What are the Causes of Cramping During Menopause?
Menopause is one of the most significant events in a woman’s life. It will change her body permanently, and during the course of perimenopause a number of different issues may occur. Menopause can bring with it a huge variety of different symptoms including things like mood swings, insomnia, bloating, and hot flashes. Another issue is one that many women will already be familiar with – cramping.
Cramping is a main symptoms of menstrual periods, and it’s also a common occurrence in women going through menopause as well. First of all, it’s worth understanding that menopause is the end of production of eggs in the ovaries. But it also triggers a reduction in the production of estrogen and other hormones. The specific way that menopause affects someone will vary tremendously from person to person. Its length, the specific symptoms experienced, and the severity of those symptoms will all vary greatly.
Cramping during menopause often occurs without the bleeding that a period brings with it. It’s a bit strange for some women to suddenly experience one without the other, but as menopause progresses the number of periods that occur are less and less frequent. But the processes the body is used to may still occur. During a menstrual period, the strong cramps that occur are actually triggered by contractions within the uterus which cause the uterine walls to shed its lining. And the same thing happens during menopause, despite the fact that periods may be lessening.
The brain is often still wired to produce hormones during menopause and the body will often contract as a result. And the sudden reduction of estrogen production also helps add to the onset of the cramps.
The good news is that like most menopausal symptoms, cramping will usually dissipate as time goes on. Towards the end of perimenopause, cramps and other symptoms are often completely gone. In some cases they’ll continue, but this is rare and in nearly all instances they’ll gradually go away.
The bad news is that you still have to get through the one to four year period where menopause is actively occurring. There are a few different options that can help manage cramping.
- Simple over the counter pain medication or anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate some of the pain.
- Many women find relief from herbal remedies like black cohosh or raspberry leaf.
- Proper diet that helps deliver nutrients like magnesium can help as well.
- Nutritional supplements may also provide high levels of compounds that can alleviate the pain of cramps.
- The use of a birth control pill often helps normalize menstrual issues and alleviate menopausal cramps.
- Hormone therapy is usually a last resort, but one that may be needed in some cases.
Simply put, there’s no way to fully avoid the different symptoms of menopause – including cramping. It’s a part of life that occurs in all women, but there are ways to help alleviate some of the pain and other side effects that come with it.