Nobody likes cramps. Sometimes it is just part of life, but other times it can be a signal for more serious medical issues. Some conditions associated with infertility may cause extreme cramping. Understanding what these cramps can mean is important to your health.
The technical term for cramps before or during your menstrual period is Dysmenorrhea. Primary Dysmenorrhea is your common menstrual cramp. It normally appears in the lower abdomen or back, and can range from mild discomfort to severe pain.
Secondary Dysmenorrhea is uncommon and caused by a disorder in the woman’s reproductive system. Typically, secondary dysmenorrhea begins earlier and lasts longer than ordinary menstrual cramps.
A variety of disorders can cause secondary dysmenorrhea. If you have a concern regarding your menstrual cramps; perhaps they are much more painful and sustained than normal; you should contact your doctor immediately for an appointment.
Some causes of secondary dysmenorrhea are:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: PID is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It is a dangerous condition that, if not treated, can cause irreparable damage to the uterus, ovaries, and other portions of the reproductive system. It is caused when disease-causing organism travel from the cervix to the upper genital tract. Many times PID is brought on by STIs.
- Endometriosis: Your endometrium is the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. When similar tissue is found outside of the uterus, it can cause complications. Like your endometrium, this tissue will attempt to shed during the menstrual cycle. However, because it is outside of the uterus, the breakdown has no place to go and can inflame the area, causing scar tissue.
- Stenosis: Stenosis is the narrowing of the cervix. This may be a cause of secondary dysmenorrhea.
- Tumors: Growth on the inner wall of the uterus, sometimes called fibroids, can cause painful cramps.