body. While prostaglandins are still working to initiate the uterine muscles’ contraction, a few underlying conditions affect the lower back and abdominal areas.
In secondary dysmenorrhea, issues that affect reproductive organs, infections, fibroids, and growths may cause the menstrual cramps to spread and be painful along with other areas. If you often experience intense lower back pain during menstruation, it would be best if you could seek a piece of medical advice immediately.
Other Causes of Lower Back Pain During Period
Other gynecological conditions may cause lower back pain and menstrual cramps during your period. Some of these are the following:
Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a common condition that affects almost all people who menstruate. It occurs a week before your period starts and lasts only until your actual menstrual cycle begins. For many, lower back pain is a frequent sign of PMS happening. Those who have PMS also experience menstrual cramps, abdominal discomfort, and lower back pain due to increased inflammatory markers during their period.
Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
PMDD is a severe case of PMS. The symptoms are much worse than it interferes with one’s regular activities. Lower back pain is also more severe because the inflammation is more intense than a regular PMS. Other side effects of PMDD are pelvic pressure, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While having lower back pain during your period is normal, there are also cases when the discomfort becomes more constant and severe. An unusual severity of pain could indicate a more severe issue such as endometriosis. When your endometrial lining slides to another location, it causes a deep pain that traditional methods cannot quickly fix, such as massage therapy or chiropractic adjusting.
Endometriosis happens when there is a displacement of tissues outside of the uterus. These tissues move toward the pelvic area causing severe lower back pain, organ dysfunction, and scarring. It is essential to seek the appropriate medical advice when you experience some of these symptoms.
Your doctor or gynecologist might suggest the following medications, therapies, and surgeries ease your lower back pain during your period.
Hormonal birth control
Hormonal birth control pills are the most popular medication for those who experience pain during their cycle. Depending on your condition, you might receive a bit of medical advice to use combination birth control. These are pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone. Meanwhile, your doctor may also prescribe some alternative options that only have progesterone. Nonetheless, taking hormonal birth control medications will reduce your period’s flow, therefore minimizing the severity of pain.
NSAIDs, short for Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are medications that can reduce inflammation and prevent prostaglandins production during your period. Drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin are some examples of NSAIDs. These drugs are bought over the counter and help soothe pain and discomfort from dysmenorrhea.
Acupuncture and acupressure therapies
This therapy uses thin needles that the acupuncture specialist will insert in specific pressure points of your body. Applying pressure over various areas of your body can promote healing and prevent any occurrence of pain.
Some cases of severe lower back pain may require specific procedures to relieve symptoms. In most situations, your gynecologist may need to remove small portions of displaced uterine tissues. However, a complete hysterectomy should take place if the damages and scarring become too extensive. Hysterectomy involves the removal of ovaries, cervix, and uterus.
At-home Remedies that You Can Try
Applying heat with the help of a heating pad or hot compress to your lower back can help ease the pain. The heat and pressure will help reduce pain and relax your back muscles.
Relaxation and time off
Taking a few days off from doing intense activities will help you skip period pain. Relax your lower back muscles to increase your endorphin levels which helps fight pain. You can also take warm baths and perform simple yoga exercises to relieve stress.
Additional Lifestyle Tips
- Prevent worsening of inflammation by refraining from vices such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Additionally, you can minimize symptoms of your period by limiting your caffeine intake and eating fatty foods.
- Improve your lifestyle by including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Many of these foods contain anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent PMS symptoms, such as lower back pain.
- Finally, don’t forget to drink plenty of water which helps in enhancing your natural body functions.
When to See a Doctor
If the challenges of lower back pain become too severe to the point where it affects your quality of life, it would be best to seek medical advice from professionals. Underlying conditions may cause your menstrual cramps to become almost unbearable. Talk to your doctor or gynecologist for any available medical treatment options and other methods that can help you reduce pain.